Category Archives: Free Speech

IRS alleged to discriminate against Obama critics in awarding non-profit tax status in “Z Street” case

Did IRS illegally specially scrutinize “Israel-related organizations”?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/05/28/did-irs-illegally-specially-scrutinize-israel-related-organizations/

……” The complaint alleges that during [a telephone] conversation, [IRS] Agent [Diane] Gentry told Z Street’s counsel that she had two major concerns about approving the application …: first,that the organization engaged in “advocacy” activities that are not permitted under Section 501(c)(3); and second, that the IRS had special concerns about applications from organizations whose activities relate to Israel, and whose positions with respect to Israel contradict the current policies of the U.S. Government. According to the complaint, Agent Gentry told Z Street’s counsel that the IRS carefully scrutinizes all Section 501(c)(3) applications that are connected with Israel, and that “these cases are being sent to a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.” …

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Filed under Activism, Current events, Free Speech, Israel, Law, Politics

British EU candidate arrested for “racial harassment” for quoting Winston Churchill’s anti-Islamic views

Election candidate arrested over Churchill speech – Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10792895/Election-candidate-arrested-over-Churchill-speech.html

Paul Weston a member of Great Britain’s Liberty Party was arrested both for delivering a speech in public and on charges of “suspicion of racial harassment”.
The former charge apparently derives from a requirement to have some kind of permit before speaking with a blow horn.
The latter charge was apparently because Weston dared to quote Winston Churchill’s book The River War in which Churchill made derogatory remarks about Islam :

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property — either as a child, a wife, or a concubine — must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.

Where is the incitement racial or otherwise? Certainly Churchill overstates since there are many Muslims to whom these charges are inapplicable ( indeed there are those among Muslims who fight against these evils.) But is this passage so wildly inaccurate when leveled at the governments of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Iran? Do we not witness rampant misogyny ,backwardness, & fanaticism in the Islamic World on a daily basis? Have we not seen mobs of BRITISH Muslims (literally) screaming for Danish blood with chants of “die die Denmark” in response to the cartoons ridiculing Mohammed? I myself have posted numerous examples of these evils on my blog.
In any event the word incitement has an actual legal meaning in the U.S.: speech whose purpose can be objectively shown to be to persuade people to commit violent criminal acts in the here & NOW –denouncing a religion is not incitement . Calling on your audience to commit murder IS. (whether or not the call was motivated by racism or religion).
If you use your right of free speech to condemn Islam ( or Judaism or Christianity) you are not guilty of “incitement” because some fanatic decides to murder you .
It is the fanatic who must be stopped, not appeased.
But this grasp of free speech has been thrown out the window in Europe ,where instead of protecting the free speech rights of Weston ,they do the work of his critics by seeking to silence him by force.

Author’s note: Nothing I say should be taken of as even a semi- endorsement of Weston ‘s beliefs beyond what I have stated,(which concern the Churchill quote) I do not know of ,nor do I endorse his other statements & for all I know they may be loathsome to me . But nothing in the Churchill quote justifies imprisonment & if Weston made some other comment that is a genuine incitement to mob violence it is not mentioned in the article.

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Filed under Activism, Current events, Free Speech, GWOT, Islamism, Religion, Uncategorized

Iraq Vet subjected to TSA search due to having “too much metal”

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/08/wounded-purple-heart-marine-forced-to-undergo-extra-inspection-at-california/?test=latestnews

…..”Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz, who was gravely wounded in 2004 from a roadside bomb in Iraq, has limited use of his right arm & is incapable of lifting it above his head, according to the website. During a recent trip to the state capitol building in Sacramento, Calif. — where Kemnitz was being honored as his legislative district’s veteran of the year — the retired Marine was reportedly asked to remove his dress shirt. He was also asked by TSA workers at Sacramento International Airport to lift his arms above his head during a full-body scan. Kemnitz could not comply with either request, telling Military Times, “My right arm doesn’t work. It’s a lot of hassle for me to do that.” Kemnitz’s travel partner, Patricia Martin, was outraged following the incidents and wrote to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to express her anger. “What does a uniform and heroism represent if our own citizens — in this case employees of the TSA and security personnel — have no regard for them?” Martin reportedly wrote.”….

