By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
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.
Continue reading “Iraqi Parliament Enacts Recompense Law for Yazidi Genocide Victims”
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.
Continue reading “Sweden Moves To Protect Academic Freedom After Professor Quits Covid Research Due To Harassment”
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.
Continue reading ““More Of This Please”: Professor Calls For The Death of Trump Supporters”
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.”
Continue reading ““Picking Quarrels And Provoking Trouble”: China Sentences Journalist Who Reported On Covid-19 To Four Years in Prison”
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”
We previously discussed the unrelenting drumbeat of censorship on the Internet from Democratic leaders, including President-elect Joe Biden. This growing campaign against free speech is continuing to grow despite the hearing yesterday when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that the company wrongly blocked the New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s influence peddling before the election. There was no acknowledgement from the many academics or politicians who supported the action by Twitter. Instead, Democratic senators called for more such censorship. Continue reading “Twitter CEO Admits Censoring The Hunter Biden Story Was “Wrong” . . . Democrats Call For More Censorship”
Last night, Fox News reported that the laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden was subpoenaed last year by the FBI in a money laundering investigation. While the status and the targets of the investigations are unknown, the subpoena would appear to support the fact that these emails are authentic and that the laptop was Biden’s. While House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and roughly 50 “intelligence experts” have assured the public that this is just Russian disinformation, both the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence have now confirmed that they do not believe the laptop and its contents are Russian disinformation. Now it appears that the laptop was viewed as sufficiently connected to possible federal crimes to be subpoenaed as evidence by the FBI a year ago. Continue reading “Biden Laptop Was Subpoenaed By The FBI in 2019 As Part Of A Money Laundering Investigation”
Recently, we discussed how House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff stated publicly that the recently disclosed laptop information from Hunter Biden was clearly part of a Russian intelligence operation. Schiff said that “we know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin.” This morning, John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, stated categorically that Hunter Biden’s laptop was not part of a Russian disinformation campaign. What is most notable is that Ratcliffe has stated that Schiff and his Committee have not been given any intelligence to support Schiff’s conclusion. The incident has raised lingering criticism of Schiff who previously told the public that he had clear evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia after that allegation was rejected in repeated investigations, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Schiff never produced the incriminating evidence and later it was shown that the widely cited Steele dossier was based on a source who was considered to be a Russian agent. Continue reading “Schiff v. Ratcliffe: DNI Reports That Hunter Biden’s Laptop Is Not Believed To Be Part Of A Russian Disinformation Campaign”
As many on this blog know, I have been a long and vocal critic of Louis Farrakhan, who regularly espouses racist and antisemitic views. Coming from Chicago, I have criticized Farrakhan for years, including recent posts. Nevertheless, the move by YouTube to remove the video channel of the Nation of Islam is in my view another example of private censorship of speech on the Internet. Many of us have denounced Farrakhan, but censorship begins with the most unpopular and obnoxious among us. This action places the Internet on the slippery slope where more and more speech is likely to be banned as offensive or hateful. Continue reading “YouTube Reportedly Shuts Down Farrakhan And The Nation Of Islam”
I recently wrote about law professors who embraced Chinese censorship on the Internet as a mind-blowing contradiction for intellectuals. However, China has done one better. A school textbook changes a critical story in the Bible to support the authoritarian rule of the Communist Party. In the Chinese version of the story from The Gospel of John, Jesus still stops people from stoning a woman to death but when they leave, he then stones her to death because . . . well . . . she deserved it and that is the law. Fortunately, Jesus did not appear to make any direct reference to rendering Hong Kong unto Beijing.
Continue reading “Jesus The Stoner? Chinese Textbook Changes Biblical Account To Suggest Divine Support For Communist Rule”