Saudi Arabian interior and defence ministry documents leaked on Twitter

Documents claimed to be from Saudi Arabia’s interior and defence ministries were leaked on Twitter this week, purporting to reveal details of surveillance tactics used to monitor citizens of the oil-rich Gulf state.

The Monaseron account posted on Sunday a raft of documents that appeared to have official seals and detailed cases of people under surveillance, lists of individuals said to be members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood and citizens who have travelled to Qatar in recent years.

Monaseron has over 90,000 Twitter followers and is an account that advocates the release of political prisoners held in the conservative al-Qassim province.

It said the “secret intelligence apparatus has been infiltrated” but did not provide details of how the documents were leaked.

Translation: Important: The secret intelligence apparatus has been infiltrated and we have a number of documents which haven’t been vetted and we will be publishing a sample of it tonight God willing.

One of the documents – titled confidential and urgent – highlights the activities of Saudi citizen Ahmed bin Amer al-Sanusi.

“He (Sanusi) called for freedom of expression and opinion and for the Saudi government not to interfere in this,” the document said.

Sanusi is reported to have called for “political reform and a constitutional monarchy” and is quoted as having said: “The Saudi government accuses lawyers, who defend detainees, of rebelling against the rulers.”

The document said Sanusi, who is studying in the US on a state-sponsored scholarship, was to be “monitored and those influencing or supporting him will be identified to clarify his situation.” It also recommended Education Minister Khaled al-Faisal suspend the scholarship “given his clear ingratitude to his homeland and affronts to the policies of the kingdom.”

The letter is addressed to Mohammed bin Nayef, who is the country’s interior minister and recently appointed deputy crown prince. Bin Nayef is second in line to the throne and analysts have said he is the “de facto king of Saudi Arabia”, claiming 79-year-old King Salman is suffering from the debilitating Alzheimer’s disease that means he is unable to carry out all his duties as monarch.

Another document accuses Saudi citizen Zuhair Katbi of “treason” because he told his wife in a phone call that he was tired of life in the Gulf state and was considering seeking political asylum in Germany.

It goes on to detail a phone conversation monitored by authorities between Katbi and a man called Khaled Nahhas, in which the former said he did not accept the appointment of Muqrin bin Abdulaziz as deputy crown prince. Muqrin has since been promoted to crown prince, making him first in line to the throne, after the recent death of King Abdullah.

Authorities noted, however, that Katbi made some comments they approved of, including when he said that the visit of US President Barack Obama to Riyadh was useful for securing the security of Saudi Arabia.

The document states Katbi should be sentenced to two years in prison for his indiscretions, after having previously received clemency when he pledged to stop “his writings [that] inflame the public opinion and go against the orientations of the state.”

Other leaked documents include the names of 29 people who have travelled from the kingdom to Qatar over the previous three years, 27 Saudi citizens said to be members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and 16 princes who have Twitter accounts.

None of the documents provide reasons why these lists have been compiled by authorities.

Commentators said the importance of the leak was not that authorities in Saudi Arabia monitor their citizens – which is already widely known – but that the public can learn about how it is done.

“Saudi Arabia being a police state won’t come as news to most people,” Mohamed Nazzal wrote in al-Akhbar, a Lebanese news site. “What is new, however, is that the public can now examine the kingdom’s administrative mechanisms for spying and surveillance.”

The Monaseron account said it has more documents to be revealed, which it said would be posted when it was deemed the “right time.”

Translation: We shall stop at this sample, which will suffice for now. And God willing we will publish what we see as suitable at the right time.

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The latest from our friends in Saudi Arabia: COLUMBUS SAILED TO THE NEW WORLD TO KILL MUSLIMS

Imam Assiri’s sermon sounds like it might be coming from “the wrong side of history,” to borrow President Obama’s phrase for what he describes as the completely non-Islamic terrorists of ISIS.

As translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which keeps busy translating what Arab leaders say when there are no Western cameras pointed at them, Imam Assiri warms up with a victory lap for the use of violence to censor images offensive to Islam, such as the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. He explains how bloodshed is useful for convincing Westerners to abandon their free speech values:

The sword is more truthful than the book. Its cutting edge separates sincerity from jest. It is the whiteness of the blade, rather than the blackness of the book’s ink, that dismisses any uncertainty or doubt.” When they faced death… This is the language these Jewish and Christian infidels understand. This is the only language they understand. [After the Charlie Hebdo attack] they changed their policy.

The Imam has a tart response for the Western liberals who banged out a thousand pages about how peaceful, tolerant Islam does not actually have religious laws against insulting or depicting Mohammed:

When someone curses or mocks the Prophet Muhammad – what should be his punishment? Cursing or mocking the Prophet is an act of apostasy, as all scholars concur, whether it is done seriously or in jest. Anyone who does this, Muslim or infidel, must be killed, even if he repents.

That doesn’t sound at all like what atheist Western liberals have been assuring us the Koran and hadiths have to say on the matter.

The Imam went on to claim that Muslims were all over the place in the New World of the 15th Century, which is why Queen Isabella sent Christopher Columbus to kill them.

Dear believers, some notions require correction. For example, what we learned in school about the discovery of America is a lie. According to this story, the Spaniards loved spices, and since there was a shortage of spices in Europe and the price was high, they decided to send a sailor called Columbus westwards, so he would reach India and bring back spices. Only he did not get to India. Instead, he reached a land inhabited by redskins, whom he named “Red Indians.” Some time later, another sailor, called Amerigo, reached the same place. This is why America is called America – after that sailor – as if he discovered it. End of story – a fabrication and a lie, which is as far removed from the truth as possible.

What is the truth that they do not want us to know? All that I have just told you is pure nonsense. The truth is that Columbus knew about the “new world” even before he set sail. He also knew that there were Muslims there. He received a personal commission to sail to America from a Crusader queen who hated Islam and the Muslims. She was one of the most prominent Crusader figures in history and she was called Isabella. She harbored deep hatred for Islam. She signed with Muhammad “the Little” the last Muslim king of Andalusia, an agreement in Granada that ended the Muslim presence in Andalusia. That was before this hateful Crusader turned to the American continent, in order to fight the Muslims there. The Muslims were there before Columbus and all the others.

Imam Assiri is not the first to float this alternate history of early America. Months before this lively sermon was delivered, as AFP reported, no less a figure than Turkey’s Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was pushing the same load of garbage:

“Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus,” the conservative president said in a televised speech during an Istanbul summit of Muslim leaders from Latin America.

“Muslim sailors arrived in America from 1178. Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast,” Erdogan said. […]

A tiny minority of Muslim scholars have recently suggested a prior Muslim presence in the Americas, although no pre-Columbian ruin of an Islamic structure has ever been found.

In a controversial article published in 1996, historian Youssef Mroueh refers to a diary entry from Columbus that mentions a mosque in Cuba. But the passage is widely understood to be a metaphorical reference to the shape of the landscape.

Commenting on the shape of the Islamic rhetorical landscape, Daniel Greenfield observes, “Islamic history is a pretty unique thing. It’s the story of how everyone hates and conspires against Muslims. Saudi Arabia is a totalitarian state. If the authorities found his views unacceptable, he wouldn’t have been able to preach them. This is mainstream stuff.” As he goes on to note, this also provides a pretext for claiming that America, like just about every square inch of the world, really “belongs” to conquering Islam.

After the Charlie Hebdo horror, part of the instantaneous cultural-elite backlash against the hypothetical anti-Muslim backlash that never actually happens following acts of Islamist terror involved wailing about the unfairness of expecting peaceful Muslims to denounce the actions of violent fanatics. This is a deliberate misrepresentation of the hope that Islamic leaders would loudly and unequivocally denounce the use of force to impose sharia law on non-Muslims. Many Islamic leaders in Western communities step up to denounce violence, but not always unequivocally, nor are they willing to completely discredit the idea of compelling Western legal systems to respect Islamic law.

