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Charlie Hebdo Cartoons Published in French Magazine Show Crude Images of Prophet Mohammed




Charlie Hebdo Muhammad

Recently, I decided to address the issue of freedom of speech in regards to whether it is ever okay to limit it if it is too protect the common good. The example I used was on Google and YouTube’s decision to ban people from viewing an anti-Islam film in certain countries. This action was also done by certain governments as to not promote violent protests as the world has seen happen since the release of the film “Innocence of Muslims.” With the protests occurring more and violence escalating, a French magazine has decided to enter the arena in regards to whether freedom of speech should be censored if it is to protect the common good.

If a person comes across a fire, one would hope that individual would try to put it out instead of adding something to it that would cause it to burn more severely. Many are now saying that is what Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French magazine, is doing by publishing cartoons that features a figure that strongly resembles the Prophet Mohammed on Wednesday.

Though the magazine is known for its’ outrageous humor, the decision to run the cartoons has many feeling that Charlie Hebdo is pouring oil on what has become a fiery debate between the freedom of expression and offensive provocation. The timing of the issue also adds to the “fire” since it hit stands only eight days after the anti-Islam video ignited violent protests to occur that has resulted in many deaths, including one protest that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya.Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

As a precaution, security at some of France’s embassies has been increased after the issue was released Wednesday. The debate on whether the magazine should have printed the cartoons also adds to the discussion on if freedom of speech/expression should have its’ limits.

Laurent Leger, a journalist at Charlie Hebdo, spoke out in defending the magazine’s decision to print the cartoons and that the intention is not to provoke violence or anger.

He said, “The aim is to laugh. We want to laugh at the extremists — every extremist. They can be Muslim, Jewish, Catholic. Everyone can be religious, but extremist thoughts and acts we cannot accept.” Leger also said that the magazine was within their rights and is not responsible for the reactions of others.  “In France, we always have the right to write and draw. And if some people are not happy with this, they can sue us and we can defend ourselves. That’s democracy. You don’t throw bombs; you discuss, you debate. But you don’t act violently. We have to stand and resist pressure from extremism.”

Sylvain Marseguerra, a 21-year-old student in Sorbonne, agreed with Leger and that the magazine has the right to do what they did. “I’m not shocked at all. If this shocks people, well too bad for them. We are free to say what we want. We are a country in which freedom prevails and … if this doesn’t enchant some people, well too bad for them.”

While there is support for the magazine and their philosophy, others in the public feel differently and that freedom of speech should have its’ limits. One such individual, Khairreddene Chabbara, said, “We are for freedom of expression, but when it comes to religion it shouldn’t hurt the feelings of believers.”

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault supports freedom of the press but should be limited. Ayrault said Tuesday that “We have a free press that can express itself right up to the point of caricature. But there is also a question of responsibility.”

Though the government has not done anything at the present to stop sales of the magazine, France is already dealing with rising tensions that has rapidly been growing in the Muslim minority. Just last year the country decided to put a ban on the wearing of Islamic veils and other face coverings, claiming they were both a security risk and degrading. Belgium made the decision to pass similar legislation while Switzerland decided to ban the building of minarets, the tall spires that usually stand next to mosques.

In looking back, one might think Charlie Hebdo likes to play with fire as the magazine has been involved in dangerous controversy before. Back in 2006, the magazine printed reprints of caricatures from a Danish newspaper in 2005 that invoked anger across the Islamic world. Many European papers decided to reprint the drawings in the name of media freedom.

In 2008, Charlie Hebdo was taken to court and eventually acquitted by a Paris appeals court of supposedly “publicly abusing a group of people because of their religion” following a complaint made by Muslim associations.

Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

Last November, the magazines front-page had the subtitle “Sharia Hebdo,” a reference to Islamic law, and also showed caricatures depicting radical Muslims. The result was hours before the edition were to hit newsstands; the newspaper’s offices were destroyed in a firebomb attack.

The debate over if freedom of speech should have its’ limits will go on for who knows how long. It is a debate that will have repercussions and is not localized to just France.