…”TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein said in a statement Monday that “Our intent is to treat all injured service members and veterans with the dignity they deserve. As always, all passengers with disabilities and medical conditions are eligible for screening procedures sensitive to their particular disability, medical condition or other unique medical circumstance. “Transportation Security Officers have to resolve any
anomaly detected at the checkpoint,” Feinstein said. “As is standard procedure for all passengers, if travelers alarm when passing through a metal detector or an advanced imaging technology (AIT) unit, additional screening is required in order to resolve that anomaly.”…..

RRD: A few months ago Chuck Schumer attempted to justify banning “3d printed guns” (which actually cannot be made entirely without metal),since they would supposedly be “undetectable” to metal detectors. This is not a new tactic, they pulled a similar stunt when Glocks first came onto the market. As I noted several months ago even if it were possible to make a wholly non-metallic gun ,there would still be another problem: bullets. Ammunition contains metal. I noted then that even bullet fragments can be detected by metal detectors, much less whole rounds of ammunition. Now we again have validation of this.

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Filed under Current events, GWOT, Human rights

How Microsoft handed the #NSA access to encrypted messages #tcot #tlot #ocra

http://m.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/11/microsoft-nsa-collaboration-user-data

……” Blanket orders from the secret surveillance court allow these communications to be collected without an individual warrant if the NSA operative has a 51% belief that the target is not a US citizen and is not on US soil at the time. Targeting US citizens does require an individual warrant, but the NSA is able to collect Americans’ communications without a warrant if the target is a foreign national located
overseas. Since Prism’s existence became public, Microsoft & the other companies listed on the NSA documents as providers have denied all knowledge of the program & insisted that the intelligence agencies do not have back doors into their systems. Microsoft’s latest marketing campaign, launched in April emphasizes its commitment to privacy with the slogan: “Your privacy is our priority.” Similarly, Skype’s privacy policy states: “Skype is committed to respecting your privacy & the confidentiality of your personal data, traffic data & communications content.” But internal NSA newsletters, marked top secret, suggest the co-operation between the intelligence community & the companies is deep and ongoing. The latest documents come from the NSA’s Special Source Operations (SSO) division, described by Snowden as the “crown jewel” of the agency. It is responsible for all programs aimed at US communications systems through corporate partnerships such as Prism. The files show that the NSA became concerned about the interception of encrypted chats on Microsoft’s Outlook.com portal from the moment the company began testing the service in July last year. Within five months, the documents explain, Microsoft and the FBI had come up with a solution that allowed the NSA to circumvent encryption on Outlook.com chats A newsletter entry dated 26 December 2012 states: “MS [Microsoft], working with the FBI, developed a
surveillance capability to deal” with the issue. “These solutions were successfully tested and went live 12 Dec 2012.” Two months later, in February this year, Microsoft officially launched the Outlook.com portal. Another newsletter entry stated that NSA already had pre-encryption access to Outlook email. “For Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, & Outlook.com emails will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption.” Microsoft’s co-operation was not limited to Outlook.com. An entry dated 8 April 2013 describes how the company worked “for many months” with the FBI – which acts as the liaison between the intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley on Prism – to allow Prism access without separate authorization to its cloud storage service SkyDrive. The document describes how this access “means that analysts will no longer have to make a special request to SSO for this – a process step that many analysts may not have known about”. The NSA explained that “this new capability will result in a much more complete and timely collection response”. It continued: “This success is the result of the FBI working for many months with Microsoft to get this tasking & collection solution established.” A separate entry identified another area for collaboration. “The FBI Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) team is working with Microsoft to understand an additional feature in Outlook.com which allows users to create email aliases, which may affect our tasking processes.” The NSA has devoted substantial efforts in the last two years to work with Microsoft to ensure increased access to Skype, which has an estimated 663 million global users. One document boasts that Prism monitoring of Skype video production has roughly tripled since a new capability was added on 14 July 2012. “The audio portions of these sessions have been processed correctly all along, but without the accompanying video. Now, analysts will have the complete ‘picture’,” it says. Eight months before being bought by Microsoft, Skype joined the Prism program in February 2011. According to the NSA documents, work had begun on smoothly integrating Skype into Prism in November 2010, but it was not until 4 February 2011 that the company was served with a directive to comply signed by the attorney general. The NSA was able to start tasking Skype communications the following day, and collection began on 6 February. “Feedback indicated that a collected Skype call was very clear and the metadata looked complete,” the document stated, praising the co-operation between NSA teams and the FBI. “Collaborative teamwork was the key to the successful addition of another provider to the Prism system.” ACLU technology expert Chris Soghoian said the revelations would surprise many Skype users. “In the past, Skype made affirmative promises to users about their inability to perform wiretaps,” he said.”It’s hard to square Microsoft’s secret collaboration with the NSA with its high-profile efforts to compete on privacy with Google.” The information the NSA collects from Prism is routinely shared with both the FBI and CIA. A 3 August 2012 newsletter describes how the NSA has recently expanded sharing with the other two agencies. The NSA, the entry reveals, has even automated the sharing of aspects of Prism, using software that “enables our partners to see which selectors [search terms] the National Security Agency has tasked to Prism”. The document continues: “The FBI and CIA then can request a copy of Prism collection of any selector…” As a result, the author notes: “these two activities underscore the point that Prism is a team sport!”…..

