www.theguardian.com

Ahmadullah Wasiq #fundie #sexist theguardian.com

Afghan women, including the country’s women’s cricket team, will be banned from playing sport under the new Taliban government, according to an official in the hardline Islamist group

In an interview with the Australian broadcaster SBS, the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said women’s sport was considered neither appropriate nor necessary

“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket,” Wasiq said. “In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this

“It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed”

Unnamed Pakistani prosecutor and rioters #fundie #psycho theguardian.com

An eight-year-old Hindu boy is being held in protective police custody in east Pakistan after becoming the youngest person ever to be charged with blasphemy in the country

The boy’s family is in hiding and many of the Hindu community in the conservative district of Rahim Yar Khan, in Punjab, have fled their homes after a Muslim crowd attacked a Hindu temple after the boy’s release on bail last week. Troops were deployed to the area to quell any further unrest
[…]
The boy is accused of intentionally urinating on a carpet in the library of a madrassa, where religious books were kept, last month. Blasphemy charges can carry the death penalty
[…]
Blasphemy charges filed against a child have shocked legal experts, who say the move is unprecedented. No one this young has ever been charged with blasphemy before in Pakistan

Blasphemy laws have been disproportionately used in the past against religious minorities in Pakistan. Although no blasphemy executions have been carried out in the country since the death penalty was introduced for the crime in 1986, suspects are often attacked and sometimes killed by mobs

Matthias Cicotte #fundie #racist #transphobia #wingnut #psycho theguardian.com

The Guardian has identified an Alaska assistant attorney general as a supporter of the Mormon-derived extremist group the Deseret nationalists who has posted a series of racist, antisemitic and homophobic messages on social media
[…]
Matthias Cicotte, whose job means he works as the chief corrections counsel for Alaska’s attorney general, has acted for the department of law in a number of civil rights cases
[…]
In 2016, the account sent a tweet evoking a past time when “real history was taught in school, angry yentas didn’t rule, white men didn’t play the fool”
[…]
In a March tweet, JReubenCIark claimed that accusations of racism were “purely a tool to control people on the right”
[…]
On 15 June last year, he riffed on a catchphrase of the so-called Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, tweeting: “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its Consequences Have Been a Disaster for the Human Race”
[…]
He tweeted: “Is it ‘white supremacy’ to note that some racial groups have higher IQs than others based on IQ tests? I believe that and I am only a Deseret supremacist”
[…]
On 25 June last year he wrote: “I can’t believe there’s a faithful Latter-day Saint out there who can look at the collapse of birthrates among the Latter-day Saints and say, ‘Well, hey, at least lots of Catholic Mexicans are coming to the US’”
[…]
Discussing an incident in Provo, Utah, in which a man appeared to drive his car into a crowd of BLM protesters, he remarked: “No one had a right to block his car. You all belong in jail”
[…]
Responding to news of a Drag Time Story Hour event in Long Beach, California, Cicotte wrote: “This demon should be burned to death and everyone responsible for that library event should be in prison”
[…]
JReubenCIark concluded a thread on how best to respond to the left’s characterizations of conservatives with the remark: “If brute violence is the only way to be free of them, what do they expect us to do?”

War on Women Award

Ohio Republicans #fundie #sexist theguardian.com

Ohio bill orders doctors to ‘reimplant ectopic pregnancy’ or face 'abortion murder' charges

Ohio introduces one of the most extreme bills to date for a procedure that does not exist in medical science

A bill to ban abortion introduced in the Ohio state legislature requires doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” into a woman’s uterus – a procedure that does not exist in medical science – or face charges of “abortion murder”.

This is the second time practising obstetricians and gynecologists have tried to tell the Ohio legislators that the idea is currently medically impossible.

The move comes amid a wave of increasingly severe anti-abortion bills introduced across much of the country as conservative Republican politicians seek to ban abortion and force a legal showdown on abortion with the supreme court.

Ohio’s move on ectopic pregnancies – where an embryo implants on the mother’s fallopian tube rather than her uterus rendering the pregnancy unviable – is one of the most extreme bills to date.

“I don’t believe I’m typing this again but, that’s impossible,” wrote Ohio obstetrician and gynecologist Dr David Hackney on Twitter. “We’ll all be going to jail,” he said.

An ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition, which can kill a woman if the embryonic tissue grows unchecked.

In addition to ordering doctors to do the impossible or face criminal charges, House Bill 413 bans abortion outright and defines a fertilized egg as an “unborn child”.

It also appears to punish doctors, women and children as young as 13 with “abortion murder” if they “perform or have an abortion”. This crime is punishable by life in prison. Another new crime, “aggravated abortion murder”, is punishable by death, according to the bill.

The bill is sponsored by representatives Candice Keller and Ron Hood, and co-sponsored by 19 members of Ohio’s 99-member House.

Mike Gonidakis, the president of the anti-abortion group Ohio Right to Life, declined to comment on the bill, and said he was still reading the legislation because, it’s “approximately 700 pages long”. He said his office is “taking off the rest of the week for Thanksgiving”.

The Guardian also contacted the Susan B Anthony List, a national anti-abortion organization. The organization did not reply to a request for comment.

Keller, Hood and eight of the bill’s 19 co-sponsors did not reply to requests for comment. The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association also did not reply to a request for comment.

Ohio passed a six-week abortion ban last summer. The “heartbeat bill”, as supporters called it, banned abortion before most women know they are pregnant. Reproductive rights groups immediately sued, and the bill never went into effect. Abortion is legal in all 50 US states.

In May, researcher Dr David Grossman argued reimplanting a fertilized egg or embryo is “pure science fiction” in a Twitter thread that went viral in May, when the bill was first introduced.

“There is no procedure to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy,” said Dr Chris Zahn, vice-president of practice activities at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. “It is not possible to move an ectopic pregnancy from a fallopian tube, or anywhere else it might have implanted, to the uterus,” he said.

“Reimplantation is not physiologically possible. Women with ectopic pregnancies are at risk for catastrophic hemorrhage and death in the setting of an ectopic pregnancy, and treating the ectopic pregnancy can certainly save a mom’s life,” said Zahn.

Sam Nartey George and other Ghanaian MPs #homophobia #transphobia #wingnut theguardian.com

Ghana: anti-gay bill proposing 10-year prison sentences sparks outrage

Draft anti-gay legislation submitted to Ghana’s parliament could propose up to 10 years in jail for LGBTQ+ people as well as groups and individuals who advocate for their rights, express sympathy or offer social or medical support, in one of the most draconian and sweeping anti-gay laws proposed around the world.

Support for intersex people would also be criminalised and the government could direct intersex people to receive “gender realignment” surgery, said the draft legislation.

The prospect of harsh new laws has been hailed by numerous MPs and supported by figures in President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government.

It follows a wave of repression against LGBTQ+ people in the west African country since January this year. In February, a community space offering support for sexual minorities was forced to close amid a backlash from politicians, civil and religious groups and the media, and also led to a rise in arrests and abuse against people perceived to be gay or queer.

On Friday, Sam Nartey George, an MP who has described gay rights as a “perversion” and led a group of lawmakers who drafted the bill, dismissed online condemnation of the bill as “uninformed”.

“Homosexuality is not a human right. It is a sexual preference,” he said in a post on Twitter. “We shall pass this bill through.”

Ghanaian officials have privately sought to allay fears that that the bill will pass.

Among other aspects of the bill that has sparked condemnation, groups or individuals found to be funding groups deemed as advocating for LGBTQ+ rights or offering support could be prosecuted. Marriage would be clearly defined in Ghanaian law as being between a male and female.

Media companies, online platforms and accounts which publish information which could be deemed to encourage children to explore any gender or sex outside of the binary categories of male and female could face 10 years in prison.

Colonel Fawaz al-Maiman, various Twitter users #fundie theguardian.com

Saudi police have arrested a young woman who tweeted a picture of herself outdoors without the body-length robes and head scarf that women in the kingdom are required to wear.

A woman identified as Malak al-Shehri posted a picture of herself on Twitter in a jacket and multi-colored dress last month after announcing that she would leave her house without her abaya, a long loose-fitting robe, and headscarf.

The tweet caused a backlash with many calling for Shehri – whose first name means angel, which was also her moniker online – to be executed with the hashtag “We demand the arrest of the rebel Angel Shehri.”

The picture posted on the downtown Riyadh street of al-Tahliya, led to someone filing a complaint with the religious police, and eventually to the woman’s arrest, according to the local Arabic-language Al-Sharq newspaper.

A police spokesman told the newspaper that Shehri, who is in her 20s, was taken to prison and he also accused her of “speaking openly about prohibited relations with (non-related) men”.

“Police officers have detained a girl who had removed her abaya on al-Tahliya street, implementing a challenge she announced on social media several days ago,” the newspaper quoted Colonel Fawaz al-Maiman as saying.

Police spokesman Maiman reportedly said in a statement that they had acted inline with their duty to monitor “violations of general morals”.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh #fundie theguardian.com

Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti has ruled that chess is forbidden in Islam, saying it encourages gambling and is a waste of time.

Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh was answering a question on a television show in which he issues fatwas in response to viewers’ queries on everyday religious matters.

He said chess was “included under gambling” and was “a waste of time and money and a cause for hatred and enmity between players”.

Sheikh justified the ruling by referring to the verse in the Qur’an banning “intoxicants, gambling, idolatry and divination”. It is not clear when the fatwa was delivered.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s supreme Shia religious authority, has previously issued rulings forbidding chess.

Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock #fundie theguardian.com

Yoga classes do not violate students' religious rights, Californian court rules
Appeals court upholds ruling against lawsuit brought by family who claimed yoga promoted Hinduism and inhibited Christianity.
Yoga taught in a public school is not a gateway to Hinduism and does not violate the religious rights of students or their parents, a California appeals court has ruled.

An appeal court in San Diego upheld a lower court ruling that tossed out a family’s lawsuit that tried to block Encinitas Union school district from teaching yoga as an alternative to traditional gym classes.

“While the practice of yoga may be religious in some contexts, yoga classes as taught in the district are, as the trial court determined, ‘devoid of any religious, mystical, or spiritual trappings,’” the court wrote in a 3-0 opinion.
Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock and their two children had brought the lawsuit claiming yoga promoted Hinduism and inhibited Christianity. They were disappointed with the ruling and considering their options.

“No other court in the past 50 years has allowed public school officials to lead children in formal religious rituals like the Hindu liturgy of praying to, bowing to, and worshipping the sun god,” attorney Dean Broyles said in a statement.

Paul V Carelli IV, a lawyer for the district, said there were no rituals occurring in the classroom and no one was worshipping the sun or leading Hindu rites. The district said the practice was taught in a secular way to promote strength, flexibility and balance.

Yoga is now taught at schools across the US, but the district is believed to be the first with full-time yoga teachers at all schools.

A three-year grant from the KP Jois Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes Ashtanga yoga, provides twice-weekly, 30-minute classes to the district’s 5,600 students.

About 30 families opted out of the classes begun in 2011.

Dr Simon Gathercole #fundie theguardian.com

(The author repeatedly asserts that the evidence for Jesus is overwhelming and established. Gives no evidence throughout the entire article).

What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?

Today some claim that Jesus is just an idea, rather than a real historical figure, but there is a good deal of written evidence for his existence 2,000 years ago

The historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is both long-established and widespread. Within a few decades of his supposed lifetime, he is mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians, as well as by dozens of Christian writings. Compare that with, for example, King Arthur, who supposedly lived around AD500. The major historical source for events of that time does not even mention Arthur, and he is first referred to 300 or 400 years after he is supposed to have lived. The evidence for Jesus is not limited to later folklore, as are accounts of Arthur.

What do Christian writings tell us?

The value of this evidence is that it is both early and detailed. The first Christian writings to talk about Jesus are the epistles of St Paul, and scholars agree that the earliest of these letters were written within 25 years of Jesus’s death at the very latest, while the detailed biographical accounts of Jesus in the New Testament gospels date from around 40 years after he died. These all appeared within the lifetimes of numerous eyewitnesses, and provide descriptions that comport with the culture and geography of first-century Palestine. It is also difficult to imagine why Christian writers would invent such a thoroughly Jewish saviour figure in a time and place – under the aegis of the Roman empire – where there was strong suspicion of Judaism.

What did non-Christian authors say about Jesus?

As far as we know, the first author outside the church to mention Jesus is the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote a history of Judaism around AD93. He has two references to Jesus. One of these is controversial because it is thought to be corrupted by Christian scribes (probably turning Josephus’s negative account into a more positive one), but the other is not suspicious – a reference to James, the brother of “Jesus, the so-called Christ”.

About 20 years after Josephus we have the Roman politicians Pliny and Tacitus, who held some of the highest offices of state at the beginning of the second century AD. From Tacitus we learn that Jesus was executed while Pontius Pilate was the Roman prefect in charge of Judaea (AD26-36) and Tiberius was emperor (AD14-37) – reports that fit with the timeframe of the gospels. Pliny contributes the information that, where he was governor in northern Turkey, Christians worshipped Christ as a god. Neither of them liked Christians – Pliny writes of their “pig-headed obstinacy” and Tacitus calls their religion a destructive superstition.

Did ancient writers discuss the existence of Jesus?

Strikingly, there was never any debate in the ancient world about whether Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure. In the earliest literature of the Jewish Rabbis, Jesus was denounced as the illegitimate child of Mary and a sorcerer. Among pagans, the satirist Lucian and philosopher Celsus dismissed Jesus as a scoundrel, but we know of no one in the ancient world who
questioned whether Jesus lived.

How controversial is the existence of Jesus now?

In a recent book, the French philosopher Michel Onfray talks of Jesus as a mere hypothesis, his existence as an idea rather than as a historical figure. About 10 years ago, The Jesus Project was set up in the US; one of its main questions for discussion was that of whether or not Jesus existed. Some authors have even argued that Jesus of Nazareth was doubly non-existent, contending that both Jesus and Nazareth are Christian inventions. It is worth noting, though, that the two mainstream historians who have written most against these hypersceptical arguments are atheists: Maurice Casey (formerly of Nottingham University) and Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina). They have issued stinging criticisms of the “Jesus-myth” approach, branding it pseudo-scholarship. Nevertheless, a recent survey discovered that 40% of adults in England did not believe that Jesus was a real historical figure.

Is there any archaeological evidence for Jesus?

Part of the popular confusion around the historicity of Jesus may be caused by peculiar archaeological arguments raised in relation to him. Recently there have been claims that Jesus was a great-grandson of Cleopatra, complete with ancient coins allegedly showing Jesus wearing his crown of thorns. In some circles, there is still interest in the Shroud of Turin, supposedly Jesus’s burial shroud. Pope Benedict XVI stated that it was something that “no human artistry was capable of producing” and an “icon of Holy Saturday”.

