Sunday, January 13, 2008

Slovenian Journalists Speak Out Against EU Censorship

Post below lifted from Gates of Vienna. See the original for links

I have written before about Slovenia, which seems to be the Denmark of Southern Europe: refreshingly anti-PC, non-Multicultural, and resistant to Islamization. Slovenia's collective behavior has caused it to be reprimanded by the European Union for being insufficiently sensitive to designated victim groups, such as Muslims.

Slovenia is about to assume the rotating presidency of the EU, and Slovenian journalists are acting like their cousins to the north: they're protesting against the attempt by the mandarins of Brussels to squelch free speech. According to ANSAmed:
EU: Slovenian Journalists Sign Open Anti-Censorship Letter

Nearly 600 Slovenian journalists signed an open letter against censorship and political pressure, which was sent at the end of 2007 to more than 300 government leaders in the European Union, international organisations and newspapers, among others, on the eve of Slovenia's assumption of the EU rotating presidency. In the open letter, the 571 signatories refer to the petition signed last autumn and presented on October 16 to Slovenia's National Assembly. The signatories of the open letter point out that three months since the petition was tabled nothing has been done in order to verify the accusations made in the document against political interference with the media. "The EU is presided by a country, in which 571 signatories have launched an alarm against censorship and political pressure, but the government and Parliament of which reject any dialogue with the journalists," the open letter reads.

Organized feminists are so far Left that they even hate to hear of successful women -- if the women are Israelis

Post below lifted from Taranto. See the original for links

A press release from the American Jewish Congress reports that the group tried to buy an ad in Ms. Magazine but was unable to do so. Your first thought may be, Of course they were unable to do so--this is 2008, not 1972. But as improbable as it may seem, Ms. still exists, and the AJC says it refused to accept the ad, which depicts Israel's Supreme Court chief, foreign minister and Knesset speaker, all of whom are female, over the large caption "This is Israel."

According to the AJC statement, the congress was told by someone at Ms. "that publishing the ad 'will set off a firestorm' and that 'there are very strong opinions' on the subject." Ms. readers are delicate flowers, aren't they? But the Jewish Telegraphic Agency heard a different story:
Ms. magazine's executive editor, Kathy Spillar, disputes [AJC's] version, telling JTA the ad showed political support for one of Israel's parties and thus violated magazine standards. "We only take mission-driven ads," Spillar said. "Because two of the women in this ad were from the same political party," that showed favoritism, and the magazine's policy is not to get involved in the domestic politics of another country.
We'll leave it to others to sort this out. We're just jealous that in this day and age Ms. can actually afford to turn down ads!


Anyone who has been alive for the past 100 years knows Helen Thomas. Well Helen is almost 90 years old, but she's still our dear, sweet Helen. Can't help it .. I like her, but any pretense that she is an objective journalist was abandoned sometime around the Harding administration. Aunt Helen is now telling us that bloggers are causing the "deterioration" of journalism. Furthermore, these nasty bloggers got us into the Iraq war.

Well there ya go. No wonder Bush wanted to move her to the back row. Helen says that everyone with a laptop thinks that he/she is a journalist. Well maybe that is true for some. I know my role though. No pretext at objectivity here. I'm just a puddin' stirrer.

This is where Helen shows that she is part of the old guard. She says that bloggers "certainly don't have our standards and they don't have our ethics ..." OK ... fine. Maybe so, maybe not. I'll tell you what they do have, Aunt Helen. They have the freedom to put their thoughts down on paper and to publish them for the world to read if they chose to do so. We have not reached the point where we are going to established some government agency to decide who can express their thoughts and opinions in writing, and who cannot. Maybe after Hillary moves into the White House .. but not yet.

How old is blogging? It's been around since the very beginning days of this country, and before. Perhaps, in spite of your government educations, you've heard of something called "The Federalist Papers." These were a series of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. These men were not journalists. They were citizens writing essays --- blogging, if you will --- in support of ratification of our Constitution. If the technology had been around you can rest assured that they would have posted their writings on the Internet .. .and there would be Helen Thomas deriding them for their efforts and their contributions to the "deterioration" of journalism.

Thank God we live in a country where anyone can express their opinion on any subject .. and then share those opinions with millions by simply posting them on the Internet. We read every day of totalitarian countries - China would be a good example - taking actions to suppress these expressions of private opinion. Come on, Aunt Helen ... maybe you might want to rethink your support of suppression rather than freedom of speech and the press.


Islam vs. Free Speech

Under assault by Muslims and multiculturalists, free speech and freedom of the press are dead in Britain. The same sorts of people who killed them in Britain are killing them in Canada. They and their allies are using the British and Canadian courts and tribunals to bury our First Amendment rights in America. Muslims -- individually and in pressure groups -- are using British libel laws and Canadian "human rights" laws to limit what is said about Islam, terrorists and the people in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere who are funding groups such as al-Queda. The cases of Rachel Ehrenfeld and Mark Steyn prove the point.

Dr. Ehrenfeld is a scholar and author of the book, "Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed, and How to Stop it." In that book, Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz -- a Saudi who is former head of the Saudi National Commercial Bank -- and some of his family are described as having funded terrorism directly and indirectly.

Ehrenfeld is American, her book was written and published in America and she has no business or other ties to Britain. Under American law, the Brit courts would have no jurisdiction over her. But about two-dozen copies of her book were sold there through the internet. Bin Mahfouz sued her for libel in the Brit courts where the burden of proof is the opposite of what it is in US courts: the author has to prove that what is written is true, rather than the supposedly defamed person proving it is false.