The debate has spread to neighboring Germany, where Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle shared his thoughts Wednesday on the issue. “I call on all those, especially those who rightly invoke the right of freedom of speech, to also act responsibly. The one who now puts more oil on the fire on purpose, with obvious effect, is not the greatest thinker.”

Westerwelle spoke in Berlin and said the German Embassy in Sudan, which ended up being attacked last week, remains closed. He also indicated that security at the country’s embassies in other countries has been increased.

French magazine publishes crude images of Prophet Muhammad

Anger in the Muslim world shifts to France after a magazine – Charlie Hebdo – publishes naked images of the Prophet Muhammad.

France Closes 20 Embassies Amid Threats After Magazine Publishes Mohammad Cartoons

A French magazine’s decision to publish cartoons depicting a naked Prophet Mohammad triggered a new wave of fears at embassies in Europe, even as anger at the west continued to sweep through the Muslim world.

France announced Wednesday it will close 20 embassies in Arab and Muslim nations after the weekly Charlie Hebdo published the controversial cartoons. The images threaten to further inflame Muslim protesters and terror groups, who have demonstrated against the U.S. at embassies around the world since an anti-Islam film went viral last week.

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  1. ALI

    September 21, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Unfortunately, The meaning of words, phrases and clauses have changed over the ages. Freedom of expression is what that is being done by drawing crude pictures of revered One as well as producing a such movie’s depiction in which completely the character is misunderstood. I would love to quote an incident in which our Muhammad (pbuh) once travelled to preach in a city where the people of city – as they didn’t know Him – threw stones or pebbles on Him. At the same time, Angle Gabriel appeared with the order of Allah of demolishing the city with people if the Prophet permitted – but the Prophet said, No, say to Allah to forgive them as they are not familiar to Me. So, I appeal to all muslims to be calm as they don’t know our Prophet. Pray to Allah to give them guidance or destroy them. These riots, violence and killing is not going to bring any positive results. Follow a certain way of law to get these trouble makers to the account.

    Secondly, it is all happening because we have left following the teaching of our Prophet. Just see the a common Muslim who seems to be far away from the Islam. We love our Prophet but we do not follow the path He showed us. Devil is playing his game to get the human beings create a scene of war. So wake up! before it gets too late. NO ONE ON THIS EARTH OR OTHERS CAN DISGRACE A LITTLE OF THOUSANDS OF OUR BELOVED PROPHET AS HE IS BEYOND AND ABOVE FROM SUCH WORLDLY MALICIOUS ACTS.

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Trump Impose Higher Tariffs On Chinese Goods But Risk American Consumers In The Process




President Donald Trump announced last Thursday that the United States would impose a new 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of products imported from China, putting an end to the temporary ceasefire between the trade war of the two economic giants.

Earlier this month, President Trump indicated that he would not push through with imposing more tariffs over China after their meeting during the G20 Summit. In particular, the meeting transpired that both countries are willing to go over trade talks.

Earlier this week even, Trump took to Twitter indicating that the meeting with Chinese officials and the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, and Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, was “constructive” when they traveled to Shanghai — furthermore saying that negotiations were scheduled to resume in September in Washington, D.C.

“When my people came home, they said, ‘We’re talking, we have another meeting in early September,’ ” Trump told reporters. “I said, ‘That’s fine, but in the meantime until such time as there’s a deal, we’ll be taxing them.’ “

However, a few days later, Trump announced that he would be imposing an additional 10% on the current tariffs on Chinese imports starting September 1, arguing that Beijing had broken some of the promises it made in trade negotiations.

Currently, there are an imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports.

Trump also argued that he was disappointed by the lack of progress in the talks, saying China had failed to follow through on promises to curb the sale of fentanyl and buy more products from U.S. farmers.

“My friend, President Xi, said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl to the United States – this never happened, and many Americans continue to die!” Trump said in a tweet.

The new import taxes — which Trump later said could go “well beyond” 25% on a long list of goods — expected to significantly affect products such as smart-phones, laptop computers, and children’s clothing.

Surprisingly, the President ended on a positive note, saying, “We look forward to continuing our positive dialogue with China on a comprehensive Trade Deal, and feel that the future between our two countries will be a very bright one!”