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Filed under Activism, Current events, Human rights, Law, Politics, Privacy, US National Security

Today in 1401 30 Swiss Jews of burned at the stake because of fantasies of #antisemites

…….”JEWS OF SCHAFFHAUSEN (SWITZERLAND) BURNED AT THE STAKE (1401) After the postilion (coach driver) of the governor killed the four-year-old son of a councilor, charges were lodged against a Jew named Michael Vinelmann, a former resident of Basel, alleging that he had promised the murderer three gulden for the blood of the child. The murderer was broken on the wheel, and the Jew burned alive without trial.Shortly before, a similar accusation had been brought against the Jews of Schaffhausen and been successfully refuted. When news of Michael Vinelmann’s fate was brought to Schaffhausen, several of the Jews of the city fled and were soon captured. They were taken back to Schaffhausen, where they were thrown into a dungeon and terribly tortured. Unable to endure the pain, they “confessed” to the crime of which they had been accused, whereupon all the Jews living in Schaffhausen were condemned to death. Thirty Jews were burned alive. Four weeks later, eighteen men and women died at the stake in Winterthur in a similar context.“……

http://www.chabad.org/calendar/view/day.asp?tdate=6/22/2013

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Filed under anti-semitism, Human rights, Religion, Uncategorized

Why am I to be compelled to pay for Obama’s anti #2ndamendment brainwashing? #tcot #tlot

Holder in 1995: ‘Really brainwash people’ to be anti-gun | The Daily Caller http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/18/holder-in-1995-really-brainwash-people-to-be-anti-gun/ Raising Adam Lanza | FRONTLINE | PBS http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/raising-adam-lanza/ After Newtown | PBS http://www.pbs.org/wnet/after-newtown/ RRD: Given that Madison & Jefferson opposed proposals in Virginia to fund churches with tax dollars–even if people had the option of choosing which church their money went to–why do we permit our government to compel us to fund ideas which we regard as being evil? I continue to be perplexed that more people do not see the obvious dangers in having the government subsidize ”news” & ”educational programming” which is often thinly veiled propaganda. It makes no difference whether I agree with a particular program or not,and the situation would not be ”solved” by having the government promote conservative ideas instead of liberal ideas or having it promote them both equally. Nor is this ”just another violation of rights” this directly impinges on free speech rights. Yet I continue to encounter this attitude of ”its no big deal” or ”PBS has good programming” . Who cares? We have a set of government subsidized television channels. The danger that that poses cannot be exaggerated.

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Filed under Activism, Current events, Free Speech, Politics, Second Amendment

2 Iranian Kurdish dissidents face imminent death after forced confession #iranelections #iranexecutions #humanrights

Iran: Execution of Kurdish Dissidents Imminent – Near East Observatory http://neobservatory.org/human-rights/iran-execution-of-kurdish-dissidents-imminent/ EXECUTION FEARS GROW FOR IRANIAN KURDS Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.org/fr/library/asset/MDE13/010/2012/fr/ef544c1f-9aee-469e-8314-900a9e5623a4/mde130102012en.html …”