Think about that for a moment. Under the US Constitution political writing -- free speech -- is almost unlimited. To gain a libel judgment a politician -- or someone suspected of terrorist ties -- would have to prove that the story or book was false. If that person were a public figure such as Mahfouz, in order to get a libel judgment he'd not only have to prove that what was written was false, he'd also have to prove it was published maliciously.

Those American laws and standards of proof protect political speech. The First Amendment is intended to protect political speech that people find objectionable. In the landmark 1969 case of Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court overturned an Ohio statute which would have outlawed hate speech by the Ku Klux Klan. That's why Mahfouz sued in Britain, not here.

Ehrenfeld refused to fight the case, saying the Brit courts have no jurisdiction over her. Mahfouz got a default judgment against her for 10,000 pounds (for himself, and in equal amounts for his sons). The judgment also requires that there be no further "defamatory" statements published in England and Wales. In a letter published in the Spectator on November 21, bin Mahfouz's lawyers gloated over their victory against Ehrenfeld: "Rather than check her facts, defend her statements in open court, or acknowledge her mistakes, Ehrenfeld hides behind a claim to free speech. Thank goodness, the legal lights remain on in Britain to expose such harmful journalism."

"Harmful journalism" is what tyrants and despots call free speech, especially political speech that condemns their affronts to freedom. The "legal lights" Mahfouz's lawyers see is the bonfire they made of the Magna Carta. Thanks to Mahfouz and his ilk, the light of free speech is extinguished in Britain. Consider the fate of the book, "Alms for Jihad."

In 2006 Cambridge University press published "Alms for Jihad." It's a highly detailed and apparently well-researched book that documents Saudi funding of terrorist groups (as well as other funding and the network of Islamic "charities" that contribute to terrorism). "Alms for Jihad" -- like Ehrenfeld's book -- documents bin Mahfouz's funding ties to terrorism, including to Usama bin Laden. But "Alms"-- in settlement of a libel suit by bin Mahfouz in the Brit courts -- was withdrawn from stores and libraries and unsold copies destroyed. The Saudi book burners won.

Mahfouz's case against Ehrenfeld has already done enormous harm in the US. Ehrenfeld told me she's unable to get book publishers to contract for another book. She said all of the major US publishing houses have turned down a book on the Muslim Brotherhood -- thought to have substantial terrorist ties -- and the Saudis' involvement in funding it.

If what Ehrenfeld writes about the Brotherhood offends Mahfouz or someone else whose ties to terrorism ought to be exposed, sales could be banned not only in Britain but in the entire European Union and the publisher -- and the author -- made liable for damages. Mahfouz -- using British courts that have no jurisdiction over American authors -- has apparently precluded Ehrenfeld from writing another book. Steyn's case is another instance of Muslims trying to silence "harmful journalism."

Mark Steyn's superb book, "America Alone", makes two important points: first, that the Muslim baby boom around the world will likely result in Christian nations becoming Muslim by weight of demographics; and second that Islam is a political system, not just a religion:

So it's not merely that there's a global jihad lurking within this religion, but that the religion itself is a political project and, in fact, an imperial project in a way that modern Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism are not. Furthermore, this particular religion is historically a somewhat bloodthirsty faith in which whatever's your bag violence-wise can almost certainly be justified.

Steyn's stance -- written by him and paralleled by other writers in the Canadian magazine, "Macleans" -- is the subject of a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission brought by three Muslim law students in Canada, with the apparent support of the Canadian Islamic Conference. That group is similar to the CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is a multiculti kangaroo court. The complaint against Macleans will be adjudicated next year, and findings entered against the magazine. (Steyn told me that the CHRC has granted 100% of the petitions brought to it so far.) What then? Fines and other sanctions will be entered against Macleans along with probable injunctions against further "harmful journalism" that offends Muslims. A case may be brought against Steyn himself later. Which means that he could be subjected to fines or other penalties in Canada for exercising his First Amendment rights in the US. And -- because American publishers look to Canada for about 10% of their sales -- Steyn may, like Ehrenfeld, find publishers unwilling to publish his work.

What has happened to Ehrenfeld and may happen to Steyn is in contravention of their First Amendment rights. No American court would or could do that. No foreign court or commission should be able to. US courts, and each of us who believes in free speech, must stand with both authors. US courts should make it clear that foreign libel judgments or "human rights" decisions that conflict with our First Amendment cannot be enforced.

Each and every presidential candidate should speak -- loudly and clearly -- against this encroachment of foreign law on the First Amendment. Anyone who doesn't stand forthrightly against these foreign infringements on Americans' Constitutional rights should receive neither our confidence nor our votes.

What Muslims such as Mahfouz and those complaining against Steyn are doing to destroy free speech overseas has been commenced here by groups such as CAIR. A few weeks ago, CAIR announced its media guide, which is purportedly corrects "misperceptions" about Islam and ".educate(s) the media and disabuse(s) journalists of misinformation." But the other aspect -- which I and others suspect -- is that it's not so much a guide as a set of rules against "harmful journalism." And those who write about terrorism, Saudi Arabia and Islam will be accused of intolerance and racism should they violate them.

We don't yet know what the CAIR guide says. I requested a copy of it from CAIR by e-mail, as they specified. I have neither received a copy nor received any response. I suspect CAIR wants to hide it from people who would scrutinize it. Having to operate under our Constitution, they will take a more indirect path than Mahfouz and the Canadian law students to preclude what they believe is "harmful journalism."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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