We might also ask Islamic leaders to sternly denounce the paranoid rhetoric aimed at making many of the faithful feel like victims, viewing secular society and the faithful of other religions with hostility and resentment. That is one of the most urgent tasks awaiting a global Islamic reformation, especially given the ongoing migration of both people and ideas from parts of the world where angry nonsense is standard fare.

 

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Muslims around the world praise Paris massacre

Charlie Hebdo’s decision to depict the Prophet Mohammed on its front cover today has angered Muslims around the world who called it a renewed insult to their religion.

Around three million copies of the French satirical newspaper hit the stands this morning for the first since the terror attack on its office which killed 12 people.

The front cover showed a weeping Mohammed, holding a sign reading ‘I am Charlie’ with the words ‘All is forgiven’ above him.

Such was its immediate popularity, the print run has since been increased to five million after issues sold out within minutes.

Copies have since been changing hands on eBay for three-figure sums as customers rush to get their hands on the edition.

But many Muslims believe their faith forbids depictions of the prophet and reacted with dismay – and occasionally anger – to the latest cover image.

Some felt their expressions of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo after last week’s attack had been rebuffed, while others feared the cartoon would trigger yet more violence.

‘You’re putting the lives of others at risk when you’re taunting bloodthirsty and mad terrorists,’ said Hamad Alfarhan, a 29-year old Kuwaiti doctor.

Filipino Muslims set fire to a banner with a picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a protest at what they described as ‘double standard’ practices of the Western media against Muslims in the wake of global call for condemnation following the terrorist attack at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo

Filipino Muslims set fire to a banner with a picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a protest at what they described as ‘double standard’ practices of the Western media against Muslims in the wake of global call for condemnation following the terrorist attack at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu became a central figure in the response to the Paris terror attacks after four Jewish shoppers were killed by one of the Islamic fanatics. Here, a tarpaulin with his image and the Israeli flag is torched by Filipinos over the decision to publish a cartoon of Mohammed on Charlie Hebdo

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu became a central figure in the response to the Paris terror attacks after four Jewish shoppers were killed by one of the Islamic fanatics. Here, a tarpaulin with his image and the Israeli flag is torched by Filipinos over the decision to publish a cartoon of Mohammed on Charlie Hebdo
In the Philippines, there were angry protests at the front cover and also the perceived double standards by the West.

Placards by demonstrators in Marawi were held aloft which accused the West of remaining silent over the deaths of Muslims and that said ‘You are Charlie, I love Mohammed’.

In one rally a picture of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was set on fire and banners waved that declared there would be no apology from the Islamic world for the Paris massacre.

Mr Netanyahu became a central figure in the response to the attacks after four Jewish shoppers were killed by one of the Islamic fanatics at a kosher deli the day after the Charlie Hebdo shootings.

It came as Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram hailed the Paris massacres.

‘We are indeed happy with what happened in France,’ the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video posted online.

‘We are happy over what befell the people of France… as their blood was shed inside their country as they (try to) safeguard their blood,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Abbas Shumann, deputy to the Grand Sheik of Cairo’s influential Al-Azhar mosque, said the new image was ‘a blatant challenge to the feelings of Muslims who had sympathised with this newspaper.’

Protesters burn newspaper that publishes Charlie Hebdo cartoons
Outrage: Many Muslims believe their faith forbids depictions of the prophet and reacted with dismay – and occasionally anger – to the latest cover image including at this demonstration in Marawi in the Philippines

Outrage: Many Muslims believe their faith forbids depictions of the prophet and reacted with dismay – and occasionally anger – to the latest cover image including at this demonstration in Marawi in the Philippines
Up in arms: The protesters denounced Charlie Hebdo for featuring Prophet Mohammed in their latest edition

Up in arms: The protesters denounced Charlie Hebdo for featuring Prophet Mohammed in their latest edition
Some felt their expressions of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo after last week’s attack had been rebuffed

Some felt their expressions of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo after last week’s attack had been rebuffed
The decision to depict the Prophet angered many Muslims, who called it a renewed insult to their religion

The decision to depict the Prophet angered many Muslims, who called it a renewed insult to their religion
But he said Muslims should ignore the cover and respond by ‘showing tolerance, forgiveness and shedding light on the story of the prophet.’