It is hard to find historians who regard this material as serious archaeological data, however. The documents produced by Christian, Jewish and Roman writers form the most significant evidence.

These abundant historical references leave us with little reasonable doubt that Jesus lived and died. The more interesting question – which goes beyond history and objective fact – is whether Jesus died and lived.

Simon Gathercole is Reader in New Testament Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Johann Hari #fundie theguardian.com

Johann Hari: ‘I was afraid to dismantle the story about depression and anxiety’
In 2011, the writer and author was the subject of accusations of plagiarism that led to the end of his career as a newspaper columnist. His new book, Lost Connections, explores the problems with our understanding of mental health

Johann Hari is a writer and author of several books, and a former columnist for the Independent. His latest book, Lost Connections, explores the causes and cures of depression and anxiety. It argues that the notion of inherent depression has been overstated, and that environmental factors are too often neglected. In 2011, he was the subject of accusations of plagiarism that led to the end of his career as a newspaper columnist.

(Submitter's note: Q&A, with the questions bold)

You started work on the book, you say, because you were puzzled by several mysteries. But did you have an idea of what conclusions you would come to?
I think most of the things that are in the book I had inklings about. For many years I had wanted to find out what causes depression and anxiety and how to really solve them. However, I was afraid that if I dismantled the story that I had about depression and anxiety – even though that story hadn’t worked well for me – I would have no story at all, and it would feel really chaotic, and I would feel really vulnerable. For the 13 years during which I was taking antidepressants, despite some doubts, I did believe in the theory that saw chemicals as the main approach.

As well as taking antidepressants, you’ve seen a therapist for 14 years. How effective has that been?
There are three kinds of causes of depression and they interact. There’s the biological causes, which are real, and can make you more vulnerable to depression, but don’t cause it on their own. There’s environmental causes, which are about how we live together socially. And then there are psychological causes, which are about how we think about the world. Clearly, therapy speaks most to the psychological causes, which are very real. Therapy helped me to think about that aspect of it.

Do you think that therapy has worked for you?
I experienced some quite extreme acts of violence when I was a child, from an adult in my life, when my mother was very ill and my father was in another country. I felt a significant fall in depression once I was eventually able to talk about those experiences with my therapist. Given that we have the evidence that therapy does indeed help with the specific area of the psychological causes of depression, I think it’s fair to assume that, when therapy is done well, it can also help with other forms of depression.

Why do you think it is that doctors hand out so many antidepressants when the wealth of evidence as you present in your book suggests they are largely ineffective?
I wouldn’t want to overstate their ineffectiveness. Between 65 and 80% of people taking antidepressants become depressed again within a year. However, that’s not 100%. Of course some people would have recovered anyway through natural processes. I’m not critical of doctors for this. Part of the problem is that we’ve put the onus for solving these problems on to people who are not in a position to solve them alone. Telling people, as I was told by my doctor, that depression is caused by a problem in your brain is, firstly, untrue and it is also really problematic because it cuts people off from finding the real causes of their depression and anxiety. We’ve been telling ourselves this chemical story for 35 years and every year depression and anxiety gets worse.

Why are depression and anxiety issues on the increase?
The umbrella answer is that human beings have innate psychological needs just as we have physical needs. We need to feel we belong, that we have meaning and purpose, that people value us and that we have autonomy. We also live in a culture that’s not meeting those psychological needs for most people. It does not manifest as full-blown depression and anxiety in most people; for some people it’s just a feeling of unhappiness and a life less fulfilling than it could have been. We’ve built a society that has many great aspects, but it is not a good match for our human nature.

In the book you mention a crisis in your life that was “unequivocally terrible”. Was that when you lost your job at the Independent in 2011 and returned your Orwell prize, after being accused of plagiarism?
Yes, it was that, in combination with someone I love very much having a bad addiction crisis. Just to outline events, because some people won’t know, I did two things that were completely wrong. One is that when I interviewed people I often presented things that had been said to other journalists or had been written in books as if they had been said to me, which was not truthful. The second is that I edited Wikipedia entries regarding other people under a pseudonym and, sometimes, in very nasty ways.

Most people who go through your experience tend to flee from public view. You’ve come back and had success. Has that been a difficult process?
When you fuck up and do several things completely wrong, as I did, it should really hurt. And you should pay a really big price. It did hurt and I did pay a really big price, as is entirely right. The reason I’m reluctant now to go into how that felt for me is because that’s saying to people “see it from my point of view”. However, I don’t think that they should see it from my point of view. I think they should see it from the point of view of those people who were harmed by me: my readers, the people I was nasty about and the people at the Independent that I let down.

Have you apologised to the people who were affected by your Wikipedia tampering?
Yes, I wrote to two of the individuals involved, and I’d rather keep private what was said.

Has what you’ve learned by writing this book helped to alleviate your depression? Are you, for want of a better phrase, a happier person?
Massively, but I want to just caveat that. What this book is not is a simplistic guide saying: “Hey, I did these things, and now you can do them too.” I think that would be quite cruel because I was in this incredibly privileged position. I had money from my previous book, which meant that I could change my life in quite radical ways in order to strip out some of the causes of my depression. Lots of people are not in a position to do that.

A big part of the argument of the book is to say that we need to change our culture so that more of us are free to do the things that I was very fortunate to be able to do. In my own life I’ve been able to devote much less time to seeking status and external achievement and much more to engaging with what I think really matters, the people I love and the causes that I think are important. Before, when I started to feel bad, I would have done something for myself. Now, I can see it’s better to cheer someone else up. That’s had a radical effect on my mental health.

Pablo Cassado, Vox party #conspiracy #wingnut theguardian.com

Spain’s coalition government has vowed to overturn an “authoritarian” initiative by the far-right Vox party that allows parents to stop their children attending talks, workshops or classes during school hours whose content “goes against their moral principles”.

According to Vox, the policy – referred to as the “parental pin” – is designed to protect children by requiring parental permission for exposure to content relating to “ethical or social values or civic or sexual morals”.

But critics claim it will shut down debate on gender, sexual orientation, feminism and the environment as the scheme also requires parental consent for any activity relating to “socially controversial moral questions or sexuality”.

Although the initiative featured in Vox’s manifesto for last April’s general election, and has been in effect since last September in the south-eastern region of Murcia – where Vox props up a regional government between the conservative People’s party (PP) and the centre-right Citizens party – it has only recently become a topic of fierce debate.

Last week, Vox threatened to veto the Murcia government’s annual budget unless the PP and Citizens adopted the parental pin as part of the regional education programme.

Although the pin was not signed into law, the regional budget was agreed after a deal was reached to allow “families to educate their children freely, without any kind of impositions, through the express permission of families when it comes to their children’s participation” in extracurricular classes and activities.

The debate could have more national consequences as Vox has also played kingmaker to PP-Citizens coalition regional governments in Madrid and Andalucía.

The new central government of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ party (PSOE) and the far-left, anti-austerity Unidas Podemos alliance, said last week that it would work to have the scheme overturned – by legal means if necessary – as it “goes against constitutional values”.

Spain’s new equalities minister, Irene Montero, described the measure as an attempt at educational censorship.

“The sons and daughters of homophobic parents have the same right as everyone else to be educated about respect, the promotion of human rights and being able to love whoever they want,” she said last week.

“The sons and daughters of sexist parents also have the same right to be educated about equality and feminism.”

On Monday, eight regional education ministers from the PSOE published an open letter decrying the parental pin as a measure that would “rupture school harmony and the culture of dialogue and reflection and impose a blind and uncritical authoritarianism”.

Pablo Casado, leader of the PP, said a balance needed to be found between freedom of choice and information for parents, adding that he thought most “sensible” Spaniards wanted to decide what kind of education their children receive.

“I don’t believe in a country where parents have to be subject to the whims of what a politician or bureaucrat says,” Casado said on Monday.

He also renewed his attack on the new government’s decision to appoint a former justice minister, Dolores Delgado, as the new attorney general, saying the outrage over the parental pin was a “smokescreen” to distract from criticisms of the move.

Critics argue that Delgado’s appointment blurs the separation of powers, with some members of the General Council of the Judiciary suggesting it could serve to “create the appearance of a link with the executive branch that does not contribute to the perception of the judiciary’s independence”.

Jeff Rosenthal #fundie theguardian.com

Welcome to Powder Mountain – a utopian club for the millennial elite

When these young entrepreneurs bought a remote ski resort in Utah, they dreamed of an exclusive, socially conscious community. Is this the future, or Mt Olympus for Generation Me?

by Paul Lewis

Jeff Rosenthal is standing near the top of his snow-covered mountain wearing a fluffy jacket, fingerless gloves and ripped jeans. “It’s surreal, man!” he says, shivering as he surveys the landscape of newly laid roads and half-built homes. “That’s Ken Howery’s house, the co-founder of PayPal. Awesome house!”

He lists the other investors who are turning this remote Utah community into a crucible of “generational ideology, innovation and entrepreneurship”. Richard Branson will have a house here, and so will the world’s most powerful marketing executive, Martin Sorrell. The Hollywood producer Stacey Sher and the actor Sophia Bush will be their neighbours, as will Miguel McKelvey, a co-founder of WeWork, and the renowned technology investor and author of The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss.

The audacious real estate project – branded Powder Mountain – is becoming a mecca for altruistically minded members of the global elite. “The goal will always remain the same,” says Elliott Bisnow, Rosenthal’s business partner: “To be a beacon of inspiration and a light in the world.”

Bisnow, Rosenthal and three friends, all entrepreneurs in their 30s, dreamed up the scheme after spending years running Summit, an exclusive gathering described by insiders as a “Davos for millennials”.

Applicants to Summit are screened and interviewed to ensure they display the correct “psychographic” (or mindset) for the events. It is pitched as an entertaining ideas festival, comparable to TED and Burning Man, featuring speakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Jane Fonda, Peter Thiel and Jeff Bezos. Guests pay $3,000-$8,000 (£2,200-£5,800) for access to three-day flagship events, hosted everywhere from beaches in Tulum, Mexico, to cruise ships in the Caribbean.

Having finessed the art of persuading rich people to pay to join these getaways, the founders convinced their friends to help them buy an entire mountain in Utah, complete with 10,000 acres of some of the best ski terrain in the US.

They bristle at the idea that they’re trying to build a high-altitude utopia for plutocrats, but then casually refer to a segment of their clientele as “the billionaire set” – and don’t hesitate to mention that their mountain happens to be located between towns named Eden and Paradise.

The beautiful surroundings and unique blend of people, Rosenthal believes, will create the “exponential opportunities of the future”. “I have this whole rap with Gertrude Stein, Katharine Graham, De’ Medici, Bauhaus. There’s this rich history of groups coming together, where the whole is more than the sum of the parts, right?” he says. “I think that’s what’s happening here.”

Such hype might seem detached from reality, but it is much in vogue among the technology sector’s new generation of millionaires and billionaires, who seem keen to distance themselves from the selfish excess of their predecessors from 1980s Wall Street. They show less interest in super-yachts or sports cars; instead they speak about spiritual enrichment, connections to nature and purpose. It is against this backdrop that countless Summit-like festivals, retreats and communities have emerged in and around California, promising to help wealthy clients find a better version of themselves.

Further Future, a gathering in the Nevada desert attended by the ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, which has been described as “Burning Man for the 1%”, promises a culture of “mindful optimism, wonder and exploration”. Scott Kriens, the chairman of the technology multinational Juniper Networks, recently opened a retreat for self-improvement and introspection in a redwood forest near Santa Cruz, California, recognising that, despite its great advances, the internet “did not help people connect to themselves”. And Esalen, an institute perched on a cliff in Big Sur that has been a magnet for a bohemian set searching for spiritual enlightenment for half a century, is now directly courting guilt-laden tech executives. “The CEOs, inside they’re hurting,” the director, Ben Tauber (a former Google product manager), recently said of his clients. “They wonder if they’re doing the right thing for humanity. These are questions we can only answer behind closed doors.”

Summit prides itself on its progressive “content”, with talks about global warming, inequality, racial divisions and the war in Syria, but there is a celebrity draw, with talks such as “Jessica Alba on defying expectations” and “Andre Agassi on scaling change”.

During the February weekend I attend (a smaller retreat on the mountain, which costs around $2,000), there are only three talks, each lasting an hour; the remaining three days are spent skiing, snowshoeing, eating and drinking, relaxing in yoga or spa sessions, or partying in crowded hot tubs.

For all its intellectual bravado, a big appeal of Summit has always been recreational. Food is provided by Michelin-starred chefs, and top musicians are flown in for dance parties; the Summit crowd contains a dedicated contingent of Burning Man aficionados, known as “Burners”, who are adept at adding fuel to the festivities. (Rick Glassman, a comedian flown from LA for a 10-minute set, prompts howls of laughter when he says Summit had taught him that “everyone does mushrooms”.)

[snip]

The story of how Bisnow and his friends – Rosenthal, Ryan Begelman, Jeremy Schwartz and Brett Leve – came to occupy their bubble on a mountaintop in Utah has become something of a legend. It began in 2008, when Bisnow, with the boundless confidence of a 23-year-old businessman, cold-called entrepreneurs he admired and invited them on an all-expenses-paid trip to Utah. Bisnow shouldered the cost of the 19-strong gathering on his credit card, then repeated the trick with another get-together in Mexico, racking up $75,000 in debt. Bisnow and the others quickly coalesced a sort of “mutual aid society” for young, well-connected businessmen, which in the early days included the co-founders of Twitter and Facebook and the real-estate heiress Ivanka Trump.

Soon, Bisnow and his friends were running dozens of closed-door events dedicated to creating “positive impact” – and hosting their flagship conferences on cruise voyages that sailed from Miami to the Bahamas. Those events acquired a reputation as booze cruises for white, male tech bros, so a few years ago Summit decided it was time for a rebrand. They introduced cheaper tickets for women to improve the gender ratio, and abandoned the Caribbean for a more down-to-earth location: Los Angeles. “Not Santa Barbara. Not Beverly Hills,” Rosenthal says. “But downtown LA – where you’re literally in the throes of gentrification and homelessness.”

For years the team worked remotely in Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, New York, Miami and Barcelona. They would combine work with snowboarding in Montana and surfing in Nicaragua. But by late 2011, the friends were approaching 30 and starting to travel less. They were living and working out of a mansion in Malibu and, Rosenthal recalls, hosting “amazing dinners that became pretty culturally significant in LA at that time”.

t was around this time they heard from a Utah-based venture capitalist that Powder Mountain was for sale and hatched a plan to transform their considerable social capital into real estate.

The plan was enacted months later, after a gathering they hosted in Lake Tahoe. They chartered a Boeing 737 and flew about 75 of their wealthier patrons from northern California to a tiny airport in Utah’s Ogden Valley. From there, it was just a short drive to the top of Powder Mountain. They arrived in time for sunset, lit a bonfire in the snow and laid out their vision.