Zaniar (or Zanyar) Moradi and Loghman (or Loqman) Moradi were sentenced to public hanging on 22 December 2010 by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court after a trial reportedly lasting 20 minutes. They were convicted of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) and “corruption on earth” for allegedly murdering the son of a senior cleric in Marivan,Kordestan province, north-eastern Iran, on 4 July 2009. They were also convicted of participating in armed activities with Komala, a Kurdish opposition group. Their sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court and have reportedly been sent to the enforcement office of the Judiciary. Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi were arrested respectively on 1 August 2009 and 17 October 2009 in Marivan. They were held without charge by the Ministry of Intelligence for the first nine months of their detention during which they were moved several times between detention facilities. Around the beginning of December 2010 they were transferred to Raja’i Shahr Prison northwest of Tehran. The two men then wrote a letter stating that during their interrogation by the Ministry of Intelligence they were forced to “confess” to the allegations of murder after being tortured and threatened with rape. Amnesty International has so far been unable to confirm reports that Zaniar Moradi was 17 at the time of his arrest.

“…

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Filed under Activism, Current events, Human rights, Iran, Iran Executions, Islamism

Fikra Forum interviews Anti-islamist Egyptians;they call for changes to U.S. policy

Egyptians Question U.S. Policy, Call for Change | Fikra Forum http://fikraforum.org/?p=2914 ….”At this critical time in Egypt’s transition, Fikra Forum felt it important to gauge the reaction of the non -Islamist Egyptian opposition to current U.S. policy. We are happy to present the opinions of well-established democracy and human rights activists on the ground, in addition to expert analysts and observers. We offer gratitude to our contributors, Hafez Abu Saeda, Basil El-Dabh, Dina Guirguis, Hany Nasr, Bassem Samir, Josh Shahryar, and Dalia Ziada, for their valuable insight. “….. More at the link.

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Filed under Activism, Arab Spring, Current events, Egypt, Free Speech, Human rights, Islamism, Israel, Muslim Brotherhood, Religion, Womens Rights

Note: Crovitz: “Would be Internet

Crovitz: “Would be Internet regulators (the UN’s ITU) need deleting” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324001104578167242735088684.html …”

In a referendum among the world’s two billion Internet users, how many would vote to transfer control of the Internet to the United Nations? Perhaps 100,000, an estimate based on the number of top officials ruling the most authoritarian countries, whose power is threatened by the open Web. Under the one country, one vote rule of the U.N., these 100,000 people trump the rest of the two billion. It only takes a majority of the 193 countries in the U.N. to hijack the Internet. The International Telecommunications Union is hosting a conference in Dubai, where many countries are eager to extend the agency’s role beyond telecommunications to regulate the Internet. The two -week conference is half over, with meddlesome proposals from China, Russia and other authoritarian regimes dominating the discussion. A U.S. -Canadian proposal would have limited topics to telecommunications, excluding the Internet. Top U.S. negotiator Terry Kramer said in a call with the media last week that the State Department believes that “fundamentally, the conference should not be dealing with the Internet” and that the U.S. team was working “day and night” to find allies. But State didn’t respond to my follow-up question asking for an estimate of how many countries have pledged to keep hands off the Internet. This is likely a low percentage of the 193. Instead, authoritarian governments want to legitimize government censorship, tax Internet traffic that crosses national boundaries and mandate that ITU bureaucrats replace the nongovernmental engineering groups now smoothly running the Internet.

”….

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Jailed #Iranian dissident Pastor Behnam Irani faces death from ill health & prison conditions #iranelections #jcot

BosNewsLife – Christian News Agency » Blog Archive » NEWS ALERT: Jailed Iran Pastor Facing Death In Prison, Christians Warn http://www.bosnewslife.com/25052-news-alert-jailed-iran-pastor-facing-death-in-prison-christians-warn ….”

Pastor Behnam Irani, 41, reportedly lost about five kilograms as he fights a blood infection.Iranian Christians have told BosNewsLife that he was previously beaten by fellow inmates and guards of the Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj city, one of the toughest jails in the country, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of the nation’s capital Tehran. Rights activists with close knowledge about the pastor’s situation said he was in “Ward 2 of Salon 7” where each of the 15 square-meter cells hold up to 40 prisoners. “There are only six bathrooms for 600 inmates,” added advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

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