Upon Trump’s announcement, major U.S. stock indexes fell about 1 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 280 points, and oil prices tumbled nearly 8 percent.

Trump is insisting that the US will earn more due to higher tariffs for China goods, and will also pressure them to agree on terms regarding trade. However, industry groups said otherwise, indicating that the new tariffs will hurt businesses and fall on consumers.

“We are disappointed the administration is doubling-down on a flawed tariff strategy that is already slowing U.S. economic growth, creating uncertainty and discouraging investment,” David French, vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation, said in a statement.

“These additional tariffs will only threaten U.S. jobs and raise costs for American families on everyday goods.”

Apart from the US companies suffering from tariff hikes, Chinese companies are also losing business since another logical workaround for paying the tariffs is to source materials outside China.

Apparently, Chinese exporters are not paying the tariff rates alone — U.S. importers also pay a fraction of that rate.

Tariffs are a tax on imported products and are paid by U.S.-registered firms to U.S. customs when goods enter the United States.

In turn, these U.S. imported pass added costs to consumers by raising their prices.

The U.S. retailers called Trump’s move as “another tax increase on American businesses and consumers.”

For example, the tariff costs have increased Caterpillar Inc’s production by $70 million in the last quarter. It expects to pay between $250 million and $350 million in tariffs this year. In response to higher manufacturing costs, the heavy equipment maker has increased prices.

Walmart Inc., the world’s largest retailer, and department store chain, Macy’s Inc., have warned of an increase in prices for shoppers due to higher tariffs on goods from China.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time since 2008 to help U.S. businesses adjust to the changes in global economies.

“Certainly, we’ve seen … that when there’s a sharp confrontation between two large economies, you can see effects on business confidence pretty quickly and on financial markets pretty quickly,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in a news conference after the interest rate announcement.

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Cybersecurity Directorate Is The NSA Cyber Frontier

The division’s first Director of Cybersecurity is Anne Neuberger.



Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The National Security Agency announced that they plan to establish a defense-minded and cybersecurity-focused division that centered on defending the U.S. against foreign cyber- threats.

The division which will be given the name Cybersecurity Directorate will conduct its first operation starting October this year. The young division will aid in the defense against foreign adversaries, right in time with the increasing election intrusion by foreign nations such as Russia as a strategy of an ongoing plot to undermine the West.

The division’s first Director of Cybersecurity, Anne Neuberger, will report directly to General Paul Nakasone, the NSA’s Director. Neuberger previously held positions as the NSA Chief Risk Officer; Deputy Director of Operations; and Lead of NSA’s Russia Small Group, an organization with joint collaboration between U.S. and NSA Cyber Command during 2018.

The NSA has been known for its efforts in developing and improving the cybersecurity arsenal of the U.S. According to NSA, “this new approach to cybersecurity will better position NSA to collaborate with key partners across the U.S. government like U.S. Cyber Command, Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

“It will also enable us to share information with our customers better, so they are equipped to defend against the malicious cyber activity,” they added.

Nakasone announced the new cybersecurity directorate on an International Conference on July 23 at Fordham University. He said that “over the past couple years, as we did a number of different reorganizations, one of the things I think we lost was the emphasis on cybersecurity.”

Under the jurisdiction of President Donald Trump, the NSA has been working hard towards a more aggressive way to defend the state and its infrastructures against foreign adversaries such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea (CRINK).

Philip Ingram MBE, a former colonel in the British military intelligence, pointed out that the U.S. Cyber Command has existed for “quite some time” The unit has an attack and defense remit capability, he added.

Thee move forms part of a wider effort to more closely align the agency’s offensive and defensive operations. And it seems like the agency is also excited in announcing this new development in their structure. NSA tweeted, asking citizens to “start spreading the news,” as the agency “is operationalizing intelligence to secure the country.”

In the past months, it seems that NSA has been tearing up a page out of U.S. Cyber Command’s book by sharing information with the private sector. On Twitter and VirusTotal, there had been a series of sharing of malware samples by the U.S. Cyber Command.