Each investor who helped them buy the mountain would receive a plot of land – and, assuming the plan worked, their money back at a future date. They bought the mountain for $40m in 2013, but it is only in recent months that the wooden shells of the first 26 properties have mushroomed out of the mountainside, along with roads, bridges and ski lifts.

Much to the frustration of some locals, machines have been drilling wells deep into the mountain in search of water. One day there will be 500 homes on the mountain, and a village with coffee shops, juice bars, restaurants, a sound studio and a five-star hotel.

Rosenthal takes me on a driving tour of the mountain, to explain how they plan to create a community that is different from exclusive resorts such as Aspen, Colorado. Restrictions prevent anyone from building a home larger than 4,500 sq ft, and residents must use vetted architects to ensure that their home is “subservient to the land” and in a style that has been called “heritage modernism”.

“None of the architecture should express taste or wealth,” Rosenthal says, nodding to the spot that will become a central promenade. “That is a very walkable main street – we will have soft Italian kerbs.”

I steer the conversation to the subject of how utterly detached from the real world elites seem to have become. “Elitism, the way I would define it, is obtainable,” he replies. “All that stands between you and being elite is your own investment in yourself.”

I tell Rosenthal that I’ve met many people in America who work as hard as him and his friends – harder, in fact – but struggle to make ends meet. He acknowledges that he’s benefited from considerable advantage, but insists we now live in an era in which “the internet is the great equaliser”.

“What are you doing to create the utility for yourself? Are you introducing people so they can collaborate?” he says. Struggling Americans, he adds, might want to “host a dinner. Invite 10 strangers. See what happens.”

Evo Morales #conspiracy theguardian.com

Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, has accused opposition leaders and foreign powers of attempting a “coup” against him amid growing tensions over the result of Sunday’s desperately tight election.

In an angry televised speech on Wednesday, Morales said: “A coup d’etat is under way. The right wing prepared the coup with international support.”

Morales went into elections needing 40% of votes and a 10-point margin of victory to avoid a second-round runner against the main opposition candidate, Carlos Mesa. By Wednesday afternoon 97% of the official results had been processed, giving him 46.49% and a 9.5-point lead.

With most outstanding votes from remote rural areas expected to go in his favour, Morales repeated his declaration of a first-round victory, which he had made prematurely on Sunday night.

But on Wednesday the Organization of American States (OAS) said that a runoff should be held even if Morales breached the 10-point margin.

“In the case that … the margin of difference exceeds 10%, it is statistically reasonable to conclude that it will be by negligible margin,” said Manuel González, the head of the OAS election observation team in Bolivia. “Given the context and the problematic issues in this electoral process the best option continues to be the convening of a second round.”

International observers have expressed concern over an unexplained daylong gap in the reporting of results which was followed by a surge in Morales votes when the count resumed on Monday.

“Why did the government shut down the reporting of results?” asked Carlos Trujillo, US ambassador to the OAS, at a special session convened to discuss the Bolivian situation. “The government allowed a somewhat fair election because they did not realise their own popularity and thought they could win under their system. When they realised they could not win in the first round they shut down the results so that they could steal the election.”

The vice-president of Bolivia’s electoral board resigned on Tuesday, saying that the decision of the board’s six-member panel to suspend reporting results had discredited “the entire electoral process, causing unnecessary social convulsion”.

Mesa has accused Morales of trying to conduct “a giant fraud” and vowed that his party “will not recognize a fraudulent result”.

In a video statement on Wednesday, Mesa called for “permanent protests” until a second-round vote was confirmed, and said he would present evidence of electoral fraud.

Allegations of electoral fraud have already sparked street violence, in which anti-government protesters clashed with police, and set fire to electoral offices in eight of Bolivia’s regional capital cities.

On Tuesday the OAS said it would conduct an analysis of the election, focusing on the results reporting systems and the chain of custody of ballot boxes. However, the results of such an analysis are unlikely to please either side as the positions become increasingly entrenched.

Civil society groups in eight of the country’s nine departments called for a general strike that could bring the country to a standstill. “Not even an ant will move in Santa Cruz,” declared Luis Fernando Camacho, the leader of the civil society group for Santa Cruz, the country’s largest and richest city.

Morales has overseen relative stability and growth, but angered many by running for a fourth consecutive term despite a 2016 referendum which ruled against lifting term limits.

The results reflect the split between Bolivia’s urban population – which broadly backed the opposition – and the rural Andean populations that remain loyal to Morales, a former coca farmer.

“I don’t think Evo will accept the OAS’s calls for a second round,” says Jorge Derpic, a Bolivia specialist and assistant professor at the University of Georgia. “This is the first time we have seen protests by the middle classes in all the country’s major cities against Morales. Evo has called to mobilize his base – the coca growers, the miners and the campesinos [the rural poor] – and we could see further partisan violent clashes between rural and urban areas.”

Alvi Karimov and the Chechen authorities #fundie theguardian.com

Authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya have launched an anti-gay campaign that has led to authorities rounding up dozens of men suspected of being homosexual, according to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and human rights activists.

The newspaper’s report, by an author regarded as a leading authority on Chechnya, claimed that more than 100 people had been detained and three men killed in the roundup. It claimed that among those detained were well-known local television personalities and religious figures.

Alvi Karimov, spokesperson for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, described the report as “absolute lies and disinformation”, basing his denial on the claim that there were no gay people in Chechnya. “You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic,” he told Interfax news agency.

“If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”

A spokesman for the region’s interior ministry told the Russian newspaper RBC that the report was “an April fool’s joke”.

However, Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, Russia project director for the International Crisis Group, told the Guardian she had been receiving worrying information about the issue from various sources over the past 10 days. “I have heard about it happening in Grozny [the Chechen capital], outside Grozny, and among people of very different ages and professions,” she said.

The extreme taboo nature of the subject meant that much of the information was arriving second or third hand, and as yet there are no fully verifiable cases, she added. “It’s next to impossible to get information from the victims or their families, but the number of signals I’m receiving from different people makes it hard not to believe detentions and violence are indeed happening.”

Meryl Dorey #conspiracy theguardian.com

More venues have cancelled appearances from a US anti-vaccination campaigner, prompting a supporter of the seminars to compare opponents to the gunmen who targeted French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

At least five venues have now ditched bookings for Sherri Tenpenny, who is due to visit Australia in February and March.

An online network opposing her visit, the Stop the Australian (Anti) Vaccination Network (SAVN), has called for venues to refuse bookings and is demanding that Peter Dutton, the immigration minister, reject her visa.

Meryl Dorey, a former president of the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network, drew a comparison with Wednesday’s attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead.

“The organisation that is pushing this censorship is a hate group and they are very much like the groups in France that have been carrying out these actions,” she told 3AW.

“No one is forcing people to attend but when you say in a democratic country that you can’t discuss an issue, that’s a problem. There’s an imbalance – 99% of what appears in government brochures is the benefits of vaccination, but not the risks. When someone talks about the risks they are downplayed or ridiculed.”

Sabo #fundie theguardian.com

The guerrilla art movement is usually associated with leftwing politics. Banksy targets capitalism, consumerism and inequality. Blek le Rat, the father of stencil graffiti, depicts oppression and resistance.

Shepard Fairey gilded Barack Obama’s rise with the iconic “Hope” poster and now highlights the scapegoating of Muslims and the corporatisation of US politics.

In the Trump era, the right, however, has its own guerrilla artist: Sabo, a former US marine who works from an apartment-cum-studio in Los Angeles beneath a sign that says “Fuck Tibet”. Another says “Fuck peace”.

Under cover of darkness, he peppers public spaces in LA with images and slogans targeting liberals, whom he associates with “pot-smoking lazy bums” hostile to western values. He puts the same images and slogans on posters, T-shirts and pins which he sells from his website and at Republican party gatherings across the US.

“I think leftism is a mental disorder,” Sabo, 49, said in an interview at his home. “I truly believe I’m fighting the good fight.”

[...]

He has decorated his home with samples of his work: a framed toilet seat with Barack Obama’s face and mouth; a life-sized poster of Bernie Sanders with Soviet tattoos and diaper “full of free shit”; a billboard-style portrait of Hillary Clinton as a maniacal queen.

Another billboard declares that “Black lives are just matter”, accompanied by a Planned Parenthood logo and an abortion-themed punchline: “We’ve killed more blacks than the klan.”

[...]

The left, he said, has mastered cultural and political “dark arts” and “weaponised” Hollywood, the FBI, the IRS, universities and other institutions to promote a nefarious agenda.

He claimed Islam was taking over Europe and espoused debunked conspiracy theories: Obama is a Muslim who sought to undermine America, and senior Democrats literally worship the devil and run pedophile rings. “I truly believe Hillary is demonic.”

Challenged for evidence, Sabo cited leaked emails, which online conspiracy theorists claimed proved the accusations. “I’m a fan of logic and reason.”

The fan of logic and reason also lamented America’s polarisation. “The whole climate is sick right now.” Asked if his work contributed to that sickness, Sabo shook his head. “The left are the ones who dehumanise.”

Marine Le Pen #conspiracy theguardian.com

Marine Le Pen's public relations efforts to soften the image of the far-right Front National were dented this week after she caused outrage by questioning the beards and scarves worn by returning French hostages.

Le Pen, whose party's trademark is speaking out against immigration and public displays of Islam, said the appearance of the four men who had been held captive by for three years by Islamist militants in the Sahel desert was "troubling".

She told Europe 1 radio: "Two of them had beards cut in a rather strange way. Their clothing was strange. One hostage had a scarf on his face. That all calls for some explanation on their part."

Asked whether she was implying the French workers kidnapped in 2010 from a uranium mine site in Niger might have converted to Islam, she said: "I'm not making allusions. I'm telling you how I felt. I wouldn't go so far as to offer a theory."

The mother of one of the former captives, Pierre Legrand, said her son and the three other men had agreed to keep their beards and scarves in a gesture of solidarity with other French hostages still held in the region. The four, flown back to Paris within 48 hours of their release from harsh conditions in northern Mali, had appeared tired and relatives said they needed time to recover from their ordeal.

[Bolding mine - links in the original]

Mostafa Gavahi & other hardliners #fundie theguardian.com

“Homosexual” and “devil worshipping” hairstyles have been banned in Iran, alongside tattoos, sunbed treatments and plucked eyebrows for men, which are all deemed un-Islamic.

The move – aimed at spiky cuts – follows a trend where, each summer, Iranian authorities Iranian authorities get tough on men and women sporting clothing or hairdos seen as imitations of western lifestyles.

In 2010, Iran banned ponytails, mullets and long, gelled hair for men, but allowed 1980s-style floppy fringes or quiffs.

Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, has spoken against such crackdowns, stating that the police’s duty is to implement the law and not enforce Islam. But hardliners have remained defiant.

Mostafa Govahi, the head of Iran’s barbers’ union, told the semi-official Isna news agency on Monday that fancifully spiked hairstyles were banned and those who styled them risked having their shops closed.

He said: “Devil-worshipping hairstyles are forbidden. Any shop that cuts hair in the devil worshipping style will be harshly dealt with and their licence revoked. Tattoos, solarium treatments and plucking eyebrows [for men] are also forbidden.”

Govahi said shops who imitate such “western hairstyles” or violate “the Islamic establishment’s regulations” would be shut down if they failed to take an initial warning seriously. “Usually the barber shops who do this do not have a licence. They have been identified and will be dealt with,” he said.

In a separate interview broadcast by the exiled Iranian opposition television channel, Manoto, Govahi said barbers across Iran had been given a list of appropriate hairstyles for men. He said hairstyles adopted by homosexuals were also banned but did not provide further details on what sort of haircut that would be.

“Haircuts that show symbols or signs of devil worshippers or those adopted by homosexuals are banned,” he said. “I won’t allow such wrongful western styles as long as I’m in this position.” He said the policy was in line with the cultural norms outlined by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Recently, a group of hardliners in the city of Qazvin wrote to the authorities asking them to ban full-body waxing for women in beauty salons. Women receiving hair removal treatments to their private parts was of particular concern.

Shop mannequins have not been immune from such measures either, with those displaying sizeable breasts or hips not tolerated.

Religious police and plainclothes basij militia are often deployed on the streets or in public buildings such as big shopping malls where they crack down on men and women who fail to stick to their forced Islamic dress code.

Rouhani has repeatedly made clear he stands opposed to such practices, but Iran’s police and similar forces operate under the direct control of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In controversial remarks last week, Rouhani told a group of senior Iranian officers: “Police do not have a duty to enforce Islam. No police officer can do something and say he did it because God commanded it, or the prophet had said so. It has nothing to do with the police.”

He added: “The police only have one duty: to implement the law. That’s it.”

This week, he reiterated his position once more but it has been met with sharp criticism from hardliners, among them many influential clerics. Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi responded by saying: “All individuals, including the police, are required to enforce rules of Islam.”

Raye Johnson #psycho theguardian.com

Experience: I paid to have my daughter kidnapped

That first day I grieved. I knew deep down I was right, but I didn’t know if my daughter would forgive me.
It was 3am. I went into my daughter’s room, woke her, told her I loved her and that she was going on a trip. She was drowsy from the sleeping pills I’d slipped in her drink a few hours earlier. Then the two strangers I’d hired to take her away went into her room. She tried to get her bag and makeup. “Where you’re going, you don’t need anything,” they told her. I stood outside the door, shaking. Had I just created a situation in which I would lose my 17-year-old for ever?

I’d quit a successful financial career and moved across the country to bring up my daughter and son in Florida, so we’d have time as a family after their father and I divorced. I loved them fiercely and we were close. They knew I had high hopes for them. But at 17, my daughter started hanging around with different people; her straight-A grades dropped and her attitude changed. We started to fight about her going to school. “Even if you drive me there, you can’t make me go inside,” she would say. Then she told me she had decided to quit school to become a high-end hairdresser and wanted me to pay for her to go to beauty school. I was distraught. There is nothing wrong with hairdressing, but I wanted her to get a proper education first, so she would have choices.

Around the same time, police twice caught her 14-year-old brother with drugs. I wasn’t having it a third time, so I sent him away to a strict boarding school in another state. On a weekend visit, it struck me how much he’d changed and how my daughter would benefit from the same intensive treatment.

But I had to act fast. Her beauty school fees were due the coming Saturday. And, legally, I had control over her only while she was still under 18. I found a boot camp for troubled children in Utah and hired a private service to escort her there, whether she wanted to go or not. That Friday night we went to dinner on the pretence that it was to celebrate her new school. It was actually to stop her seeing friends and ensure she’d be home for the escorts.

