A Domestic Attack on Free Speech?

Warren Kinsella ("a highly inexperienced political staffer" – Justice John Gomery) is suing Ottawa blogger Mark Bourrie for libel over an ambiguously worded post that Kinsella claims was damaging.  Whatever.  It really looks like WK just wants this guy to stop pointing at him and reminding Canadians that this pseudo-punk lawyer was close to those that were involved in wrongdoing . 

You can follow the libel suit from the defendant’s view at Ottawa Watch: Warren Kinsella Sues for One Hundred Bazillion Dollars*.

Following from my previous post about the attack on free speech from the overreaction to the Danish cartoons, it now looks like Canadian free speech is under attack from a low-life lobbyist who likes to dish it out plenty but can’t take it when it comes back at him, hence his choice to resort to a libel suit. 

As usual, Captain’s Quarters has an excellent summary of this story – I wish I had more time to do a better job; but I’ll try to watch this punk’s attack on a fellow blogger closely.  I hope the plaintiff loses and is successfully counter-sued.

The Home Front

Continuing the theme from my previous post Denmark, Canada and Islam.  I see that the Western Standard has decided to print a selection of the offending cartoons in a forthcoming issue.  I listened to an interview given by the publisher of the magazine and it seemed clear that his stance is one of reporting a newsworthy event.  My reaction – GOOD JOB!

However, it seems that not everyone shares my opinion, The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada has announced today that they will seek prosecution against the magazine for promoting hate speech.  Before they have even been published.  Now that is getting your retaliation in first.  So here we are, in western Canada fighting the immoderate and intemperate radical Islamists for the right to free speech.  Enough already. 

I will be keeping a close eye on the Islamist reaction here and will make a point of trying to attend any protests, camera in hand to see just what sort of images I can get.  Perhaps some like this of actual ‘hate speech’ would serve to make a point (click the thumbnails for larger images).

We are in a cultural war now, it seems that there is no moderation from the other side and a fundamental tenet of democracy is under direct attack – the right to free speech.  Remember that much western blood has been spilled over the centuries to get us to the point at which we find ourselves today – the right to vote and determine our own governments, the right to live freely and make decisions as citizens and consumers, the right to privacy, the right to dissent without fear of reprisals.  All of these could equally come under attack as the right to free speech.

Now for the question of our times – are we prepared to defend these hard won rights or will we allow them to be stripped from us by a dangerous mixture of fear and political correctness?  It’s a question worth asking – and early signs are not encouraging – just look at this range of quotes from people I normally file in the ‘should know better column’:

Jack Straw, UK Foreign Secretary, shows an acute understanding of dhimmitude:

"I believe that the republication of these cartoons has been insulting, it has been insensitive, it has been disrespectful and it has been wrong". He praised the British press, which up to yesterday had not published the cartoons, for showing "considerable responsibility and sensitivity".

John Howard, Australian PM inserts a big BUT into a sentence where it should be redundant:

""I think if we’re serious about respecting all religions we’ve got to do so – but in the end we should not try to use the law to stop those things being published and we call on newspapers editors to exercise their discretion"

Heinz Fischer, President of Austria also falls prey to the appeasing ‘BUT’:

"It is important that we speak with one voice on this issue in the European Union, uphold our common values but also make an effort toward de-escalation,"

The BBC who decided in their wisdom that this entire episode is a ‘row’.  Now I have been involved in a few ‘rows’ but I am quite certain that my reaction was not to torch a few embassies or to call for the beheading of the opposite arguer.

And of course there are those reactions I file under the ‘wouldn’t know what was the right thing to do if you gave them a map’ column:

Kofi Annan, head of the morally bankrupt UN:

"I cannot understand why any editor will publish cartoons at this time which inflames and pours oil on the fire."

CNN, the news organization that sold out to Saddam in order that they could keep their Baghdad office open:

"Muslims consider it sacrilegious to produce a likeness of the Prophet Mohammad. CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons in respect for Islam."

Some of these reactions are an exercise in cowardly behaviour, others like Kofi Annan’s display such astounding ignorance that you maybe want to give him the benefit of the doubt of his other lapses like the Oil For Fraud program.  Well, that is taking it too far maybe, but you see my point.

