The New York Times's chilling multimedia package on China's use of "smart city" tech to create an open-air prison

One of my mottoes is that the important thing about tech isn't what it does, it's who it does it to, and who it does it for; this is especially important in discussions of "smart city" tech, which can easily be turned to systems of population-scale surveillance, control and oppression. Read the rest

Fear that far-right terrorists will stage attacks if Brexit is canceled

The world's law enforcement agencies have a terrible blind spot when it comes to far-right, white supremacist terror groups, treating them as unimportant lone wolves despite their prolific and bloody acts of violence. Read the rest

Trump chose a thin-skinned, blowhard ignoramus as ambassador to Germany, and now no one will talk to him except Nazis

In many ways, Richard Grenell was the perfect pick for Trump's ambassador to Germany: a longtime Fox News pundit and John Bolton protege whose vanity and narcissism cause him to lash out constantly (and undiplomatically) at the nation he's meant to be charming, and whose thin-skinned insecurity sends him into spirals of misery and approval-seeking a the first hint of criticism. Read the rest

Lawsuit: US citizen suing CBP for coercing him into unlocking his phone during boarding at LAX

Haisam Elsharkawi is a US citizen of Egyptian descent who was travelling to Mecca in 2017 when he was pulled out the boarding line for his flight from LAX by CBP agents who demanded that he unlock his phones; when he refused and asked for a lawyer, he was handcuffed and taken to an interrogation room where he was questioned and bullied until he unlocked his phones; the CBP officers spent 15 minutes paging through his emails, making snarky remarks about his Amazon purchase history and how many unread emails he had, and then let him go. Read the rest

TSA racially profiles Muslim woman, makes her show her bloody sanitary towel

Harvard grad student Zainab Merchant is detained and invasively searched every time she flies; she's tried extensively to end this harassment, applying for Global Entry and Precheck, writing to her members of Congress, and trying to run through the DHS's Redress procedure. Read the rest

Chinese spies force US-based Uighurs into "voluntary" surveillance by threatening their families in China

The Chinese state crackdown on the predominantly Muslim Uighur minority -- involving the imprisonment and torture of upwards of a million people in brainwashing camps -- isn't limited to China itself. Read the rest

China is sending its ethnic minorities to torture camps to be brainwashed out of Islam

During the Cultural Revolution, millions of dissidents (and those suspected of dissidence) were sent to "re-education camps" where torture and slave labor were augmented by marathon "self-criticism" sessions where prisoners would have to engage in prolonged recitations and disavowals of their heresies. Read the rest

Bavaria says its mandatory crosses aren't religious, so there should be no problem hanging them upside-down, right?

Bavaria's far-right, Islamophobic government enacted its Kreuzpflicht ("cross obligation") law, which mandates that every government building must display a Christian cross, and finessed this violation of Germany's legally enforced separation of church and state by claiming the crosses were "cultural," not "religious" and by saying that each building "should hang up the cross as they think best." Read the rest

Individual FBI agents can be sued for blackmailing potential informants with no-fly list threats

It's been three years since the filing of a suit against the FBI after agents put several Muslims on the No Fly list to retaliate against their refusal to be conscripted as a confidential informants spying on other Muslims; the FBI's illegal retaliation cost their victims their jobs, subjected them to harassment, and cut them off from visits to family overseas. Read the rest

Ontario town councillor posted racial slur to Facebook then claimed his account was hacked and asked IT to wipe his hard-drive

Don Cardy is a town councillor in Brant County, Ontario; on August 29, 2017, late at night, Cardy replied to a post in Arabic with a two-word post: "Fucking raghead." Read the rest

Data shows young people are free speech advocates, but mainstream support for censoring "anti-American" speech is rising

America's right-leaning pundit class is really worried that young people, especially students, have become "illiberal" and "intolerant" of free speech because they heckle and protest the likes of Richard Spencer. Read the rest

Trump tweets islamophobic video from far-right British criminal

Donald Trump retweeted anti-muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of far-right political group Britain First — and a criminal convicted of racially aggravated harassment who is currently facing more hate crimes charges in the UK.

The group, so reviled even prominent Trump supporters were critical of his choice to promote them, was made famous after a member assassinated MP Jo Cox, shrieking the party's name as he shot and stabbed her to death.