After their appearance in the middle of the night, the security service flew with her to the Utah desert. That first day I grieved. I knew deep down I was right, but I didn’t know if my daughter would forgive me: I had to be prepared to lose her in order to help her. Her friends called and I said she’d gone on a trip. “Where did she go? When will she be back?” they asked. I told them I didn’t know.

I had paid $16,000 (£11,380) for seven weeks of gruelling physical and mental challenges. The other kids were in desperate situations: young offenders, drug addicts, some were suicidal. I was aware my daughter didn’t share their circumstances. They lived like cavemen: they didn’t see a roof the whole time, took care of their sanitary waste, learned survival skills and did physical labour; some cut off their hair because they couldn’t bathe.

They had daily therapy and wrote letters to their parents. My daughter’s were full of apology: how she had made mistakes, wanted to be forgiven, how she loved me. Sure, she was angry at first when she didn’t know what was going on, but she soon understood why I’d sent her there and was embarrassed.
Experience: my plane was hijacked
Read more

At the end, parents were taken into the desert to be reunited with their kids. We could see them walking towards us from a mile away. I was scared. I didn’t know how my daughter would react. Then I spotted her; she was muscular and dirty. We hugged and cried. She was back to the daughter I knew, the one without the attitude.

She finished high school with straight As, went to college, then did a master’s. She works in the legal system now. Both my kids joke that I’m a psycho mom, but they forgave me and we remain close. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Could they have got where they are today without such drastic action? Perhaps, but it wasn’t a chance I was willing to take. I believe the more we suffer in life, the more we grow. I have two strong, amazing kids, and I’d do it again.

• As told to Candice Pires. Raye Johnson is a pseudonym.

Anonymous Brexiteers #fundie theguardian.com

Anna Soubry, one of the 11 Conservative MPs who defied government whips this week when the government suffered its first Commons defeat over Brexit, has received multiple messages saying she should be hanged as a traitor.

Messages received by Soubry’s office – usually seen first by her parliamentary staff – also feature abuse, with one Facebook message saying: “Go hang yourself slag.”

It follows death threats to Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, who drew up the amendment to the EU withdrawal bill that passed on Wednesday by 309 votes to 305, ensuring MPs must have a final vote on any Brexit deal.

The rebellion prompted a scathing response by some newspapers. The Daily Mail said 11 “self-consumed malcontents” had betrayed their leader, party and 17.4 million Brexit voters.

On Twitter, a post by Soubry defending herself against the Mail’s attack prompted a reply: “You and these traitors should be hung in public.”

Another Twitter user posted a link to a separate Daily Mail article that claimed Soubry and other rebels had celebrated their success with champagne, something the MP has vehemently denied.

A reply to this tweet compared Soubry to William Joyce, known as Lord Haw Haw, who was hanged after the second world war for his wartime radio broadcasts from Nazi Germany. It ended: “Traitor Anna Soubry deserves to stand trial for the same crime.”

Other tweets called for the Queen to seek treason charges against Soubry so she could be hanged, while another said: “Back in the day you would have walked through traitors gate and been beheaded in the tower of London, you are the true definition of a traitor.”

Emails sent to Soubry’s office, and seen by the Guardian, took similar lines.

One, from a man in Tonbridge, Kent – about 150 miles from Soubry’s Broxtow constituency – read: “You deserve to be HUNG for your attack on our democracy yesterday. WE VOTED OUT! OUT! OUT!” The writer, who gave his full address and telephone number, ended the email: “MAY YOU BURN IN HELL FOR ETERNITY.”

Another rebel Tory MP, Sarah Wollaston, also said that she had been threatened.

Soubry told the Guardian her main worry was for her staff: “As with all members of parliament they have access to my emails, they take the phone calls. So they have to read all this stuff. I think people forget it’s the parliamentary staff who feel even more intimidated than members of parliament.”

The media had “fuelled a lot of this”, Soubry argued: “The words in certain newspapers are replicated – so ‘mutineer’ is then in an email saying: ‘We all know what happens to mutineers, let’s see you hanging from a lamppost or a tree.’

“I got an email from somebody yesterday saying: ‘In the past, traitors were taken out and shot.’ It’s appalling. I’m sure some of these people, if they took a step back, would actually be appalled themselves. But they are being whipped up into a frenzy by certain sections of the media that have frankly lost the plot.”

While the abuse came from a tiny minority of people, Soubry said, it seemed indicative of deep divisions in the country that were not being addressed.

“It’s the job of government to do everything they can to bring people together, and it’s the responsibility of everybody in public life to build a more tolerant society,” she said.

The idea perpetuated in some newspapers that she and other Tory rebels were seeking to overturn Brexit was nonsense, Soubry said.

“I said I will honour the result of the referendum, so I voted to trigger article 50. So, I accept we are leaving the European Union, even though the result was close. My argument now is how do we get the best deal, and I want parliament, finally, to be involved in getting the best deal for our country. Why does that make me a traitor?”

Jean-Marie Le Pen #fundie theguardian.com

[Hyperlinks in original]

It has been described as a far-right, political death-match somewhere between King Lear and Dallas.

France’s far-right Front National has been plunged into an all-out war between its president, Marine Le Pen, and her ageing father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, after he made inflammatory comments belittling the Holocaust and defended Marshal Pétain, the leader of France’s Nazi collaborationist Vichy regime.

[...]

Then in an interview this week with Rivarol, a notorious far-right weekly, Jean-Marie Le Pen attacked his daughter’s criticism of his Holocaust comments, saying: “You’re only betrayed by your own.”

He defended Philippe Pétain, the leader of France’s Nazi collaborationist Vichy regime in the 1940s, who was convicted of treason after the war. He told the magazine: “I have never considered Marshal Pétain a traitor. He was treated too severely after the liberation.”

He also lamented: “We’re being governed by immigrants and children of immigrants at all levels.” Citing France’s Spanish-born Socialist prime minister, Manuel Valls, he asked: “What is his attachment to France?”

He said France should join with Russia to save the “white world” and said he understood why some fought democracy.

Unnamed British Racists #racist theguardian.com

(New figures reveal dramatic increase in hate crimes against Polish people

Tenfold rise in attacks since 2004 blamed on the recession, benefit cuts and stereotyping by politicians)

Damian Citko was attacked outside the Cross Keys pub in Dagenham in January by 15 men as he was about to drive off on his motorbike. The group beat him to the ground with kicks and punches. "They kicked my head so hard that even though I was wearing a helmet I had black eyes," says Citko, 39, a network administrator from Opole, who arrived in Britain shortly after Poland's accession to the EU in 2004. "All I could hear while they were beating me was: 'Go back to Poland, go back home.'" The police arrived and rushed Citko to Queen's hospital, Romford. Luckily his heavily padded biking gear meant he survived the assault without major injuries.

Citko is just one of hundreds of Poles who are victims of race crime every year in the UK. Exclusive figures obtained for Society Guardian through freedom of information requests reveal that, in 2013, police officers arrested 585 people for a hate crime (such as a violent assault, vandalism or a public order offence) against a Pole – one person every 14 hours. That's a tenfold increase from 2004. And the total number of arrests is likely to be much higher, because only 26 of the country's 46 forces replied to the Guardian's request for information.

In the decade since Poland joined the EU, at least half a million Poles have come to Britain. Many say they have suffered some form of xenophobia. In a recent survey of 1,000 Polish people by journalism students at the London College of Communications, nearly three-quarters (71%) said they had been subjected to some form of abuse and knew someone who had been physically attacked because they were Polish.

And the problem is worsening. In Belfast, over 10 days in April, three young Polish nationals were attacked by a gang after being asked for a cigarette; a 23-year-old man was stabbed in the leg and seven Polish homes were vandalised. "It was terrifying, they were throwing bricks through our windows," says Maria Glok, who lives in the one of the vandalised homes. "I really feared for my family. I honestly don't know if I can continue to live here like this."

"It's like people think it is OK to discriminate against [us]."

For Andrzej Rygielski, 51, a retail manager from Kent, these cases are all too familiar. Rygielski says he has suffered from an appalling level of abuse since he arrived in the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, from Inowroclaw in 2005. "For years I have had stones thrown at me and my house", he says. In 2012, Rygielski came home from shopping with his teenage daughter to find "Pollish suck cock" (sic) scrawled in fake blood on the outer wall of his house and, in January this year, he was attacked in his shop by a customer.

In February, 20 Polish community leaders and organisations wrote an open letter to David Cameron criticising the government's approach. "It is truly hurtful that once excellent British-Polish relations are on the verge of being shattered by populist politicians, who are using Poles as scapegoats," the letter said. "We will not allow bigotry and discrimination against our people."

On the same day, hundreds protested outside parliament calling on the government to do more to combat anti-Polish attitudes in the UK. Many blame the media. "The newspapers make us like monsters, like scum. They say we are stealing jobs and benefits. This is simply untrue," says Rygielski.

Others attribute the increase in anti-Polish feeling to senior political figures. George Byczynski, one of the protest organisers and founder of the British Polish Law Association (BPLA), which was created in January to offer legal assistance to Poles who have suffered discrimination, says: "When the prime minister is name-checking Poles as somehow responsible for taking benefits away from this country, it is no wonder people who read those comments believe it and that, as a result, Poles are under attack in their communities. It was utterly irresponsible."

Satyapal Singh #fundie theguardian.com

Indian education minister dismisses theory of evolution

Scientists condemn Satyapal Singh for saying ‘Darwin’s theory is scientifically wrong’

India’s minister for higher education has been condemned by scientists for demanding the theory of evolution be removed from school curricula because no one “ever saw an ape turning into a human being”.

Satyapal Singh stood by his comments on Monday, saying his ministry was ready to host an international conference where “scientists can come out and say where they stand on the issue”.

“I have a list of around 10 to 15 great scientists of the world who have said there is no evidence to prove that the theory of evolution is correct,” Singh told a crowd at a university in Assam state, adding that Albert Einstein had agreed the theory was “unscientific”.

Singh, who has a postgraduate degree in chemistry from Delhi University, said he was speaking as a “man of science”.

“Darwin’s theory is scientifically wrong,” he said at the weekend. “It needs to change in the school and college curriculum.

“Since man is seen on Earth, he has always been a man. Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, said they ever saw an ape turning into a human being.”

More than 2,000 Indian scientists have signed a petition in response calling Singh’s remarks simplistic, misleading and lacking in any scientific basis.

“It is factually incorrect to state that the evolutionary principle has been rejected by the scientific community,” the statement said. “On the contrary, every new discovery adds support to Darwin’s insights. There is plentiful and undeniable scientific evidence to the fact that humans and the other great apes and monkeys had a common ancestor.”

Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution nearly 160 years ago, arguing that all species, including humans, evolved over time through a process of natural selection. He argued that humans and apes share a common ancestor who lived more than 7m years ago, an idea frequently misunderstood to be suggesting modern apes turned into human beings.

Ancient Indian scholars are credited with advances in astronomy and mathematics including the invention of the concept of zero, but religious nationalist figures have been accused in recent years of pushing “ideological science”.

That includes claims by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, that myths from the origin texts of Hinduism include evidence of plastic surgery and genetic science.

YS Rajan, a prominent scientist, said in response to Singh’s comments that Hindu texts such as the Rigveda included lines that explicitly embraced knowledge from across the world.

“Nothing in ... Bharatiya samskaar [Indian philosophy] would demand rejection of such theory or for that matter any scientific findings,” he wrote on Facebook.

Helpers of God's Precious Infants #fundie theguardian.com

Women trying to get an abortion in Albury, New South Wales, have ended up self harming or even attempting suicide because of harassment from protesters outside the only clinic offering the procedure in the area, health workers have said.

[...]

A social worker, who did not want to be named because she has been frequently targeted by protesters, said women had been intimidated about attending the clinic for too long.

“Many women end up travelling to Melbourne or Sydney for the procedure because they can’t face the protesters,” she told Guardian Australia.

“Some teenage girls do self harm because they don’t feel safe going to the clinic here, or they’re worried they will be identified by the protesters and the whole city will know about it.

“They don’t have the resources to go to Melbourne or Sydney, their parents may not know, and they are so stressed and traumatised, they attempt suicide.”

[...]

One woman described how she panicked as the protesters began to approach. “I couldn’t take a step forward,” the woman, who did not want to be identified, said.

“I panicked very badly; my anxiety was so heightened I hyperventilated. I was so distressed knowing they were going to race at me.”

She said the group surrounded her and blocked her entrance to the clinic, telling her she was making the wrong decision and holding up graphic images of dead babies.

“I finally responded that I had no choice, that my foetus was likely both deformed and brain damaged, and that if I continued with the pregnancy that I’d likely leave four children motherless,” she said. “I was told that I should choose death. This ... made me hysterical.”

[...]

[W]omen were being filmed by protesters and that their names were being recorded, shattering their privacy.

[...]

A study conducted by a fertility clinic in East Melbourne found 78% of their patients were more traumatised by anti-abortion protesters than getting a termination.

Anna von Marburg, the co-ordinator for Albury Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, did not directly answer questions from Guardian Australia about claims women were being driven to self harm or being psychologically traumatised.

But she said the group had displayed “exemplary behaviour and incredible courage in the face of very aggressive tactics by abortion advocates”.

“The abortion clinic, abortion activists, police and pedestrians have hundreds of hours of footage of the [group] and have never been able to show evidence of any harassment, blocking, or violence,” she said.

She also dismissed Mourik’s assessment that staff were stressed as a result of the protests.

“Society should feel stress and anxiety that doctors and nurses are using surgical means to solve a largely psychosocial problem,” Von Marburg, who also runs the local Catholic bookstore, said.

“We believe that we can offer a solution that does not involve the destruction of human life.”

When asked why her group could not compromise and carry out protests down the street from the clinic, Von Marburg replied: “Why doesn’t Occupy Wall Street move to Kansas?”

Justice and Development party (AKP) lawmakers #sexist theguardian.com

Turkey’s ruling party has begun a second attempt at introducing a law to grant rapists amnesty as long as they marry their victim, four years after a similar bill sparked outrage at home and internationally.

The legislation, which was first debated by parliament on 16 January, would give men suspended sentences for child sex offences if the two parties get married and the age difference between them is less than 10 years.

Opposition parties and women’s rights groups have been quick to point out that the bill in effect legitimises child marriage and statutory rape in a country where the legal age of consent is 18.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s conservative Justice and Development party (AKP) has said the proposal is designed to deal with Turkey’s widespread child marriage problem.

[...]

“In 2016 the government introduced a [similar] draft law on amnesty for child abuse perpetrators. All women stood against it and the bill was withdrawn after our protests,” she said. “If they dare to try again, we will fight against it again.”

[...]

“Marry your rapist” clauses are present in legislation relating to sexual consent in many countries in the Middle East and Latin America. In recent years such loopholes have been closed after protests against them in Lebanon, Jordan and Tunisia.