An angry reaction, he said, will ‘not solve the problem but will instead add to the tension and the offense to Islam.’

In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood said it would stage a protest after Friday prayers in Amman in response to the paper’s Mohammed cartoon.

Spokesman Murad Adaileh said the brotherhood strongly condemned both the killings and the ‘offensive’ against the prophet.

That was a widely expressed sentiment.

Ghassan Nhouli, a grocer in the Lebanese port city of Sidon, said the magazine and the killers ‘are both wrong.’

‘It is not permitted to kill and also it is not permitted to humiliate a billion Muslims,’ he said.

Protesters burn newspaper that publishes Charlie Hebdo cartoons
Protest: Demonstrators in Istanbul shouted slogans denouncing a Turkish daily newspaper which printed four-page spread of Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Protest: Demonstrators in Istanbul shouted slogans denouncing a Turkish daily newspaper which printed four-page spread of Charlie Hebdo cartoons
Anger: Dozens of gathered to vent their fury at the Cumhuriyet newspaper, which included cartoons and articles from Charlie Hebdo’s latest ‘survivor’ edition

Anger: Dozens of gathered to vent their fury at the Cumhuriyet newspaper, which included cartoons and articles from Charlie Hebdo’s latest ‘survivor’ edition
Furious: One protester burned a copy of the Cumhuriyet, the daily Turkish newspaper which decided to print Charlie Hebdo illustrations

Furious: One protester burned a copy of the Cumhuriyet, the daily Turkish newspaper which decided to print Charlie Hebdo illustrations
Precaution: Turkish riot police blocked a street in Istanbul to contain the angry Muslim demonstrators

Precaution: Turkish riot police blocked a street in Istanbul to contain the angry Muslim demonstrators
Protection: Turkish police increased security presence around the Cumhuriyet newspaper, which printed Charlie Hebdo cartoons in its latest issue

Protection: Turkish police increased security presence around the Cumhuriyet newspaper, which printed Charlie Hebdo cartoons in its latest issue
Violent: Riot police had to detain one of the dozens of angry protesters marching through Istanbul

Violent: Riot police had to detain one of the dozens of angry protesters marching through Istanbul
Detained: This demonstrator (pictured) was arrested by plain-clothed policemen during the protest

Detained: This demonstrator (pictured) was arrested by plain-clothed policemen during the protest
Crackdown: Armed police arrested more demonstrators, including one who burned a copy of the Cumhuriyet newspaper

Crackdown: Armed police arrested more demonstrators, including one who burned a copy of the Cumhuriyet newspaper
Standing guard: Earlier in the day, heavily armed policemen kept a watchful eye on the pro-secular Turkish newspaper’s offices

Standing guard: Earlier in the day, heavily armed policemen kept a watchful eye on the pro-secular Turkish newspaper’s offices
The Iranian government has strongly condemned the killings, but Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said that in a world of widely differing cultures, ‘sanctities need to be respected.’

He said: ‘I think we would have a much safer, much more prudent world if we were to engage in serious dialogue, serious debate about our differences and then what we will find out that what binds us together is far greater than what divides us.’

Egyptian cartoonist Makhlouf appealed for peace with his own spin on the Charlie Hebdo cover, replacing Mohammed with an ordinary Middle Eastern man carrying a placard reading ‘I am an artist’ in French.

‘I am for art and against killing,’ he added in Arabic. ‘May God forgive everyone.’

The image was widely circulated on social media. Turkey was rare among Muslim-majority nations to have publications running Charlie Hebdo images. But the decision has raised tensions in the officially secular country.

Police stopped trucks leaving the printing plant of newspaper Cumhuriyet after it said it would reprint some of the cartoons.

The vehicles were allowed to distribute the paper once officials had determined that the image of the Prophet Mohammed was not shown.

