A Stanford professor who sued a critic and a scientific journal for $10 million — then dropped the suit — has been ordered to pay the defendants’ legal fees based on a statute “designed to provide for early dismissal of meritless lawsuits filed against people for the exercise of First Amendment rights.”
Mark Jacobson, who studies renewable energy at Stanford, sued in September 2017 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for defamation over a 2017 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that critiqued a 2015 article he had written in the same journal. He sued PNAS and the first author of the paper, Christopher Clack, an executive at a firm that analyzes renewable energy.
Many years ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at Tsinghua University, considered one of the best educational institutions in China. I was impressed as faculty at the university struggled to remain intellectually active under the repressive controls of the Communist regime. It is a perilous existence as academics fear that they will write anything that annoys the government. Now, one of the best known law professors in China, Xu Zhangrun, has been arrested. Xu predicted the crackdown after he recently wrote a piece criticizing the government’s response to the coronavirus. His colleagues have been forced into silence at the risk of their own arrest. The arrest comes at a time when many are concerned about the loss of free speech in this country, not by the government but private companies and universities. I have chastised faculty around the country for their silence in the face of the increasing intolerance for opposing views on campuses and actions against professors raising dissenting views of the current protests. Indeed, many have joined in the call for such punitive measures. Xu is an example of the courage that academics in places like China have shown in the face of imminent threats to their liberty and even their lives.
Xu has been under house arrest and was taken away from his Beijing home on Monday. He has shown amazing courage in speaking out against the totalitarianism of China’s current leader, Xi Jinping. Reports indicate that he may have been charged with soliciting prostitution while in the city of Chengdu with other liberal academics. The charge is being ridiculed as absurd by many, particularly when Xu knew he was under continued surveillance.
Police seized all of this computers and records, a further indication of the true motive behind the arrest.
Xu was prevented from teaching due to his dissenting views at Tsinghua University. When he wrote about the coronavirus, he stated that it would likely be his last column.
He was right.
Xu is an inspiration for everyone who believes in free speech and academic freedom. His is also a cautionary tale of the ultimate costs of how speech regulation quickly becomes retaliation for those with dissenting views on campuses. Such dangers are not confined to totalitarian nations. Intolerance to free speech can have the same chilling effect in this country as professors watch colleagues put under investigation or subjected to campaigns for their termination over unpopular views. Even journalists have been forced out for allowing opposing views to be heard.
We fortunately do not face the totalitarianism of China. However, free speech and academic freedom are also under attack in this country. As an academy, we need to rally around Xu as well as the principles that he has steadfastly defended for all academics in being to voice dissenting views and values.
In addition to r/TheDonald, Reddit will also be removing
r/ChapoTrapHouse and over 2,000 other channels from their platform.
Reddit is sanitizing their platform before this year’s U.S. general
election, and they are making sure information is as tightly controlled
as possible. They are doing this supposedly at the behest of Black Lives
Matter activists who complained that Reddit was not doing enough to
censor the voices of their opposition.
“I have to admit that I’ve struggled with balancing my values as an
American, and around free speech and free expression, with my values and
the company’s values around common human decency,” Reddit CEO Steve
Huffman said in a call with reporters.
Sweden has been steeped in political correctness for decades; its failed immigration policies, which have had multiple negative consequences, as reported by Gatestone Institute, have long been taboo. The idea that free speech is not a fundamental liberty
Source: The Corporate Thought Police
The Dutch Parliament has landed in an untenable legislative cul-de-sac with its version of the Copyright Directive.
By Cory Doctorov and cross-posted from Electronic Frontier Foundation.
With the passage of last year’s Copyright Directive, the EU demanded that member states pass laws that reduce copyright infringement by internet users while also requiring that they safeguard the fundamental rights of users (such as the right to free expression) and also the limitations to copyright. These safeguards must include protections for the new EU-wide exemption for commentary and criticism. Meanwhile states are also required to uphold the GDPR, which safeguards users against mass, indiscriminate surveillance, while somehow monitoring everything every user posts to decide whether it infringes copyright.
Serving these goals means that when EU member states … will have to decide to give more weight to some parts of the Directive, and that courts would have to figure out…
… First came France’s disastrous proposal, which “balanced” … by simply ignoring those public rights.
Now, the Dutch Parliament has landed…, proposing a Made-in-Holland version of the Copyright Directive that omits:
- Legally sufficient protections for users unjustly censored due to false accusations of copyright infringement;
- Legally sufficient protection for users whose work makes use of the mandatory, statutory exemptions for parody and criticism;
- A ban on “general monitoring”— that is, continuous, mass surveillance;
- Legally sufficient protection for “legitimate uses” of copyright works.