Turkey appears to have travelled in the opposite direction. After abolishing such laws in 2005, a 2016 bill that would have allowed the release from prison of men guilty of assaulting a minor if the aggressor married the victim and the act was committed without “force or threat” provoked widespread fury and was eventually defeated.

Ankara insisted that the bill’s intention was distorted by critics. “There are people who get married before reaching the legal age. They just don’t know the law,” the then prime minister Binali Yıldırım said at the time, adding that the measure aimed to “get rid of this injustice”.

His comments were echoed by the justice minister Bekir Bozdağ, who said marriages involving minors were “unfortunately a reality” in Turkey but the men involved “were not rapists or sexual aggressors”.

David Irving #racist theguardian.com

Sixteen years after an English court discredited his work and the judge called him “antisemitic and racist”, the historian David Irving claims he is inspiring a new generation of “Holocaust sceptics”. On the eve of a major new Bafta-nominated film about the trial, Irving, who has dismissed what happened at Auschwitz concentration camp during the second world war as “Disneyland”, says that a whole new generation of young people have discovered his work via the internet and social media.

“Interest in my work has risen exponentially in the last two or three years. And it’s mostly young people. I’m getting messages from 14, 15, 16-year-olds in America. They find me on YouTube. There are 220 of my lectures on YouTube, I believe, and these young people tell me how they’ve stayed up all night watching them. “They get in touch because they want to find out the truth about Hitler and the second world war. They ask all sorts of questions. I’m getting up to 300 to 400 emails a day. And I answer them all. I build a relationship with them.”

Irving v Penguin Books Ltd was one of the most infamous libel trials of the past 20 years. An American historian, Deborah Lipstadt, had accused him in her book, Denying the Holocaust,and Irving, then a somewhat respected if maverick historian, sued her and her publisher. The film, Denial, with a script by David Hare, is released at the end of this month and stars Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt and Timothy Spall as Irving. It depicts how Lipstadt’s legal team fought the case.

James Libson, a junior solicitor in the case and now a senior partner at Mishcon de Reya, said that the verdict seemed “momentous at the time”. Lipstadt won, with the judge concluding that Irving was an antisemitic, racist Holocaust denier. He was forced to declare bankruptcy and his scholarly reputation was shattered. “We really thought the verdict marked a line in the sand,” says Libson. “That it marked Holocaust denial as a done subject. We’d proven it, conclusively, in a court of law.

“We naively thought that the internet would help that. All the material from the case was published online and we thought that would provide sufficient answer to anyone who could possibly doubt it. Whereas, of course, the internet has actually done the opposite.

“I wasn’t aware until recently of how Holocaust denial has now taken off online again to such an extent. I was really excited to watch the trailer for the film and I couldn’t believe the number of absolutely vile comments beneath it – about the holohoax and so on, more than 4,000 of them. It’s incredibly disturbing. It’s actually way worse now than even Irving was because they’re so abusive.”

Libson was assisting Anthony Julius in the case – another Mishcon lawyer who had made his name representing Princess Diana in her divorce. Irving lost the case – and another that he brought against the Observer over a review by Gita Sereny – but speaking from his home in the Scottish Highlands, a 40-room mansion near Nairn provided by an anonymous benefactor, he says that history has “vindicated” him.

“History evolves. The truth about the Holocaust is gradually coming out. And this is thanks to the internet. It’s how this new generation finds me. There’s a general belief among people out there that they are being misled. The people I’ve called the traditional enemy [Irving’s term for Jews] are very worried about this phenomenon. They don’t have a handle on it.

“Newspapers are dying. And the internet is suddenly there. And they don’t have an answer for it. It’s like some ugly weed they don’t know how to deal with. Eventually they will hack it down but by then it may be too late.”

Google, which owns YouTube, has come under pressure for disseminating hate speech about Jews and promoting Holocaust denial after the Observer revealed that its top results for searches around the Holocaust were directing people to denial sites. After weeks of pressure, Google agreed to make changes to its algorithm, but they are far from comprehensive. Google auto-complete still suggests the Holocaust is a “lie” and a “hoax” and still directs to neo-Nazi websites such as Stormfront, where Irving is considered an authority on the subject. He also has a presence on Facebook, where his page has gathered more than 7,000 likes.

Lipstadt said the idea that Irving had been vindicated by history was “preposterous”. “There was nothing, zilch, in the historical claims that he made. We proved that. But this is the world we are living in. Where facts don’t matter any more … and it’s absolutely terrifying.

“I’ve no idea of knowing if his claims about his newfound popularity are true or not but you’d have to be living under a rock not to see that this proliferation of racism and antisemitism is being disseminated by the internet. “This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It’s about truth and lies.”

Irving, however, says that he is speaking to people who have lost trust in mainstream sources of information. “It’s all to do with this phenomenon of people not trusting what they are told by their governments and newspapers. They seek around to find someone who provides some remedy to this. And they find me. “I am part of the remedy. It’s not just that I’m selling huge amounts of books around the world. One of the big changes of the last two years is the amount I’m getting in donations.

“It used to be small amounts, and they still come in, but people are now giving me very large sums indeed – five-figure sums. I now drive a Rolls-Royce. A beautiful car. Though money is completely unimportant to me.”

His new fans, he says, are the same people who in the US are supporting Donald Trump, who he believes will make a good president and “has his heart in the right place”. Though, he says, he is also impressed by the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. “The Labour party is tearing itself apart with these allegations about antisemitism,” he says, “but Corbyn seems like a very fine man. Maybe it’s because he’s near my age, but I’m impressed by him.”

Unknown FBI investigators #racist theguardian.com

Revealed: FBI investigated civil rights group as 'terrorism' threat and viewed KKK as victims

Bureau spied on California activists, citing potential ‘conspiracy’ against the ‘rights’ of neo-Nazis

The FBI opened a “domestic terrorism” investigation into a civil rights group in California, labeling the activists “extremists” after they protested against neo-Nazis in 2016, new documents reveal.

Federal authorities ran a surveillance operation on By Any Means Necessary (Bamn), spying on the leftist group’s movements in an inquiry that came after one of Bamn’s members was stabbed at the white supremacist rally, according to documents obtained by the Guardian. The FBI’s Bamn files reveal:

The FBI investigated Bamn for potential “conspiracy” against the “rights” of the “Ku Klux Klan” and white supremacists.

The FBI considered the KKK as victims and the leftist protesters as potential terror threats, and downplayed the threats of the Klan, writing: “The KKK consisted of members that some perceived to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda.”

The FBI’s monitoring included in-person surveillance, and the agency cited Bamn’s advocacy against “rape and sexual assault” and “police brutality” as evidence in the terrorism inquiry.

The FBI’s 46-page report on Bamn, obtained by the government transparency non-profit Property of the People through a records request, presented an “astonishing” description of the KKK, said Mike German, a former FBI agent and far-right expert who reviewed the documents for the Guardian.

The report ignored “100 years of Klan terrorism that has killed thousands of Americans and continues using violence right up to the present day”, German said. “This description of the KKK should be an embarrassment to FBI leadership.”

Shanta Driver, Bamn’s national chair, criticized the investigation in a statement to the Guardian, saying, “The FBI’s interest in BAMN is part of a long-standing policy ... Starting with their campaign to persecute and slander Dr. Martin Luther King, they have a racist history of targeting peaceful civil rights and anti-racist organizations, while doing nothing to prosecute the racists and fascists who attacked Dr. King and the movement he built.”

The FBI launched its terrorism investigation and surveillance of Bamn after white supremacists armed with knives faced off with hundreds of counter-protesters, including Bamn activists, at a June 2016 neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento. Although numerous neo-Nazis were suspected of stabbing at least seven anti-fascists in the melee, leaving some with life-threatening injuries, the FBI chose to launch a inquiry into the activities of the leftwing protesters.

The documents, though heavily redacted, did not include any conclusions from the FBI that Bamn violated laws or posed a continuing threat. Its members have not faced federal prosecution. The FBI declined to comment on Bamn.

“It’s clear the FBI dropped the investigation having no evidence of wrongdoing. It never should have been opened in the first place,” Driver said.

The 2016 rally was organized by two white supremacist groups: the Traditionalist Worker party (TWP) and an affiliated California entity, the Golden State Skinheads. California law enforcement subsequently worked with the neo-Nazis to identify counter-protesters, pursued charges against stabbing victims and other anti-fascists, and decided not to prosecute any men on the far-right for the stabbings.

The FBI appeared to have adopted a similar approach. In a redacted October 2016 document, the FBI labeled its Bamn investigation a “DT [domestic terrorism] – ANARCHIST EXTREMISM” case. The FBI’s San Francisco office wrote that it was investigating allegations that “members of Bamn attended a Ku Klux Klan rally and assaulted a Nazi supporter”. It summarized the Sacramento incident this way:

In 2016, law enforcement learned that the Ku Klux Klan would be holding a rally at the State Capitol Building … The KKK consisted of members that some perceived to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda. In response, a number of groups mobilized to protest the rally. Flyers were posted asking people to attend in order to shut down the rally.

The KKK and Traditionalist Worker party have similar ideologies but are distinct groups. It’s unclear why the FBI labeled the rally a KKK event.

The FBI’s report also appeared to obfuscate details about the political affiliations of stabbing perpetrators and victims, saying: “Several people were stabbed and hospitalized”. That’s despite the fact that California police investigators reported that neo-Nazis were seen on camera holding knives and fighting with counter-protesters (who suffered severe stab wounds).

The FBI file said its research into Bamn found that the group “lawfully exercised their First Amendment rights by engaging in peaceful protests”, but added that its “members engaged in other activity by refusing to disperse, trespassing in closed buildings, obstructing law enforcement, and shouting during and interrupting public meetings so that the meetings could not continue”.

Bamn has long advocated for racial justice and immigrants’ rights, frequently protesting at public events and organizing rallies.

The FBI report said it was “possible the actions of certain BAMN members may exceed the boundaries of protected activity and could constitute a violation of federal law”.

The “potential violations of federal law”, the FBI said, included “conspiracy against rights” and “riots”. The FBI cited Bamn’s website, which encouraged supporters to protest the KKK, featured slogans like “SMASH FASCISM!” and “NO ‘FREE SPEECH’ FOR FASCISTS!”, and celebrated the “mass, militant demonstration” that “shut down” the neo-Nazi rally. The FBI also included screenshots of Bamn pages that referenced a number of the group’s other advocacy issues, including campaigns against “rape and sexual assault” and “police brutality”.

The FBI files further included mentions of Yvette Felarca, a Bamn member who was stabbed at the rally, but is now facing state charges of assault and rioting. (Her lawyers have argued in court that the police investigators and prosecutors were biased against anti-fascists and worked to protect neo-Nazis).

Driver, who is also Felarca’s attorney, said the FBI should have mentioned that Felarca was “stabbed and bludgeoned by a fascist in Sacramento”. She added: “Instead of finding the person who assaulted anti-racist protesters, the FBI chose to target BAMN, which by their own admission holds demonstrations that are protected by the First Amendment.”

The bureau’s justifications of the investigation and surveillance were disturbing, said Ryan Shapiro, executive director of Property of the People. “The FBI discovered that these protesters once shouted at a meeting and somehow that evidence was mobilized to support a full-fledged terrorism investigation,” he noted.

In November 2016, the FBI engaged in surveillance of a protest outside the Berkeley school district, according to the Bamn files. Due to the redactions, it’s unclear whom the FBI was watching, though the report noted that the FBI observed “several children … sitting outside … with signs next to them”.

The FBI report said its investigation and surveillance were not “intended to associate the protected activity with criminality or a threat to national security, or to infer that such protected activity itself violates federal law”. The report continued:

However, based on known intelligence and/or specific, historical observations, it is possible the protected activity could invite a violent reaction towards the subject individuals or groups, or the activity could be used as a means to target law enforcement. In the event no violent reaction occurs, FBI policy and federal law dictates that no further record be made of the protected activity.

Property of the People’s records requests broadly sought FBI documents on anti-fascists. The FBI did not release additional Bamn records beyond 2016.

The FBI’s insinuation that Bamn’s actions could provoke violence was odd, said German, the former FBI agent, who is now a Brennan Center fellow. He noted that it was white supremacists “who have used this tactic for decades” and said the violent provocations of rightwing groups were well known when he worked on domestic terrorism for the FBI in the 1990s. The Bamn report, he said, gave the “appearance of favoritism toward one of the oldest and most active terrorist groups in history”.

He added that the report should have made clear that the “KKK consists of members who have a bloody history of racial and anti-Semitic violence and intimidation and is known for staging public spectacles for the specific purpose of inciting imminent violence”.

Asked whether the Bamn investigation was ongoing and whether the FBI had opened any equivalent inquiry into the neo-Nazis in California, an FBI spokesperson said the bureau does not confirm or deny the existence of specific investigations. “We cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, natural origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights,” the FBI said in a statement. “The FBI does not and will not police ideology.”

The bureau “investigates activity which may constitute a federal crime or pose a threat to national security”, the statement added.

The Bamn case follows numerous recent controversies surrounding the FBI’s targeting of leftist groups, including a terrorism investigation into Standing Rock activists, surveillance of black activists, and spying on peaceful climate change protesters.

The justice department inspector general previously criticized the FBI for using non-violent civil disobedience and speculation of future crimes to justify terrorism investigations against domestic advocacy groups, German noted, adding that the Bamn files suggest the FBI “seems to have learned nothing from these previous overreaches”.

Even knowing the FBI’s legacy of going after activists, the report was still shocking, said Shapiro.

“A bunch of anti-fascists showed up at a Nazi rally and were attacked by Nazis, and the response form the bureau was to launch a domestic terrorism investigation into the anti-fascists,” he said. “At its core, the FBI is, as it has always been, a political police force that primarily targets the left.”

Lu Shaye #fundie theguardian.com

China’s ambassador accuses Canada of ‘white supremacy’ in Huawei CFO arrest

Ambassador Lu Shaye wrote in an op-ed for an Ottawa-based paper that western countries are employing a ‘double standard’

China’s ambassador to Canada has accused the country of “white supremacy” in calling for the release of two Canadians detained in China last month.

The arrests were in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a top Chinese tech executive in Canada.

But Ambassador Lu Shaye said in an op-ed in the Ottawa-based Hill Times on Wednesday that western countries are employing a “double standard” in demanding the immediate release of the Canadians.

“The reason why some people are used to arrogantly adopting double standards is due to western egotism and white supremacy,” Lu wrote.

“What they have been doing is not showing respect for the rule of law, but mocking and trampling the rule of law.”

China detained Canadian ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor on 10 December 2018 on vague allegations of “engaging in activities that endanger the national security” of China.

