Wednesday, January 23

Censorship in the era of unrestricted warfare against the United States

This one's for American readers who've threatened to scream if they see another word about Section 13 of Canada's Human Rights Act

"The initial reports of the [Toronto terror bombing plot] caused some controversy when a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, Mike McDonell, described the arrested people as representing a "broad strata" of Canadian society and the Toronto Star claimed that it is "difficult to find a common denominator" among them, even though all were Muslims and many attended the same mosque."

"Google dumps news sites that criticize radical Islam: Search giant axes another news page, calls terrorism discussion 'hate content.' "

"A Muslim police officer is suing former CIA official and counterterrorism consultant Bruce Tefft and the New York Police Department for workplace harassment merely because Tefft sent emails with relevant news stories about Islamic terrorism to a voluntary list of recipients that included police officers. [...] Already, publishers have canceled books on the subject of counterterrorism ... "

"[Stephen] Coughlin was fired as a Joint Staff contractor after his confrontation with Hasham Islam, a special assistant to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England [...] Mr. Islam, a Muslim, referred to Mr. Coughlin as a "Christian zealot with a pen" during the meeting several weeks ago, a slur rejected by Mr. Coughlin's supporters. [...] defense and military officials supportive of Mr. Coughlin said the real reason is that critics like Mr. Islam want him sidelined because they oppose his hard-to-refute views on the relationship between Islamic law and Islamist jihad doctrine. Those views have triggered a harsh debate challenging the widespread and politically correct view of Islam as a religion of peace hijacked by extremists."

"Islamic Bloc Scores 'Defamation of Religions' Resolution at UN
Although the resolution refers to defamation of "religions," Islam is the only religion named in the text, which also takes a swipe at counter-terrorism security measures.

It expresses alarm about "discrimination" and "laws that stigmatize groups of people belonging to certain religions and faiths under a variety of pretexts relating to security and illegal immigration." [...]

The resolution decries "the negative projection of Islam in the media" and voices "deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism."

[Organization of the Islamic Conference] secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu earlier this month addressed an international conference on "Islamophobia," held in Turkey, and told the gathering that freedom of expression was being used as a cover in the West to promote anti-Islam sentiment
* * * * * *
"If you'd said [on September 10, 2001] that whether something does or does not cause offence to Muslims would be the early 21st century's principal political dynamic in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, most folks would have thought you were crazy."

The quote is from the prologue to Mark Steyn's 2006 book American Alone: The End of the World as We Know It; it also appears in the first paragraph of the excerpt from the book that Maclean's magazine published in October 2006.

Steyn's major point is that it's not Muslims or even the realities of demographics that are dismantling the cradle of Western civilization; it's Westerners who are psychologically incapable of addressing a serious threat to their civilization, even when it punches them in the face.

To review, The excerpt is the basis for the Section 13 complaints filed by Mohamed Elmasry, the president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, against Maclean's magazine et al.

Invoking Section 13 language, Elmasry complained that the writing was likely to cause feelings of hatred and contempt for Canadian Muslims.

Elmasry's complaint, and the support he's found for it in Canada's government and among Canada's strongest defenders of multiculturalism policy, are an eerie echo of Steyn's major point.

Speaking quite frankly, years of war have made me ruthless about priorities. My overriding interest in the Section 13 Affair is that news and discussion about the war on terror and related issues, which include Islamism, not be censored in a country that borders the United States.

We already have an uphill battle in the US against the Saudis and other powerful actors who are attempting to block virtually all news and public discussion of Islamist-related terrorism. (See Mark Steyn is Not Alone for a discussion of some of the actors.)

In this struggle against censorship there is no border between Canada and the United States; no way you can say, 'That's their problem.'

I will close with a promise to give readers a break, after this writing, from Section 13, and by reprinting a writing by a Canadian Muslim. Salim Mansur perfectly understands the threat that censorship poses to Canada.

However, I am not sure Mansur is correct when he asserts that Professor John Yoo at Berkeley coined the term "lawfare."

In any event, lawfare was articulated as part of the unrestricted war strategy against the United States that China's army developed in the late 1990s. Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri lifted the strategy lock, stock and barrel from the Chinese work.

Thus, the link I've provided to the term presents a more comprehensive description than has recently been cited in discussion of moves to censor Islamist-related topics.

Assault goes beyond violence
Toronto Sun, January 19, 2007

Since 9/11 it is transparently clear the assault against the West by Islamists is not limited to indiscriminate violence.

Islamists also are "using our own legal system as a weapon against us" as Professor John Yoo at the law faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, recently noted.

Islamism is Janus-faced with one face bearing the dreadful visage of Osama bin Laden and the unholy fanatics of the Arab-Muslim world. The other face bears the likeness of "everyman," making it indistinguishable everywhere.

Islamists with their ideological fellow travellers and apologists wearing the Everyman's mask have adopted "lawfare" -- a term coined by Yoo -- as "another dimension of warfare" against the West.

The case brought to the federal and provincial (Ontario and British Columbia) Human Rights Commissions against Maclean's magazine for publishing Mark Steyn's essay on the future belonging to Islam, a growing faith, is an example of "lawfare" being used to undermine the fundamental values of liberal democracy.

The case was brought by Mohamed Elmasry and the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC).

Elmasry and the CIC are well known to Canadians keeping track of them, and the case against Maclean's reflects their political hucksterism and notoriety as apologists for Islamism.

As once noted about the Holy Roman Empire for being neither holy, nor Roman, Elmasry's CIC is neither Canadian, nor Islamic. It speaks only for that segment of Canadian Muslims who publicly or privately support the Islamist agenda of global jihad.

Elmasry's complaint that Maclean's discriminated against him as a Muslim and the Muslim community at large by publishing Steyn's essay, described as "flagrantly anti-Muslim" is frivolous and false.

Elmasry is incapable of grasping what freedom means -- he is on public record for insisting all adult Israelis are legitimate targets for Palestinian suicide bombers, only apologizing under duress -- since he comes from a culture where freedom is mostly non-existent.

But it is outrageous that the HRCs are willing to entertain such frivolous complaints as Alberta's did in accepting a similar complaint against Ezra Levant, the publisher of Western Standard, now out of business.

The objection of Islamists that discussions of Islam and Islamism -- the latter being a totalitarian ideology -- is offensive and deserves contemptuous dismissal, not an investigation by the HRC at taxpayers' expense.

The complaint by anyone -- least of all Islamists as determined foes of liberal democracy -- of being offended by the general robustness of free speech would be indicative that the complainant cannot distinguish between speech that could be construed as maliciously directed at an individual, or a group, and speech in all its variety and vigour that makes for free discourse in the media and academia.

Freedom comes with cost, and the cost of freedom of expression enshrined in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms is finding someone occasionally offended, yet this cannot be the basis for bridging or censoring the most fundamental right of an open society.

It will not be surprising to learn the HRC bureaucrats find incomprehensible the observation made by Ronald Dworkin, a highly respected legal philosopher, "the only right you don't have in a democracy is the right not to be offended."

Federal and provincial legislators bear heavy responsibility in protecting our democracy and safeguarding our freedoms.

The HRC's function urgently needs confinement by statute to its original purpose, while denying it authority to entertain frivolous complaints -- as is Elmasry's case against Maclean's -- that would subvert rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter.

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