Parisians queue at dawn for latest edition of Charlie Hebdo
Parisians got up as early as 5.30am to make sure they secured a copy of the latest Charlie Hebdo

Parisians got up as early as 5.30am to make sure they secured a copy of the latest Charlie Hebdo
Renald Luzier, the cartoonist who drew the cover image under the pen name ‘Luz’, said it represents ‘just a little guy who’s crying’. Pictured are people queuing for the magazine in Paris

Renald Luzier, the cartoonist who drew the cover image under the pen name ‘Luz’, said it represents ‘just a little guy who’s crying’. Pictured are people queuing for the magazine in Paris
This Parisian newsagent had a sign up apologising for running out of the survivors’ edition

This Parisian newsagent had a sign up apologising for running out of the survivors’ edition
The paper printed a four-page selection of cartoons and articles – including caricatures of Pope Francis and French President Francois Hollande – but left out cartoons likely to offend Muslims.

However, two Cumhuriyet columnists used small, black-and-white images of the new Charlie Hebdo cover as their column headers.

A small group of pro-Islamic students staged a protest outside the paper’s office in Ankara, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The police intensified security outside Cumhuriyet’s headquarters and printing center as a precaution.

Meanwhile, Al Qaeda in Yemen claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo, saying it was ordered by the jihadist network’s global chief to avenge the French magazine’s cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

In a video entitled ‘A message regarding the blessed battle of Paris’, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said that it had financed and plotted the assault on the weekly that left 12 people dead and shocked France.

Purported Boko Haram leader applauds Charlie Hebdo attacks
‘We are indeed happy with what happened in France': Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Nigerian terror group hails the massacres in Paris

‘We are indeed happy with what happened in France': Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Nigerian terror group hails the massacres in Paris
Turkish police took extra security measures around the offices of daily newspaper Cumhuriyet after it published a four-page spread of Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Officials check delivery lorries to determine that the image of the Prophet Mohammed was not shown

Turkish police took extra security measures around the offices of daily newspaper Cumhuriyet after it published a four-page spread of Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Officials check delivery lorries to determine that the image of the Prophet Mohammed was not shown
But it said the orders had come from the very top of the global jihadist network – Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who succeeded Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden after his death in 2011.

‘We, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the messenger of Allah,’ Nasser al-Ansi, one of AQAP’s chiefs, said in the video.

Leading Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, formerly a member of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), praised the ‘heroic and rare attack’ in France, hailing the Kouachi brothers as ‘two soldiers of Islam… who humiliated France.’

France ‘thought that it was immune to the strikes of the mujahedeen,’ he said in a statement.

Across Europe, there was high demand for scarce copies of the latest edition and several newspapers ran extracts from Charlie Hebdo.

Spain’s El Pais published two pages of the cartoons with Spanish translation, though it did not include any images of the prophet.

On guard: Soldiers patrol the street in Paris amid heightened security after the terror attacks last week

On guard: Soldiers patrol the street in Paris amid heightened security after the terror attacks last week
Flowers lay outside Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris in tribute to the 12 victims of the terror attack

Flowers lay outside Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris in tribute to the 12 victims of the terror attack
A small Italian newspaper, Il Fatto Quotidiano (The Daily Fact), published Charlie Hebdo as a 16-page supplement, in French with Italian translations of the captions.

`’Why are we doing it?’ editor Antonio Padellaro wrote in a front-page column.

‘Because last Friday, when we called the surviving top editor of Charlie Hebdo, we heard him say: ‘Thanks, you’re the only Italian newspaper who asked us’.’

Physical copies of the paper were hard to find, although newsagents in several countries said they hoped to have some in stock by the end of the week.

In Sweden, the 320-strong Pressbyran chain of newsagents said it would sell the issue, but only online, not in stores.

Spokesman Fredrik Klein said the decision was ‘as a security measure and out of concern for our staff.’

There was brisk bidding for copies of Charlie Hebdo on Internet auction sites.

On the Irish version of eBay, emailed electronic copies were selling at prices starting around 6.50 euros ($8), while hard copies attracted bids over 200 euros ($240).

On British eBay, bidding on one copy went above 95,000 ($145,000), though it was unclear whether the bids were genuine or an attempt to make mischief.

