Mount Allison University Professor Rima Azar feels a strong identification to Canada. Born in Lebanon during a civil war, Azar developed a lasting appreciation for the freedoms of Canada, particularly free speech. An accomplished academic in the field of health psychology, she often discusses her views of political and social issues on her personal blog Bambi’s Afkar from her unique perspective. However, she recently ran afoul of an individual who spotted comments denying that Canada is a racist country and criticizing Black Lives Matter as an organization. The individual compiled an array of what was viewed to be objectionable positions and triggered a movement to have Azar fired. In a direct attack on free speech and academic freedom, the University then suspended Azar without pay. Continue reading “Professor Suspended After Denying Canada is a Racist County and Criticizing BLM”
There are new disclosures from Hunter Biden’s laptop that offer an added perspective on his dealings with Chinese figures, including Patrick Ho, secretary general of Chinese oil giant CEFC, who was later indicted and has been connected with Chinese intelligence. The emails and pictures relate to the young Chinese assistant supplied to Hunter who makes revealing statements about the fluid expense accounts and level of support given Hunter by the Chinese. I have read through the new messages and I am not clear about the relationship with the young aide who tells him that she still has his dog tags in her New York apartment. However, the new emails include details on how Biden was paid and the fluidity of the accounts established by the Chinese.
Supporting free speech is often a difficult task that demands defending the most despised individuals or offensive views in our society. That is certainly the case with Richard Pusey, 42, who became a widely hated figure after he filmed and mocked police officers who were dead or dying on the road after a crash. Pusey has been convicted of the crime of “outraging public decency,” an ambiguous crime that would allow the broad criminalizing of speech. Police officers Lynette Taylor, Glen Humphris, Kevin King and Joshua Prestney lost their lives in the accident.
On Saturday, Twitter admitted that it is actively working with the Indian government to censor criticism of its handling of the pandemic as the number of cases and deaths continues to skyrocket. There are widespread reports that the Indian government has misrepresented the number of deaths and the true rate of cases could be as much as 30 times higher than reported. The country has a shortage of beds, oxygen, and other essentials due to a failure to adequately prepare for a new surge. Not surprisingly, the Indian government has moved to crackdown on criticism. This included a call to Twitter to censor such information and Twitter has, of course, complied. With the support of many Democratic leaders in the United States, Twitter now regularly censors viewpoints in the United States and India had no trouble in enlisting it to crackdown on those raising the alarm over the government handling of the crisis. Continue reading “Twitter Admits To Censoring Criticism of The Indian Government”
There is an extraordinary case out of British Columbia where a father referenced as CD was arrested after he continued to refer to his biological 14-year-old daughter (known as AB) as “she” and his “daughter” after he transitioned to a male gender. The Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada ordered that the child receive testosterone injections without obtaining parental consent. CD opposed the transition as the parent but he was overruled after physicians at BC Children’s Hospital who decided the girl should receive testosterone injections. The father continued to defy gag orders, including a bar on his trying to persuade with his own child to wait before making such a change. Continue reading “Father Arrested After Continuing To Call His Child “She” After Court-Ordered Gender Transition Treatments”
After a two year long impasse, the Iraqi Parliament enacted law recompensing Yazidi and other similarly stationed ethnic groups for the genocide and other crimes against humanity they suffered at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It is hard to imagine how any human being could be made whole after having suffered such inhumanity prosecuted against these people. The Iraqi Government does deserve praise for making a credible and genuine effort to afford them a promise of compensation and opportunities to earn a more promising and just future within their country and society in general.
Iraqi President Barham Salih tweeted the legislation, “is a victory for the victims [and] our daughters who have been subjected to the most heinous violations and crimes of ISIS genocide.”
The law provides recognition by the Iraqi Government of the genocide, which up until then was only officially so by the Kurdistan Regional Government in the North.