A little over a week after getting blacklisted by Visa simply for
being associated with Gab, a social media alternative that’s committed
to the principles of free speech, Andrew Torba, Gab’s CEO, has just
spoken out for the first time via a blog post detailing his experiences.
His account is almost shocking in that, as Torba argues, it shows that
US corporations like Visa have started to create their own version of
China’s “social credit score” metric in the US.
If you’re deemed “politically incorrect”, you will be silenced, fired
and harassed by major corporations, journalists and “activists” who
claim to be committed to social justice and equality. As Torba explains,
because he refuses to censor hate speech on his platform in keeping
with his commitment to making Gab a censorship-free platform, Visa has
targeted him, and accused him of “breaking the law” – even though “hate
speech” is protected under the First Amendment.
Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator at RT.
“Free speech driven” social network Parler is being smeared as a
“far right” cesspool as a Twitter crackdown drives conservative signups
– even as its new users include milquetoast Republican politicians like
Ted Cruz.Like Gab before it, Parler
has attracted celebrity Twitter and Facebook rejects, lured by the
promise of a censor-free experience, and a flood of users eager to
interact with their banned idols – or just to express themselves without
fear of deplatforming. And the market for alternative platforms is
booming – Parler’s app was the second-most-popular download in the App
Store’s News category as of Thursday.
Some 500,000 users reportedly joined
the platform after Twitter, following in the footsteps of Facebook and
stepping up its ideologically-motivated censorship, banned conservative
meme-maker Carpe Donktum and locked National Pulse editor Raheem
Kassam’s account on Tuesday.
Also on rt.com
Twitter needs Trump more than Trump needs Twitter: Why @realDonaldTrump should do a Joe Rogan to punish the social media giant
On Tuesday, Twitter banned Cook – who said in a blog post that it was over a ‘the Toddler video that President Trump tweeted last week.” Cook received a DCMA takedown order, followed by a letter of suspension hours later.
“Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” Twitter told the Daily Beast. “The account was permanently suspended for repeated violations of this policy.”
The impact of Cook’s suspenion did not go unnoticed by The Federalist‘s Mollie Hemmingway, who considers it election interference.
Twitter ramps up 2020 election interference by banning masterful meme maker Carpe Donktum https://t.co/O8UbUEjj3e
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) June 24, 2020
Why? Because Cook’s memes are hilarious, widely shared, and fire up conservatives.
“We’ve been warning for years about the kind of silencing and de-platforming efforts that we’ve seen happen in American academia,” Domenech said.
Federalist Co-founder and Publisher Ben Domenech said on Fox News’ “MediaBuzz” Sunday that conservatives have been warning about the kind of online censorship the website faced last week for years after Google tried to demonetize the online magazine based on reports from a left-wing reporter.
“We’ve been warning for years about the kind of silencing and de-platforming efforts that we’ve seen happen in American academia,” Domenech said. “Now as expected, that has migrated into the halls of the most powerful media corporations and in the case of Google, the most powerful company in the world.”
According to a report by Natalie Winters, Twitter announced that China used approximately 200,000 fake accounts to meddle in American politics.
These numbers are in stark contrast to Russia, which had less than 1,200 accounts. Because Russia is the Left’s new boogieman, China’s overwhelming presence in American internal affairs is overlooked.
This news was published on June 11, 2020 after a revealing Mediaite report illuminated the extent that fake accounts were involved on Twitter.
Twitter published the information in a report titled, “Disclosing networks of state-linked information operations we’ve removed.”
The report details how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) used two methods of targeting Twitter users through the use of Chinese propaganda, which Winters detailed:
- 23,750 accounts that comprise the core of the network, e.g. the highly engaged core network;
- Approximately 150,000 accounts that were designed to boost this content, e.g. the amplifiers. Based on feedback from researchers on our prior disclosures that we need to better refine the disclosure process to enable efficient investigation of the core activity, we have not included the 150,000 amplifier accounts in the public archive.
Twitter highlighted how these pro-Chinese accounts were “involved in a range of manipulative and coordinated activities” and “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China (CCP), while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong.”
Witners called attention to how these actions followed the spirit of a decree that Xi Jinping issued in 2016 which called for robust propaganda efforts “wherever the readers are, wherever the viewers are.”
The report highlighted how Russia’s activities were confined to “1,152 accounts and associated media” involved in “promoting the United Russia party and attacking political dissidents.”
It’s abundantly clear that China poses a larger threat to the U.S. than Russia. The Cold War is over, and while China has reformed a bit, it still has aspirations of dominating the globe at America’s expense.
In a saner political climate, the U.S. would be using realpolitik to strategically align itself with Russia as a means of checking Chinese influence. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world thanks to the neoliberal and neoconservative consensus that dominates D.C.