Michael Collingwood of Sgel, Charlie Hebdo’s Spanish distributor, said he normally received 40 copies but had been promised 1,000 this time by the paper’s French distributor.

He figured he could sell eight times that number.

‘I don’t know why they only printed 3 million,’ he said. ‘Everyone wants it.’

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French Jew-Hating Comedian Arrested for Pro-Terror Remarks

Forty-eight hours after hosting a massive march under the banner of free expression, France opened a criminal investigation of a controversial French comedian for a Facebook post he wrote about the Charlie Hebdo attack, and then this morning, arrested him for that post on charges of “defending terrorism.” The comedian, Dieudonné (above), previously sought elective office in France on what he called an “anti-Zionist” platform, has had his show banned by numerous government officials in cities throughout France, and has been criminally prosecuted several times before for expressing ideas banned in that country.

The apparently criminal viewpoint he posted on Facebook declared: “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly.” Investigators concluded that this was intended to mock the “Je Suis Charlie” slogan and express support for the perpetrator of the Paris supermarket killings (whose last name was “Coulibaly”). Expressing that opinion is evidently a crime in the Republic of Liberté, which prides itself on a line of 20th Century intellectuals – from Sartre and Genet to Foucault and Derrida – whose hallmark was leaving no orthodoxy or convention unmolested, no matter how sacred.

Since that glorious “free speech” march, France has reportedly opened 54 criminal cases for “condoning terrorism.” AP reported this morning that “France ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism.”

As pernicious as this arrest and related “crackdown” on some speech obviously is, it provides a critical value: namely, it underscores the utter scam that was this week’s celebration of free speech in the west. The day before the Charlie Hebdo attack, I coincidentally documented the multiple cases in the west – including in the U.S. – where Muslims have been prosecuted and even imprisoned for their political speech. Vanishingly few of this week’s bold free expression mavens have ever uttered a peep of protest about any of those cases – either before the Charlie Hebdo attack or since. That’s because “free speech,” in the hands of many westerners, actually means: it is vital that the ideas I like be protected, and the right to offend groups I dislike be cherished; anything else is fair game.

It is certainly true that many of Dieudonné’s views and statements are noxious, although he and his supporters insist that they are “satire” and all in good humor. In that regard, the controversy they provoke is similar to the now-much-beloved Charlie Hebdo cartoons (one French leftist insists the cartoonists were mocking rather than adopting racism and bigotry, but Olivier Cyran, a former writer at the magazine who resigned in 2001, wrote a powerful 2013 letter with ample documentation condemning Charlie Hebdo for descending in the post-9/11 era into full-scale, obsessive anti-Muslim bigotry).

Despite the obvious threat to free speech posed by this arrest, it is inconceivable that any mainstream western media figures would start tweeting “#JeSuisDieudonné” or would upload photographs of themselves performing his ugly Nazi-evoking arm gesture in “solidarity” with his free speech rights. That’s true even if he were murdered for his ideas rather than “merely” arrested and prosecuted for them. That’s because last week’s celebration of the Hebdo cartoonists (well beyond mourning their horrifically unjust murders) was at least as much about approval for their anti-Muslim messages as it was about the free speech rights that were invoked in their support – at least as much.

The vast bulk of the stirring “free speech” tributes over the last week have been little more than an attempt to protect and venerate speech that degrades disfavored groups while rendering off-limits speech that does the same to favored groups, all deceitfully masquerading as lofty principles of liberty. In response to my article containing anti-Jewish cartoons on Monday – which I posted to demonstrate the utter selectivity and inauthenticity of this newfound adoration of offensive speech – I was subjected to endless contortions justifying why anti-Muslim speech is perfectly great and noble while anti-Jewish speech is hideously offensive and evil (the most frequently invoked distinction – “Jews are a race/ethnicity while Muslims aren’t” – would come as a huge surprise to the world’s Asian, black, Latino and white Jews, as well as to those who identify as “Muslim” as part of their cultural identity even though they don’t pray five times a day). As always: it’s free speech if it involves ideas I like or attacks groups I dislike, but it’s something different when I’m the one who is offended.