The arrests came 10 days after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the request of the US, which wants her extradited to face charges that she misled banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran. A Canadian judge granted Meng bail while she awaits extradition proceedings.

Le wrote that “elites” in Canada are completely dismissing China’s law by demanding the immediate release of the Canadians.

“It seems that, to some people, only Canadian citizens shall be treated in a humanitarian manner and their freedom deemed valuable, while Chinese people do not deserve that,” Lu said.

Lu also wrote that Meng was arrested without violating any Canadian law, suggesting that Canada should never detain someone for extradition.

Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, called Lu’s claims “hogwash”.

“I don’t know what the ambassador was trying to accomplish but his article won’t help China’s cause,” Paris said.

Paris noted Canada is following extradition law while the Canadians were seized in China under suspicious circumstances and China has held them without charge.

Julian Ku, the senior associate dean for academic affairs at Hofstra Law, noted China has still not revealed any specific information about what Kovrig and Spavor are charged with and have not given them a judicial hearing and thus Canada is not wrong with calling the arrests arbitrary.

“I am struck by how brazen they are being by making this appeal,” Ku said. “He says: ‘You are being racist by not respecting our law.’ That’s an easy card to play.”

Lu also seemed to admit detaining the Canadians was in retaliation for the Meng arrest.

“I have recently heard a word repeatedly pronounced by some Canadians: bullying. They said that by arresting two Canadian citizens as retaliation for Canada’s detention of Meng, China was bullying Canada. To those people, China’s self-defence is an offence to Canada,” Lu wrote.

Alex Lawrence, a spokesman for Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, did not address Lu’s claims.

Huawei, whose billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei has long had ties with both the People’s Liberation Army and the Communist party, has faced national security concerns in multiple countries.

Huawei has been banned from involvement in the installation of 5G mobile networks in India, New Zealand and Australia, blocked from making acquisitions in the US and banned from selling phones on military bases by the Pentagon.

But, in his column, Lu dismissed such concerns and instead pointed to monitoring and spying programs carried out by the US National Security Agency and the Five Eyes alliance countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US).

“Something is considered as ‘safeguarding national security’ when it is done by western countries. But it is termed ‘conducting espionage’ when done by China. What’s the logic?” he wrote.

wetnap #conspiracy theguardian.com

Social Justice Warriors are not a tiny subset of writers. They infest all the major media venues, all the major forums and even reddit. Mass production of slanted articles has been seen and noted by the likes of youtuber Internet Aristocrat, its not surprise that all those sites came out with their "gamer is dead" articles on the same day. All these sites suppress information, enact mass bans on commenters for making them look bad by criticising them with the truth, and even on reddit, a moderator who had personal contact with Zoe Quinn just mass deleted tens of thousands of comments sight unseen. Its level of abuse of power which is hard to stomach, and its not a small subset, its almost all the major venues, and the rest who are even slightly stand offish on the issue still give their ideas credence, even weak support is support. And of course this is once again amplified by the main stream media, which sources its news about gaming and such issues from the corrupt gaming media.

You see, even when "journalists" try to appear fair by ceding a little ground they aren't. There is no middle ground against the truth. There is only truth. When accusations against gamers are made without any substantive evidence, they should be called on it. Instead we see just tacit acknowledgement that this is just a presumed fact. But its not.

Just some back of the envelope calculations/logic tells you this. How many gamers are there in the US alone? Industry figures say 200 million+, now discount half as women, and you have 100 million. How many supposed threats against Anita? I doubt it was anything more than double digits, if that(her claims are dubious). I'll give you 100 threats for the sake of argument. Whats 100 threats out of 100 million? Its 0.000001%
So we see "journalists" lecturing all gamers over 0.000001% of the population. Ask yourself, how many African Americans are felons? Its 7.7% based on felony disenfranchisement numbers, and yet, we don't start off every conversation involving a black person with a lecture about crime do we? It would be labeled for what it was, bigotry of the highest order, insulting, patronizing and just not something to be tolerated. Yet we see "journalists" lecturing gamers over the supposed behavior of 0.000001% of the population, its simply intolerable.

Anyways youtubers who have covered this entire issue better

Internet Aristocrat
Thunderf00t
JordanOwen42
Dangerous Analysis
Sargon of Akkad
Investig8tiveJoournalism
Gaming Anarchist
The Fantastic Skeptic
Aurini
Karen Straughan -Honey badger radio
Anyone who wants to see what's not being covered...those are a good watch.

William Bader, Steven Johnson and the KKK #fundie theguardian.com

Outside the South Carolina statehouse, William Bader stood tall and defiant as he brandished a large Confederate battle flag. It was not unlike the one embroidered on his black shirt, or the one a local honor guard recently removed from a flagpole outside the legislative building where he protested.

Bader, an imperial wizard in the Trinity White Knights, drove hundreds of miles from Kentucky – or, rather, “Klantucky”, as he quipped – to Columbia, all in hopes of defending the flag on a sweltering Saturday afternoon.

“They took our flag, so be it,” said Bader, a member of the Ku Klux Klan for the past two decades. “They’re taking our heritage from us. They’re taking the freedom out of America.”

More than a week ago, South Carolina lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to take down the Confederate flag from its prominent position on the statehouse grounds. The controversial decision, which followed a racially motivated 17 June shooting that left nine African American men and women dead inside a historic Charleston church, prompted competing rallies between white supremacist and black activist groups.

The Loyal White Knights, a North Carolina-based group thought to be the largest KKK faction, scheduled the protest to stop the removal of the flag. The group decided to carry on regardless. They received support from other KKK factions, National Socialist Movement members and Christian fundamentalists.

“The blacks have been out here attacking people, stealing people’s property, taking their flags,” said Steven Johnson, a South Carolina father of two who was among those waving Nazi flags during the rally. “I’m scared of what my family’s about to grow up with.”

Forgoing their notorious hoods, more than 50 protesters brandished flags and yelled racial epithets at minority onlookers from behind the protection of steel barricades, watched by dozens of law enforcement officers. According to Bader, some KKK members had planned to hold a church burning, wearing the infamous Klan uniforms.

Various Chinese officials and journos #conspiracy theguardian.com

One of the most popular topics on the Chinese microblog Weibo on Thursday was a one-minute clip of a US congressional hearing this week on how the country was dealing with the coronavirus.

In the video posted by the People’s Daily, Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is asked whether there may have been deaths attributed to influenza that could actually have been the result of Covid-19. Redfield responds in the affirmative: “Some cases have been actually diagnosed that way in the United States today.”

Redfield’s vague answer was enough to add fuel to a conspiracy theory that has been gaining traction over the past two weeks in China – that the coronavirus did not originate in China but may have come from the US instead.

“The US has finally acknowledged that among those who had died of the influenza previously were cases of the coronavirus. The true source of the virus was the US!” one commentator said. “The US owes the world, especially China, an apology,” another said. “American coronavirus,” one wrote.

The theory has gained traction over the past few weeks, after a respected epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan, said in a passing remark at a press conference on 27 February that although the virus first appeared in China “it may not have originated in China”.

Zhong later clarified his statement, saying that the first place where a disease is discovered does not “equate to it being the source”. He told reporters: “But neither can we conclude that the virus came from abroad. Only through investigation and tracing can we answer that question.”

Yet only Zhong’s first comment has stuck, repeated by Chinese diplomats, state media and officials who have subtly encouraged the idea.

On Thursday, a foreign ministry spokesman suggested without evidence the US military might have brought the virus to the Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak. Zhao Lijian accused the US of lacking transparency, saying on Twitter: “When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”

China’s ambassador to South Africa said last week on Twitter that the virus was not necessarily “made in China”.

An editorial in Xinhua last week also echoed Zhong: “The epidemic was first reported in China but that does not mean it necessarily originated in China … The WHO has said many times that Covid-19 is a global phenomenon with its source still undetermined.”

Officials have framed the campaign as a protest against the “politicisation” of the outbreak by countries such as the US, where some officials have continued to use the terms “Chinese coronavirus” or “Wuhan virus,” despite the World Health Organization’s discouragement. But analysts say China may be looking to deflect blame as the coronavirus spreads around the world.

“We might be heading into first global recession caused by Chinese Communist party mismanagement,” wrote Bill Bishop, author of the China newsletter Sinocism. “Previous manmade disasters in China since 1949 never really spread outside the People’s Republic of China’s borders in meaningful ways.”

“This time looks to be different … And that is likely one of the reasons the propaganda apparatus and PRC officials are pushing so hard the idea that virus may not have originated in China,” he wrote.

For weeks, Chinese state media pointed to a seafood market in Wuhan as the likely origin for the virus while researchers said the source had not yet been determined, but few have floated the idea that it came from outside of China. Another respected Chinese researcher, Zhang Wenhong, said in an interview with the China Daily that he did not believe the virus had been imported into China.

“If that was the case, we should have seen patients emerging from different regions in the country around the same time rather than their concentration in Wuhan,” he said, in comments that later appeared to have been removed from the interview.

“I think the consensus is still clearly that the virus did originate in China,” said Jane Duckett, professor at the Scottish Centre for China Research, University of Glasgow, focusing on Chinese policy and health.

“This would appear to be a nationalist narrative aimed at countering criticism of the Chinese government for not better managing the outbreak in its early stages,” she said.

Shifting the narrative may also be important as China tries to move forward, now that new infections appear to have levelled off. This week, the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, visited Wuhan for the first time since the outbreak began as state media pronounced “victory is near”. State media showed elaborate celebrations marking the closure of the last of the temporary hospitals in Wuhan.

“This is a propaganda effort aimed at the domestic audience. Among the Chinese public, there is a general awareness that delays in notifying the public led to many more infections in Wuhan,” said Victor Shih, a politics professor at the University of California, San Diego.

He said: “This campaign is aimed at distracting the public from the party’s delayed response.”

Binyamin Lipkin #fundie theguardian.com

A small Jewish ultra-Orthodox newspaper in Israel has found itself in the spotlight after digitally removing Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel from a photo of this week’s Paris march.

World leaders had linked arms to march in Paris against terrorism after Islamic extremists killed 17 people. At the march, Merkel stood in the front row between the French president, François Hollande, and Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

But readers of the Hamevaser newspaper’s Monday edition didn’t know, as she had been digitally removed, leaving Abbas standing next to Hollande. Israeli media joked it was meant to bring Abbas closer to Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu, who was standing nearby.

Within the insular ultra-Orthodox community, pictures of women are rarely shown, due to modesty concerns. In Jerusalem, ultra-Orthodox vandals frequently deface buses and billboards with advertising deemed to be immodest.

The picture in Hamevaser also cut out other women, like the Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, though the newspaper clumsily left her dark glove on the sleeve of a marcher. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, was cropped out.

Binyamin Lipkin, editor of Hamevaser, said the newspaper is a family publication that must be suitable for all audiences, including young children.

“The eight-year-old can’t see what I don’t want him to see,” he told Israel’s Channel 10 television station. “True, a picture of Angela Merkel should not ruin the child, but if I draw a line, I have to put it there from the bottom all the way to the top.”

He also said he did not want to tarnish the memories of the people killed in the attacks.

“Including a picture of a woman into something so sacred, as far as we are concerned, it can desecrate the memory of the martyrs and not the other way around,” he said.

Demonstrators and the Minute newspaper #fundie theguardian.com

A formal investigation has been launched over a racist slur made by a French far-right magazine against the country's justice minister.

On the cover of this week's edition, Minute magazine taunted Christiane Taubira with the headline: "Crafty as a monkey, Taubira gets her banana back". It is the third racist attack on Taubira in as many weeks and has provoked outrage and soul searching in France across political divides.

A member of the far-right National Front was suspended after comparing Taubira to a monkey in a recent television interview, and during a visit to the city of Angers, the minister faced children waving bananas. One 11-year-old girl shouted: "Monkey, eat your banana".

[...]

The headline is a play on words: banana can also be used as slang for a broad smile.


NB:bolding added

The Trump administration #fundie theguardian.com

Trump administration trying to define transgender out of existence – report

The Trump administration is attempting to strip transgender people of official recognition by creating a narrow definition of gender as being only male or female and unchangeable once determined at birth, the New York Times reported.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has undertaken an effort across several departments to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex, the Times said, citing a government memo.

That definition would be as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals a person is born with, the Times reported.

Such an interpretation would reverse the expansion of transgender rights that took place under President Barack Obama.

It would also set back aspirations for tolerance and equality among the estimated 0.7% of the population that identifies as transgender. Most transgender people live with a profound sense that the gender assigned to them at birth was wrong and transition to the opposite sex. Others live a non-binary or gender-fluid life.

A HHS spokeswoman declined to comment on what she called “allegedly leaked documents” but cited a ruling by a conservative US district judge as a guide to transgender policy.

In Texas in 2016, ruling on a challenge to one aspect of the Affordable Care Act, judge Reed O’Connor found there was no protection against discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

A leading transgender advocate called the government’s reported action a “super aggressive, dismissive, dangerous move”.

“They are saying we don’t exist,” said Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Rights.

The Obama administration enacted regulations and followed court rulings that protected transgender people from discrimination, upsetting religious conservatives.

The Trump administration has sought to ban transgender people from military service and rescinded guidance to public schools recommending that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.

A draft of the Trump administration memo says gender should be determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable”, the memo says, according to the Times.

Medical science seeking to explain what makes people transgender is in its infancy. Psychiatrists no longer consider being transgender a disorder and several US courts have found the Obama interpretation of protecting transgender people against discrimination to be sound.

But the Trump administration has chosen to abide by the ruling of O’Connor, the Times said.

“The court order remains in full force and effect today and HHS is abiding by it as we continue to review the issue,” Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, said in a statement.

Unknown CPC authorities #fundie #racist theguardian.com

China accused of rapid campaign to take Muslim children from their families

Relatives tell of more than 100 missing children amid reports of Xinjiang boarding school building drive

China is reportedly separating Muslim children from their families, religion and language, and is engaged in a rapid, large-scale campaign to build boarding schools for them.

The attempts to “remove children from their roots” exists in parallel to Beijing’s ongoing detention of an estimated 1 million Uighur adults from the western Xinjiang region in camps and sweeping crackdown on the rights of the minority group, the BBC reported.

“I don’t know who is looking after them,” one mother told the BBC, pointing to a picture of her three young daughters. “There is no contact at all.”

The BBC says its investigation is based on publicly available documents, and backed up by dozens of interviews with family members living overseas. In 60 separate interviews, parents and other relatives gave details of the disappearance of more than 100 children in Xinjiang, all of them Uighurs – members of the region’s largest and mostly Muslim ethnic group.

“I heard that they’ve been taken to an orphanage,” another woman said, holding a photograph of her four children.

In one township alone, more than 400 children have lost one or more parents to either the camps or prison, it reports.