The group's leader, Paul Golding, was jailed after a series of "Mosque invasions" staged to intimidate UK muslims.

One of the video purports to depict a "Muslim immigrant" attacking a disabled Dutch boy, but local media reported that the attacker was neither. The other videos purportedly depict a Muslim man smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary and an "Islamist" mob beating that was actually filmed during Egypt's 2011 revolution.

“GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP! GOD BLESS YOU AMERICA!” wrote Fransen after Trump retweeted her to his 44 million followers.

Fransen was convicted of aggravated harassment after accosting a Muslim mother-of-four on the streets during a "Christian Patrol." She was arrested again two weeks ago following a fascist rally and charged with "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour," with a hearing scheduled at Belfast Magistrates' Court on 14 December.

Read the rest

Man who created islamophobic children's book with Pepe the frog ordered by court to give profits to Muslim charity

In 2006 Matt Furie introduced a "blissfully stoned frog" named Pepe in a comic book called Boy's Club. But in recent years Pepe got appropriated by the alt-right as a racist icon, prompting the Anti-Defamation League to designate Pepe as a hate symbol.

Furie has hired intellectual property lawyers to defend his creation against misuse by racists, and he is winning. His latest victory is against Eric Hauser, author of an Islamophobic book for kids called Adventures of Pepe and Pede, which has a villainous bearded alligator named Alkah, and a place called Kek Cliff.

From Motherboard:

Matt Furie, the creator of Pepe the Frog, struck back against a self-published children's book that depicted Pepe as an Islamophobic, alt-right champion on a mission to make his farm great again.

Thanks to Louis Tompros and Don Steinberg — intellectual property lawyers at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP — Furie has reached a settlement with The Adventures of Pepe and Pede author Eric Hauser. That settlement prevents further sale of the book and forces Hauser to donate all profits to a Muslim-American advocacy group.

Hauser will donate the $1,521.54 in profits from the book to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"As this action shows, Furie will aggressively enforce his intellectual property, using legal action if necessary, to end the misappropriation of Pepe the Frog in any way that espouses racism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Nazism, or any other form of hate," a release from the WilmerHale law firm said. Read the rest

Norwegian Islamophobes mistake bus-seat-covers for burkhas, go bonkers

Members of the Norwegian Facebook group "Fedrelandet viktigst" ("Fatherland first") mistook a photo of an empty bus whose seats had been draped with black covers for a bus full of women in burkhas and went Brevik-bananas, decrying the rampant Islamification of Norway and generally being easily frightened, fragile Aryans. Read the rest

An absurd and awful moment in Switzerland's legendarily bonkers citizenship process

When I was becoming a British citizen, the one thing everyone knew was that the Life in the UK citizenship test was full of weird, arbitrary questions that most Britons couldn't answer, but next to Switzerland, the British process seems downright sane. Read the rest

How Hollywood manufactures a Muslim menace

In her new series The FREQ Show, Anita Sarkeesian digs into insidious, pervasive Hollywood stereotypes about Muslims and Arabs, and how those stereotypes fuel real-world Islamophobia. As Sarkeesian puts it:

To so many Americans, people in the Middle East have never been established as human beings with real lives, hopes, dreams, and struggles. When almost every story you’ve ever seen about a particular part of the world paints the people who live there as monolithic, evil, and scary, you’re a lot more likely to believe that it’s actually true.

And it’s not just fictional representation that’s a problem. According to a study by University of Illinois professor Travis Dixon that analyzed 146 episodes of TV news programing between 2008 and 2012, 81 percent of the terrorist suspects discussed on TV news were Muslim. In real life, however, Muslims accounted for just 6 percent of actual FBI terrorist suspects during that time period.

Read the rest

Racist border policies mean Toronto school board will no longer allow trips to Trump's USA

Toronto high-school students have been visiting the USA since their inception; I remember my own high-school trips to Buffalo's Albright Knox gallery warmly. But they are a relic of the past, because the Toronto District School Board will not risk harassment and worse of its students at the US border, where people born to Arab or Muslim families, or in majority-Muslim families, report widespread discrimination. Read the rest

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