Think about the “defending terrorism” criminal offense for which Dieudonné has been arrested. Should it really be a criminal offense – causing someone to be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned – to say something along these lines: western countries like France have been bringing violence for so long to Muslims in their countries that I now believe it’s justifiable to bring violence to France as a means of making them stop? If you want “terrorism defenses” like that to be criminally prosecuted (as opposed to societally shunned), how about those who justify, cheer for and glorify the invasion and destruction of Iraq, with its “Shock and Awe” slogan signifying an intent to terrorize the civilian population into submission and its monstrous tactics in Fallujah? Or how about the psychotic calls from a Fox News host, when discussing Muslims radicals, to “kill them ALL.” Why is one view permissible and the other criminally barred – other than because the force of law is being used to control political discourse and one form of terrorism (violence in the Muslim world) is done by, rather than to, the west?

For those interested, my comprehensive argument against all “hate speech” laws and other attempts to exploit the law to police political discourse is here. That essay, notably, was written to denounce a proposal by a French minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, to force Twitter to work with the French government to delete tweets which officials like this minister (and future unknown ministers) deem “hateful.” France is about as legitimate a symbol of free expression as Charlie Hebdo, which fired one of its writers in 2009 for a single supposedly anti-Semitic sentence in the midst of publishing an orgy of anti-Muslim (not just anti-Islam) content. This week’s celebration of France – and the gaggle of tyrannical leaders who joined it – had little to do with free speech and much to do with suppressing ideas they dislike while venerating ideas they prefer.

Perhaps the most intellectually corrupted figure in this regard is, unsurprisingly, France’s most celebrated (and easily the world’s most overrated) public intellectual, the philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. He demands criminal suppression of anything smacking of anti-Jewish views (he called for Dieudonné’s shows to be banned (“I don’t understand why anyone even sees the need for debate”) and supported the 2009 firing of the Charlie Hebdo writer for a speech offense against Jews), while shamelessly parading around all last week as the Churchillian champion of free expression when it comes to anti-Muslim cartoons.

But that, inevitably, is precisely the goal, and the effect, of laws that criminalize certain ideas and those who support such laws: to codify a system where the views they like are sanctified and the groups to which they belong protected. The views and groups they most dislike – and only them – are fair game for oppression and degradation.

The arrest of this French comedian so soon after the epic Paris free speech march underscores this point more powerfully than anything I could have written about the selectivity and fraud of this week’s “free speech” parade. It also shows – yet again – why those who want to criminalize the ideas they most dislike are at least as dangerous and tyrannical as the ideas they target: at least.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/01/14/days-hosting-massive-free-speech-march-france-arrests-comedian-facebook-comments/

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Hamas chief lauds Turkey as ‘source of power’ for Muslims

Surely, Turkey only pretends to be secular.

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal on Saturday praised Turkey as a “source of power” for all Muslims in gratitude to Turkey’s leaders for supporting the Palestinian cause.

“A democratic, stable and developed Turkey is a source of power for all Muslims,” Meshaal said in an address to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) annual congress in the conservative central Anatolian city of Konya.

Meshaal said a “strong Turkey means a strong Jerusalem, a strong Palestine,” voicing hopes to “liberate Palestine and Jerusalem,” according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.

His brief address was interrupted repeatedly by cheering crowds in the hall waving Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanting: “Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)” and “Down with Israel!”

The Hamas chief often shows up at the ruling party’s events. He also attended the AKP’s congress in 2012 when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was serving as prime minister.

Current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in his speech said Turkey’s red flag featuring a crescent with a star was a “symbol of the innocent in the world.”

“God is witness … we will make this red flag a symbol of the innocent. This red flag will fly side by side with the flags of Palestine, free Syria and all other innocents’ flags anywhere in the world,” he told the congress.

Turkey’s leaders, in particular Erdogan, are known for their angry outbursts at Israel. A staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, Erdogan has often blasted the Jewish state over its military assaults on the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas.

Source.

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