A Chinese state media outlet called overseas reports on China’s mass detainment of Uighur Muslims in internment camps “fake news” and published detailed denials of eight “rumours”, on the 10th anniversary of the Urumqi riots, in which at least 140 people were killed and 828 injured. Many Uighurs say the riots precipitated the increasing oppression of Muslims in the region.

“Despite China’s efforts to tell what is really happening in Xinjiang, some western media and politicians insist on making and spreading fake news,” said an editorial in the Global Times, a tabloid run by the official newspaper of the Chinese communist party, the People’s Daily.

The denials contradict well-documented evidence from media outlets and researchers. China initially denied the existence of the camps in Xinjiang, which is home to about 12 million Muslims. But last year, it began rebranding them as “free vocational training”, claiming those detained within them are taught language, culture and vocational skills.

The editorial, published shortly after midnight, denies Uighurs are being targeted and mistreated, that the state is looking to wipe out their history and culture, and that they were sent to “vocational training centres” for being Muslim.

It also denies there were a million people being held at these centres, says the camps were there for “counter-terrorism and deradicalisation efforts”, and the centres existed to “nip terrorist activities in the bud”.

An earlier BBC report showed a teacher describing inmates as “affected by religious extremism”, and saying that the purpose of the camps was “to get rid of their extremist thoughts”.

The prominent Uighur author Nurmuhammad Tohti, 70, died after being held in one of the re-education camps.

His granddaughter said he had been denied treatment for diabetes and heart disease, and was released only once his medical condition meant he had become incapacitated.

China has in recent weeks invited media outlets to view these camps, but has tightly controlled their access to the facilities and detainees.

Indonesian lawmakers #fundie theguardian.com

Indonesia seeks to ban negative 'foreign' influences on music

Artists concerned that draft bill, which follows outcry over K-pop band, will destroy freedom of expression

Hundreds of musicians in Indonesia have lashed out against what they say is a ludicrous draft bill that could “destroy” freedom of expression.

Among the most contentious aspects of the draft is Article 5, which outlaws “negative foreign influences” as well as blasphemous or pornographic content, punishable by imprisonment or a fine.

The article states: “In creating, everyone is prohibited from […] bringing negative influences from foreign cultures or demeaning a human being’s dignity.”

Jerinx, a member of the Indonesian punk-rock band Superman is Dead, is one of 200 musicians who have criticised the proposed legislation.

Writing on his Instagram account, Jerinx said the draft bill would “rape his rights of freedom of expression, and eventually destroy them”.

The Balinese drummer also pointed to what he described as “high-level hypocrisy” from the Indonesian government, given that President Joko Widodo is widely known as a fan of foreign heavy metal bands such as Metallica.

The exact target of the bill is unclear, although there is occasional uproar about the perceived immorality of foreign popstars.

In December a TV ad featuring members of the K-pop all girl band, Blackpink, which showed them wearing miniskirts and short dresses, was pulled after the broadcasting commission said it flouted decency and moral norms. In 2012 Lady Gaga was forced to cancel a sold-out concert in Jakarta after Islamic hardliners threatened to physically stop her from getting off the plane.

Indonesian musician Kartika Jahja said the bill, which “came out of nowhere”, had in recent days united artists from across the country and musical spectrum to form a coalition to reject the bill.

“Everyone is concerned because there are so many problematic chapters inside the draft,” Jahja told the Guardian, “For me personally the first one is the chapter that regulates the content of music, that it cannot contain negative influences from the West and blasphemy and so on. I think that is a very dangerous ground, if that bill is passed, to silence musicians because music is one of the greatest and biggest agitators for various social and political movements in this country.”

The coalition launched a petition against the draft law on change.org on Sunday evening, which by Monday had been signed by more than 65,000 people.

In addition to overlapping with existing copyright and other laws, the draft bill on music further contradicts Indonesia’s 1945 Constitution, which upholds freedom of expression in a democratic state, the petition states.

Designated as a priority bill by the House of Representatives, the draft bill has been widely condemned online, trending on Twitter with the hashtag #TolakRUUPermusikan, which translates as: “reject the draft music law”.

Concerned the bill will “shackle freedom of expression”, a group of Indonesian musicians met with lawmakers to discuss the it last week, calling for comprehensive discussion with artists and industry players and further consideration before the legislation is tabled.

Catholic Church and Irish State #fundie theguardian.com

It is true, as survivors said it was. Under a small patch of grass by a playground in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland, the bodies of the children who died in the local Mother and Baby home lie in unmarked graves. The Mother and Baby homes of Ireland – the last of which closed in 1996 – were run like punishment hostels for unmarried pregnant women. Their children were taken for adoption, fostering or the horror of the industrial schools, or they died in their thousands, of malnutrition and neglect. In some cases the bodies were used for dissection in medical schools.

This was veiled until two years ago when an amateur historian, Catherine Corless, learnt that 796 children had died at Tuam between 1925 and 1961; but where, she asked, were the graves? An inquiry was established and has now partially excavated the Tuam site. (The home has been replaced with a housing estate. Hence the ghoulish – and preposterous – playground.) Remains of children aged from those prematurely born to three years old have been found; Corless, then, is vindicated.

You might say that, for survivors, stonewalled and ignored by the Irish state and Catholic church for decades, denied their birth records and medical histories – essentially, their identities – and thwarted in their attempts to find their families, this is a victory.

[...]

The inquiry will deal with the 35,000 inmates and children of the nine homes, and a small number of associated institutions operated by various religious orders on behalf of the state – plus a few county homes. Some of these orders – such as the Sisters of Bon Secours and the order of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary – are still active, and thriving; the Bon Secours, for example, is wealthy enough to hire a public relations consultant who, two years ago, denied the existence of the burial pit at Tuam. But there is a second web of institutions that also removed children from their mothers. These included private nursing homes, public hospitals and so-called holding centres and orphanages for children who were not orphans; or, if they were, the state had made them so.

Other children were taken from private homes, or by small adoption agencies and societies. One – the Catholic Rescue and Protection Society – operated in the UK under the auspices of a Dublin priest. Its job was to return fleeing pregnant women to Ireland, and the homes. One woman made this journey at full term. If you seek evidence of the physical welfare of these women and their children, look only to her testimony, and the burial pits.

[...]

Nigel Farage #conspiracy #racist #fundie theguardian.com

Nigel Farage under fire over 'antisemitic tropes' on far-right US talkshow

Exclusive: Brexit party leader referred to ‘new world order’ in interviews with Alex Jones

Nigel Farage is facing strong criticism from Jewish organisations and a series of other groups after it emerged he repeatedly took part in interviews with a far-right US talkshow host, during which the Brexit party leader openly discussed conspiracy theories, some of which have been linked to antisemitism.

A Guardian investigation has found Farage has appeared at least six times on the show of Alex Jones, who was sued by bereaved parents after claiming a US school shooting was faked, and was banned permanently from Facebook last week.

Among those expressing alarm at the spread of conspiracy theories is a father whose six-year-old son died in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, and a man whose son died in the London bombings on 7 July 2005, which Jones has claimed were a government plot.

Farage, who led Ukip for many years, quit the party last year because he said he disliked its hard-right, anti-Islam stance under Gerard Batten. However, the website that Jones fronts, Infowars, regularly features anti-Islam stories.

In his various appearances on Jones’s show, Farage discussed themes commonly associated with an antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jewish financiers are behind a plot to replace nation states with a global government.

In the six identified interviews, which date from 2009 to last year, Farage, whose Brexit party is leading polls for the upcoming European elections, repeatedly uses words and phrases such as “globalists” and “new world order”, which regularly feature in antisemitic ideas.

In the interviews, Farage also says:

Members of the annual Bilderberg gathering of political and business leaders are plotting a global government.

The banking and political systems are working “hand in glove” in an attempt to disband nation states.

“Globalists” are trying to engineer a world war as a means to introduce a worldwide government.

Climate change is a “scam” intended to push forward this transnational government.

In the most recent interview, filmed in April last year, Farage said the EU is “the prototype for the new world order”, and “globalists have wanted to have some form of conflict with Russia as an argument for us all to surrender our national sovereignty and give it up to a higher global level”.

In an earlier interview with Jones, who is also banned from Twitter, Farage mentions Bilderberg, saying: “These lunatics genuinely believe that they know what’s best for us, genuinely believe in this concept of global government, and it will be a disaster.”

Later in the same interview, from June 2010, Farage argues Bilderberg members, along with other supposed plotters, could soon start “censoring and maybe ultimately even imprisoning those who challenge them and fight them”.

A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “It is vital that our politicians distance themselves from conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists, including those who trade in antisemitic tropes. We would call on Nigel Farage to repudiate these ideas and to commit not to dignify oddball nasties like Alex Jones with his presence again.”

The Community Security Trust, which monitors antisemitic sentiment, said Jones was “a notorious conspiracy theorist who should be beyond the pale for any mainstream politician”.

A spokesman said: “Furthermore, for Jones’s conspiracy-minded audience, Farage’s references to ‘globalists’ and ‘new world order’ will be taken as familiar codewords for antisemitic conspiracy theories.”

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said Farage’s close links with Jones and Infowars “demonstrates a serious lack of judgment by Mr Farage and a willingness to tolerate Islamophobia”.

The Labour MP David Lammy said the interviews showed “serious questions should be asked about Farage’s associations and networks”.

He added: “His indulgence in conspiracy theories about a ‘new world order’ should send chills down the spine of all who are aware of how these tropes have been used in the past.”

Graham Foulkes, whose 22-year-old son, David, was among 52 people killed by Islamist attackers on 7 July 2005, said he was aghast at Farage’s decision to be interviewed by Jones so many times.

“It fills you with despair that such a high-profile politician could even consider giving people like that the time of day,” he said. “It’s hard to understand. There can be no rational motivation to speak to people who are, shall we say, in need of help.”

Lenny Pozner, whose six-year-old son, Noah, was the youngest of 26 people shot dead at Sandy Hook, has sued Jones for saying the massacre was faked. In a recent legal deposition, Jones said he had argued this because of “psychosis”.

In a statement to the Guardian, Pozner said: “When people hear stories like mine, where conspiracy theorists or purveyors of fake news are destroying an individual or a family, they often feel sympathy or express their shock or horror over the ways that these people are affecting our lives. But many fail to realise that this behaviour doesn’t simply affect me or other victims of mass-casualty events.

“When people in positions of authority or influence consume, perpetrate, and regurgitate conspiracy theories, they legitimise the lie, they normalise the hate, and build policy that affects every citizen on this planet.”

Farage and the Brexit party were contacted for comment.
April 2018

Jones: “Why is the left allied with radical Islam?”

Farage: “Because they hate Christianity. They deny, absolutely, our Judeo-Christian culture, which if you think about it actually are the roots, completely, of our nations and our civilisation. They deny that. They also want to abolish the nation state – they want to get rid of it. They want to replace it with the globalist project, and the European Union is the prototype for the new world order.”
August 2016

Farage: “If America, as the leader of the western world, once again becomes the leader of the free world, well then I think, basically, we will have done away with the globalists.”
November 2012

Farage: “The fact is that the banking system and politics became hand in glove – one and the same thing. And that’s been a complete disaster. The amazing thing is, we have had elected prime ministers in Greece and Italy removed by the bully boy bureaucrats and replaced by former Goldman Sachs employees. You honestly cannot believe what is going on.”

June 2010

Farage: “You mention yourself the Bilderberg group – these lunatics genuinely believe that they know what’s best for us, genuinely believe in this concept of global government, and it will be a disaster.”
February 2010

Farage: “Yes, it all fits together, doesn’t it? Hand in glove – the big businesses, the bureaucrats, they have the sole right to make laws. It all fits together. They’re all very happy with the world they’re creating.”
December 2009

Farage: “We have a political class across the world that are basically aiming for a form of global governance. If you don’t believe me, look at what’s happening in Copenhagen. Governments are sitting there trying to sign us up to treaties on a very, very questionable concept of global warming caused by C02 emissions.”

Mike Huckabee #fundie theguardian.com

The Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on Sunday said same-sex marriage was like drinking and swearing – a concept appealing to others but not to him as a Christian.

The former Arkansas governor, appearing on CNN, said forcing people opposed to same-sex marriage to accept it was the same as telling Jews they had to serve “bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli”.

“We’re not going to do that,” he said, adding: “We’re not going to ask a Muslim to serve up, ah, something that is offensive to him, to have dogs in his backyard.

“We’re so sensitive to make sure we don’t offend certain religions, but then we act like Christians can’t have the convictions that they have had for over 2,000 years.”

Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, showed strongly in the 2008 Republican primaries, winning the Iowa caucus. In January, he announced he was quitting his Fox News show in order to explore another run for the presidency in 2016.

“I’d like to think there is room in America for people to disagree instead of screaming and shouting and having to shut their businesses down,” he said, adding: “People can be my friends who have lifestyles that are not necessarily my lifestyle. I don’t shut people out of my circle or out of my life because they have a different point of view.

“I don’t drink alcohol, but gosh – a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do. You know, I don’t use profanity, but believe me, I’ve got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera – it’s not my cup of tea.”

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Alabama could become the 37th state to allow it, pending the outcome of a legal fight stoked by resistance by the state government to a judge’s repeated rulings. The US supreme court is due to rule on the issue this year.

Same-sex marriages occurred in Huckabee’s home state, Arkansas, in May 2014, but are currently on hold pending an appeal. The state banned the practice in a 2004 constitutional amendment that was approved by voters.

Polls show 30% support for same-sex marriage among voters who identify themselves as Republicans.

“For me … this is not just a political issue,” Huckabee said. “It is a biblical issue. And unless I get a new version of the scriptures it’s really not my place to just say, ‘OK, I’m just going to evolve.’”

Huckabee is currently promoting a book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, which heralds what he says are the values of the states located between the more liberal east and west coasts. The book has courted some controversy, notably over his contention that President Obama was unwise to let his teenage daughters listen to music by Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

Huckabee did not answer a question about whether he thought being gay was a choice, but said he appreciated different viewpoints on gay marriage and was friends with gay people.

HanAssholeSolo #racist theguardian.com

On Sunday, Donald Trump caused outrage with a tweet that appeared to contain a repurposed post by a Reddit user: a gif showing the president wrestling to the ground a figure with a CNN logo for a head.

[...]

“Holy shit!!” HanAssholeSolo wrote at 11.11am. “I wake up and have my morning coffee and who retweets my shitpost but the MAGA EMPORER [sic] himself!!! I am honored!!”

Three hours earlier, HanAssholeSolo had been taking part in a discussion on the “Reddit pics” section of the website. Another user had posted a photo of a banner which said: “Totally failed at life? Then why not blame a foreigner.”
HanAssholeSolo wrote: “In America it’s blame the white person.”