We have been following assaults on academic freedom not just in the United States in recent years but abroad in recent years. This includes a researcher in Sweden who recently stopped Covid research after a harassment campaign due to his findings of the low risk poised by children returning to school. In South Korea, another such battle is waging over a publication by J. Mark Ramseyer, the Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, suggesting that Korean “comfort women” from World War II were likely contracted, not forced, by the Japanese military. It is a theory that is understandably outrageous and hurtful for many. Ramseyer’s writings have been denounced and even cities like Philadelphia have passed condemnations of his work. What is more concerning is the effort to fire Ramseyer or bar the publication that ran his theory. Now South Korean faculty who stood up for academic freedom are being targeted, even though they did not write in support of Ramseyer’s theory as opposed to his right to publish his views. Continue reading “American and South Korean Professors Fight For Academic Freedom In Controversy Over “Comfort Women” Publications”
We have been discussing erosion of free speech and academic freedom protections at colleges and universities around the United States. Most faculty have been conspicuously silent as their colleagues are attacked, suspended, or even fired for taking opposing views on systemic racism, police brutality, or movements like Black Lives Matter. In Sweden, the response has been quite different after Professor Jonas Ludvigsson, announced that he would stop all further research on Covid-19 after a campaign of abuse and harassment following his study on the low threat that the virus poses to children and teachers. The country is ramping up protections for academics to combat such cancelling campaigns.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reportedly issued a fatwa to deal with a rising threat against the stability and morality of the Islamic Republic: all cartoon and animated women must wear hijabs. It is not clear if Khamenei will also create a cartoon version of Iran’s thuggish morality police, the Gasht-e Ershad, to pursue such “women” in the virtual streets of cartoons. Continue reading “Looney Tunes: Supreme Leader Issues Fatwa To Require Cartoon Women To Wear Hijabs”
An Australian professor of “moral psychology” used Twitter to call for the death of Trump supporters. Neither Twitter nor his colleagues objected to Macquarie University Associate Professor Mark Alfano calling for “more of this please” after reading that a Trump supporter died in the recent Capitol Hill riot. He also called such deaths “comedy.” He is not the first academic to call for such violence or defend killings. We previously discussed Rhode Island Professor Erik Loomis who writes for the site Lawyers, Guns, and Money and declared that he saw “nothing wrong” with the killing of a conservative protester. (A view defended by other academics). Other professors have simply called for all “Republicans to suffer.” What is striking is that such views are neither barred by Twitter nor, according to a conservative site that broke this story, denounced at his university. For my part, I have always maintained an Internet originalist position on free speech opposing censorship, so I would prefer that these academics not be banned. However, there is a stark contrast in how such views are treated by both social media companies and universities. Likewise, there is legitimate condemnation of the social media statements of figures like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and many QAnon figures, but virtually nothing on figures voicing extremist views on the left in the mainstream media or academia.
Montreal’s McGill University is the latest school facing an attack on free speech and academic freedom. We have followed efforts to fire professors who hold opposing views on police abuse or the Black Lives Matter organization. At McGill, eight student groups have gone further. They want to rescind the emeritus status of a retired professor to retroactively punish him for opposing their views. Professor Philip Carl Salzman is a well-known anthropologist with an impressive record of publications and recognitions. However, students are demanding the rare action to “protect and legitimize racist and Islamophobic dialogues.” They further declare in an open letter that free speech “does not exist outside of its social context” and that it has been shown to be “dictated by whiteness.” Continue reading ““Free Speech Does Not Exist Outside Of Its Social Context”: McGill Student Groups Seek To Strip Professor Of Emeritus Status”
Zhang Zhan, 37, is a citizen journalist who reported on the early evidence of a pandemic in Wuhan. In its latest abuse of basic human rights, the Chinese regime has sentenced Zhang to four years in prison for her courageous reporting. She was reportedly convicted under the absurd criminal allegation that she was “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”
Saudi Arabia added to its list of human rights abuses this week with the sentencing of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul. I have previously written about the inspiring courage and commitment of Saudi feminists, but al-Hathloul is a standout even among that group. She has tirelessly fought for simple rights like the ability to drive in a kingdom that continues to deprive women, religious minorities, journalists, and others basic protections. She was reportedly tortured by the Saudi government, a signature of the blood-soaked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Now she has been sentenced to five years in prison. Continue reading “Feminist Activist Sentenced To Five Years For Endangering National Security”