I have no such qualms as CNN’s sudden sensibilities, nor do I possess the ‘considerable responsibility’ of the UK press.  So, at the risk of having hordes of outraged Canadian flag burners show up for a little beheading action over the weekend here is what the fuss is about (click for larger image):

Pitiful isn’t it – that millions of muslims can be dragged out into the streets by a bunch of radical imams over these images.  Do you ever see protests on this scale against maybe more pressing issues like suicide bombers?  Nope. 

Until we see equal rage and ‘concern’ from ‘moderate muslims’ over the radical elements of Islam destroying its global reputation and sullying the name of the prophet with violence I refuse to give the rumour of moderate muslim sentiment much credence.  I suggest that if ‘moderate muslims’ wish to prove that they are not in fact ‘radical-lite’ that they get into the streets and protest against those radical elements doing so much damage to their image.  But I’m not holding my breath.

The war of cultures, the war against terrorism has come to the home front – what are you going to do about it?  We all have a horse in this race, its time to choose who you want to win it.

The gratuitous bayonet goes to the Calgary independent store that has decided not to sell the issue of the Western Standard featuring the cartoons.  Cowardly dhimmitude in action.  Pathetic.

There are far more comprehensive and detailed posts to read in the blogosphere, please follow the links below to read further:

Captains Quarters

Powerline

Michelle Malkin

LGF

Denmark, Canada and Islam

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, it is impossible to have missed the current uproar over some cartoons of Mohamed.  Civil unrest, rioting and now embassy burnings are the issue du jour for huge swaths of the muslim world.  Over cartoons.

The current level of protest has easily surpassed any outrage witnessed over Abu Ghraib, The Satanic Verses or the invasion of Iraq.  Over cartoons.

You have to wonder at the scale of the protests, and also the sudden and stunning availability of flammable Danish flags across the muslim world.  I live in a large Canadian city, yet I suspect that even if I emptied every store of their Danish flag stock that I could manage even a few dozen.  So where did they all come from?  I’d like to see the credit card statements for some imams – I bet their Al-Amazon bills are pretty big, unless they got some kind of bulk discount.  Maybe there is a handy website where your average muslim extremist can get quick supplies?  ‘flammable-flags-of-the-world.com’ maybe?  Who knows.  I’m guessing that somewhere in China or India there are factories adding shifts to the Danish lines right now trying to keep up with demand.

Now let us compare and contrast this current cartoon anger with another Danish indiscretion, the actual invasion of Canadian sovereign territory in 2002 of Hans Island.  This disputed chunk of rock was visited by a Danish warship and a few troops hopped off, wandered around and planted a Danish flag on this Canadian rock.  Yes, Canada was invaded by the Danes. 

Do you recall the cross-Canada riots and outrage?  Remember the pictures from Toronto of residents dropping their morning Timbits and pouring Carlsberg into the city sewers, waving their Ecco’s and renaming Danish pastries ‘Freedom Pastries’?  No, because it just didn’t happen.  What did happen wasn’t much – poor Bill Graham got sent up to the rock to symbolically set foot on Canadian soil and a few diplomatic exchanges took place.  That was it.  And that was a bona fide, no-kidding actual territorial invasion.  I think it trumps a cartoon.  Or twelve.

Now it is possible that Canada could have gotten all Falklands about it, except for the small matter of not having any ice-breakers that could make the trip for 6 months.  And the likelihood that our armed forces were undergoing some French immersion and sensitivity training and were therefore unavailable for an actual conflict at the time.  So that’s moot.  But did Canadians get uppity?  Even a little cross?  Not really.

So, once more into parody my friends.  The Islamic world burns on the news channels over cartoons that were drawn to illustrate that perhaps the Religion of Peace isn’t in fact peaceful.  You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. 

The worst part of the entire episode isn’t that cartoons were drawn, or that muslims are more than a little upset, but that a good number of western politicians and people that should know better are bending backwards to appease the violent haters currently burning embassies.  Welcome to the world of dhimmitude.  What happened to defending a free press?  Or perhaps shining a reasoned light of perspective on the matter?  No, it is easier to apologise and appease than stand up for western values.

The ceremonial bayonetting goes today to those western leaders and figures that are in great need of a spine transplant – they should be ashamed for bowing before the great intolerant multitude that really needs to get a grip.

Update: Looks like some Imam decided to make this happen, and added a few non-published cartoons into the mix.  Details.

Update#2: Michelle Malkin has a great round-up and commentary on the topic here

Update#3: The Mudville Gazette has more on the Cartoon War.