On Monday, the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In the face of condemnation from Republicans, Democrats and free press groups, Trump has not commented on his Sunday tweet.

HanAssholeSolo also did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The user appeared to have deleted a series of posts after Trump tweeted the CNN video, but screengrabs collected by Quartz and other outlets showed a series of disturbing remarks.

HanAssholeSolo has repeatedly railed against the perceived mistreatment of white people and denigrated other races using shocking and abusive language.

In May the user took part in a discussion, which appears to have been deleted, and described someone as a “nigger” before asking: “Explain to me why a weekend doesn’t go by where 80 of you fucking moon crickets aren’t shooting each other down in Shitcago [Chicago]? Why you dumb fucking nignogs can’t attend a rap concert without someone being shot up?”

He went on to make further offensive remarks about black people in the same thread.

In reply to another poster, he wrote: “500,000 dead Muslims is a good start. Kill the rest and I’ll be impressed. Good keep up the good work until the last Islamic piece of shit is wiped from the planet.”

In other posts, HanAssholeSolo used the terms “goatfucker”, “faggot” and “retard”. On 13 June, he posted an image showing dozens of CNN hosts and employees, each with a star of David attached and with the caption: “Something strange about CNN … can’t quite put my finger on it.”

Bobby Ray Simmons Jr #conspiracy theguardian.com

Bobby Ray Simmons Jr, better known as BoB, American rapper and music producer, believes that the Earth is flat, according to recent tweets from his account.

The rapper – who has released hits Nothin’ on You, Airplanes and Magic – posted dozens of tweets, presenting a variety of arguments as to why modern science is wrong.

“A lot of people are turned off by the phrase ‘flat earth’ ... but there’s no way u can see all the evidence and not know... grow up,” he tweeted.

He argued that if the Earth were indeed curved, evidence of that would be apparent when looking at the horizon in the distance and distant cities would be hidden from view because of curvature.

“No matter how high in elevation you are... the horizon is always eye level ... sorry cadets... I didn’t wanna believe it either,” the rapper tweeted.

He shut down any and all attempts from followers to question his evidence, turning their questions about his theories back on them. When one user asked how no edge of the Earth had been discovered, if it were indeed flat, BoB responded: “Have u been to the edge ? or is that what your science book told you”?

“Well, at least ppl are better at insulting me than they are at thinking,” the rapper added.

[...]

BoB assured his followers that if they simply did the research, they too would come to the same conclusion that he had.

“Don’t believe what I say, research what I say,” he tweeted.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority #fundie theguardian.com

A man groomed online and sexually abused by a string of older men when he was 13 has been denied compensation because the agency that handles claims says he “consented” to the assaults.

Peter, who is now 19, was abused by 21 men, two of them teachers, who all acted independently. They were found guilty of charges including sexual activity with a child, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and meeting a child after sexual grooming.

A judge who presided over most of the cases made it clear that Peter was not to blame, describing the actions of one perpetrator as vile and depraved.

But the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, the government agency that makes financial awards to victims of violent crime, has refused Peter compensation on the grounds that he “willingly” met the men after registering on websites for over 18s, had not been manipulated and “consented in fact” to the sexual contact. Human rights organisation Liberty is appealing the ruling.

Peter (not his real name), who needed psychiatric help for five years following the abuse, told the Guardian he was shocked and distressed by CICA’s decision.

“I was a child being manipulated and used. After years of people telling me the men were in the wrong and I was a victim, having a government-linked agency telling me it was all consensual was very, very upsetting,” he said.

“I can’t believe we’re actually having to fight them on this. I felt like they were saying, ‘you did this to yourself, so why should we help you?’”

Steve King #racist theguardian.com

Trump ally Steve King: I don't know how 'white supremacist' became offensive term

The Republican congressman says the diverse Democratic party appears to be ‘no country for white men’

A nine-term Republican congressman and close ally of Donald Trump known for making racially provocative statements said in an interview published Thursday that he did not understand why the phrases “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” had “become offensive”.

Congressman Steve King, who has represented his rural Iowa district in Washington since 2003, made the remarks in an interview with the New York Times.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

In the same interview, King expressed a sense of racial alienation at the swearing-in of the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, which includes a record number of women and people of color, as well as the first Muslim American and Native American women elected to Congress.

“You could look over there and think the Democratic party is no country for white men,” King said.

King, who has forged personal alliances with far-right, anti-immigration groups across Europe, has a long track record of making statements widely perceived as racist, although he denies the charge.

“We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” he has tweeted. He has called illegal immigration a “slow-rolling, slow-motion terrorist attack on the United States” and a “slow-motion Holocaust” and tweeted: “Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.”

King has amassed national political power as a conservative gatekeeper in a state that votes first in the presidential primary process and can give Republican candidates a crucial early boost – or sink a candidacy.

When Trump began visiting Iowa as a candidate, he found an ideological ally, particularly on issues such as immigration.

King has long advocated building a wall on the Mexican border, authored legislation to make English the official language of Iowa and has said of immigrants: “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130lb and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75lb of marijuana across the desert.”

“He may be the world’s most conservative human being,” Trump approvingly said of King at a rally in Iowa before the recent midterm elections. The congressman replied on Twitter: “I do my best to pull President Trump to the right:-)”

But King’s repeated provocations appear to have made him freshly vulnerable to political challengers. He beat a Democratic opponent in his most recent election only narrowly, in a district Trump won by 27 points. A Republican challenger, Randy Feenstra, an assistant majority leader in the state senate, has announced he will take on King in the 2020 primary race, saying King’s “distractions” had robbed Iowans of “a seat at the table”.

Donald Trump #fundie theguardian.com

US refugee ban: Trump decried for 'stomping on' American values

Donald Trump is facing strong criticism from aid organisations after ending his first week as president with a ban on all Syrian refugees entering the US and a halt on arrivals from a string of predominantly Muslim countries.

The president signed an executive order to stop all refugee arrivals for four months – and Syrian arrivals indefinitely – on Friday, hours after meeting the British prime minister, Theresa May, and reportedly reaffirming his commitment to Nato.

The move, which he described as “extreme vetting” intended to “keep terrorists out”, was more severe than expected. It will amount to a de facto ban on Muslims traveling to the US from parts of the Middle East and north Africa by prioritising refugee claims “on the basis of religious-based persecution”.

The order has already reportedly blocked people from flying into US airports or clearing customs after arriving in the country. The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee said people who had landed after the order was enacted at 4.30pm had been blocked and told they had to return to their point of origin.

Named the Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, the order places a 90-day block on entry to the US from citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. It is unclear whether the measure would apply to citizens of those countries on trips abroad who already have permission to live and work in the US.

The order also caps the total number of refugees entering the US in 2017 to 50,000, less than half the previous year’s figure of 117,000.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) called on the Trump administration to continue offering asylum to people fleeing war and persecution, saying its resettlement programme was vital.

“The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater and the US resettlement programme is one of the most important in the world,” the Geneva-based agencies said in a joint statement.

They said the US’s acceptance of refugees had offered a double benefit, “first by rescuing some of the most vulnerable people in the world and second by enabling them to enrich their new societies”.

Chuck Schumer, Democratic leader in the Senate, said: “Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded, has been stomped upon.

“Taking in immigrants and refugees is not only humanitarian but has also boosted our economy and created jobs decade after decade. This is one of the most backward and nasty executive orders that the president has issued.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced it would be filing a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the order “because its apparent purpose and underlying motive is to ban people of the Islamic faith from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States”.

“There is no evidence that refugees – the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation – are a threat to national security,” said Lena F Masri, the council’s litigation director. “This is an order that is based on bigotry, not reality.”

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani campaigner for girls’ education who survived an attempted murder by the Taliban when she was 15, said she was “heartbroken” that America was “turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants – the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life”.

She added: “I am heartbroken that Syrian refugee children, who have suffered through six years of war by no fault of their own, are singled out for discrimination.”

Madeline Albright, the former US secretary of state, said: “There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty. America must remain open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.”

She was referring the inscription of the iconic New York landmark: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

[...]

As well as halting Syrian arrivals indefinitely, the president’s order suspends the admittance of all refugees to the US for 120 days. In Syria alone, the nearly six-year war under Bashar al-Assad’s regime has led to more than 500,000 civilian deaths and displaced an estimated 11 million Syrians.

Although Trump administration officials continue to insist the president’s actions are not targeted at any one faith, the text of the order made explicit that, when the 120-day suspension ended, the US government would prioritize religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries.

It states: “Upon the resumption of USRAP [US Refugee Admissions Program] admissions, the secretary of state, in consultation with the secretary of homeland security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

Valeurs actuelles #racist theguardian.com

A French magazine has apologised after portraying a black lawmaker as a slave, as France’s government and officials across the political spectrum decried the publication.

The legislator, Danièle Obono, from the far-left party La France Insoumise (Defiant France), said the publication flies in the face of those who complain that free speech is threatened by the fight against racism and sexism.

“The extreme right – odious, stupid and cruel,” she tweeted.

The magazine, Valeurs actuelles, which caters to readers on the right and far-right, apologised. The deputy editor, Tagdual Denis, told BFM television on Saturday that the image was not designed to wound Obono, and denied that it was an attention-getting ploy. But he added: “What I regret is that we are always accused of racism ... we are politically incorrect, it’s in our DNA.”

[...]

Elisabeth Moreno, the junior minister for equality and the only black member of the French government, tweeted: “I don’t share Danièle Obono’s ideas, but today I offer her all my support.” A similar refrain came from politicians from multiple parties, including the treasurer of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party.

Daniel Ortega #fundie theguardian.com

Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega has hit out at what he has claimed is a “murderous, coup-mongering satanic sect” behind a three-month uprising against his rule that has left more than 300 dead.

There is growing international consensus that Ortega’s own forces and pro-government militias are responsible for the overwhelming majority of the violence that has gripped Nicaragua since protests erupted in April.

However, during a pro-government rally in Managua on Thursday, Ortega sought to shift blame for the bloodshed on to the “diabolical force” he claimed was part of a US-backed conspiracy to topple him.

“We have to re-establish order in our country,” the former guerrilla told thousands of flag-waving supporters who had assembled in the lakeside Plaza de la Fe to celebrate the 39th anniversary of the 1979 Sandinista victory over the Somoza dictatorship. “The road isn’t war, but peace and dialogue.”

Nigel Farage & Richard Tice #quack #wingnut theguardian.com

Reform UK: Brexit party to rebrand as anti-lockdown voice

Party chairman Richard Tice says country must ‘learn to live with’ Covid not ‘hide in fear’

The Brexit party has applied to the Electoral Commission to change its name to Reform UK in a bid to rebrand the party, which has no elected representatives, as a voice in the anti-lockdown movement. The party’s leader, Nigel Farage, and chairman, Richard Tice, first announced the plan in a joint article in the Telegraph where they wrote it was “time to redirect our energies”. The name change is subject to approval of the commission. Prior to the December election, Farage had announced the party would change its name following the UK’s exit from the European Union and focus on campaigning for changes in the electoral system.

In a statement on Sunday announcing the plans to rebrand the party, Farage said: “As promised, we continue to keep a very close eye on the government’s trade negotiations with the EU, to ensure a proper Brexit. Further reform in many other areas is also vital for our nations’ future.” Tice added: “The need for major reform in the UK is clearer now than ever. A new approach is essential, so that government works for the people, not for itself.” He said that a new strategy was needed for tackling the coronavirus so that “we learn to live with it, not hide in fear of it”. The idea of ending the Covid pandemic through herd immunity was recently denounced as “a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence”, by 80 researchers who wrote a warning letter in a leading medical journal.

answerthis #racist theguardian.com

The left have become so puritan and uptight they lost the hearts and minds battle that was once their stock in trade. They have one joke with one punchline that even they don't laugh at any more.

The fact is the right, alt-right and even the far right is a far more welcoming place than the angry, moralising, doxing left. They need a new act.

roninwarrior #conspiracy theguardian.com

Personally, I think there are far greater dangers to our children in the 21st century. Here in Britain there is an agenda to install "smart meters" into every home by 2020. These devices will be pumping out wi-fi every 30seconds or so and creating a blanket of radioactivity we`re all going to bathe in. That includes those unborn as well as babies, infants etc.

What research we do have indicates that wi-fi is even more toxic to the human organism than cell phone emissions, and both are carcinogenic. Increasing countries have recognised this as rates of cancer, autism etc are climbing at alarming rates. This is not due to the spin line that we better diagnose, and many are trying to do something about it.

Wi-fi is banned in schools in various countries, but here in Britain we can`t allow anything to stand in the way of profit or the surveillance grid so the plan is to radiate the entire country.

Much like the vaccine industry, no time is given to allow for true and accurate findings before roll out. The same can be said for GMO. Some people need to accept that science isn`t gospel. It`s just the best guess at a given time with information available at that time.

ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) #fundie theguardian.com

Researchers have discovered that the hydrogen canopy that may have enclosed Earth before the Flood had some very interesting effects on plant and animal life. The hydrogen in the canopy absorbed blue light, but radiated red light, so the sky was pink rather than blue! Not only did pre-Flood man see the panorama of Creation “through rose-colored glasses,” but the pink light had a definite effect on his mind and body. Modern scientists have discovered that pink light stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete a hormone called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is both a tranquilliser and a neurotransmitter that both calms the person and sharpens his ability to think. The tranquilliser in the hormone can reduce stress and the accompanying medical complications (heart conditions, ulcers, etc) that come with our-hectic, modern-day lifestyles. Some drugs have the same tranquillising effect, but these drugs also decrease the ability to think and respond to the environment. The neurotransmitter in the norepinephrine sharpens the person’s senses and enables him to think clearly by speeding up his nervous impulses.

Metal hydrogen not only filters blue light, but it also has a fiberoptic effects. This means that light from the sun was not only transmitted through the canopy, but was also spread out across the canopy. The light was dispersed around the world – even at night! At sunrise the sky was a vivid pink color. As the colour of the sky changed, the light grew in intensity throughout the morning, until it was a light pink at noon. As the light subsided during the afternoon, the color of the sky returned to vivid pink again at sunset.

The pink colour and the light dispersion worked together to create a perfect working condition. The pink morning sky caused the norepinephrine to begin flowing and stimulating the man to work. At noon, when the pink light and the norepinephrine production were at their peak, the man worked most efficiently. The decreasing intensity of the pink light in the afternoon gradually calmed the person so that by sunset he was relaxed and ready for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Modern scientists are just now discovering what Christians have always believed – that God’s Creation was perfect.

For more information on the subject of Creation model, you might like to read the book Panorama of Creation by Dr Carl Baugh. You might also want to read some of the numerous books on Creation written by Dr Henry M Morris or other contemporary Christian scientists.