With those alerts, the private sector was able to boost detection capabilities for possible or ongoing attacks from foreign threats. A US Cyber Command alert prompted that there will be a wave of assaults manipulated by Iranian Hackers and gripping Outlook vulnerabilities. This alert was a massive help since it was able to prevent a widespread loss on Outlook.

Cybersecurity Directorate new job will be on intelligence sharing and assessing vulnerability, a position that DHS has already been taking. How the two agencies will collaborate and will interact still remains a question to be seen as more details about the NSA’s new initiative surfaces.

However, some people do not agree with NSA’s idea of defense. As pointed out by Thornton-Trump, a cryptocurrency expert, having the military or the government organization take or even assume responsibility for the security of the public internet “might be a bit disconcerting for many folks.”

Thornton- Trump says: “it is a very difficult position to be in without appropriate governance and oversight which may not necessarily be in place given a new domestic mandate.”

“I think the NSA is caught inside a fiendish Venn diagram, with freedom on one side and security on the other,” he added. Last week, Attorney General William P. Barr defended the use of encryption backdoors- which most security experts agree that this step would be a colossal failure causing a major disaster.

It may be a two-sided battle between the NSA since they are torn between the security of the public internet and the freedom of the people to use it. Nevertheless, the NSA has been working effortlessly to provide a secure and safe internet for the public by means of increasing the defense against foreign attackers.

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Democrats Eye Banning Facial Recognition In Public Housing



Photo by Brandon Griggs on Unsplash

In landmark legislation to be proposed in the Congress this week, lawmakers move to ban the use of facial recognition systems in public housing, saying that facial recognition “does not belong in the home.”

The new proposed bill is expected to be submitted by Reps. Yvette Clarke, a Democrat from New York; Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat from Massachusetts; and Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan, this week.

The “No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act” would prohibit public housing units who received funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development from installing facial recognition technology, according to a person familiar with the proposed bill.

Aside from prohibiting landowners from installing invasive technology, the new proposed bill will also require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to submit annual reports on facial recognition and smart-home technologies that would include details on public housing units and the impact of these systems to tenants.

The growth of facial technology and smart home devices, while being applauded by the tech sector, has been criticized by multisectoral organizations for their violation of people’s privacy. The trend has seen more and more landowners installing invasive home technology in their properties, which advocates called for regulation.

Supporters of the technology have been firm in lobbying the benefits of smart home technologies and facial recognition in housing. They said that these systems help tenants feel safe in their homes and aid the landlords in protecting their tenants as well. However, this insistence is faced with challenges as privacy advocates rebut them with the right of people to privacy.

This is the first time that legislation is focused on protecting tenants from invasive and privacy-violating technologies. While the new proposed bill will only affect public housing and those that are funded by the HUD, it opens a conversation on how important it is to protect tenants from violations of their privacy.

More and more landlords install invasive technologies in their homes

The proposed bill comes two months after Brooklyn tenants filed a lawsuit against a landlord who insisted on installing facial recognition entry system. Around 350 tenants of the Atlantic Plaza Towers said that the facial recognition system was an “excessive invasion of privacy” and cited studies detailing that facial recognition systems are prone to racial bias. However, the building in question will not be affected by the bill proposed in Congress as it is not a public housing financed by the HUD.

“The ability to enter your home should not be conditioned on the surrender of your biometric data, particularly when the landlord’s collection, storage, and use of such data is untested and unregulated,” Samar Katnani, an attorney for Brooklyn Legal Services’ Tenant Rights Coalition representing the tenants, said in May.

This is not the first legislation that challenges the use of the facial recognition system. A few months ago, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition by the police and other government agencies. The move of San Francisco against facial recognition has been followed by other states like Oakland, California, and Somerville, Massachusetts.

Advocates have since been vocal in spreading the ban throughout the United States. Lawmakers cite the different academic and investigative reports that point out the inaccuracy of facial recognition, adding to that the recent government-sponsored study, saying facial recognition is more likely to mismatch black women.

Back in May, Sens. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, and Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, put forward the Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act which prohibits businesses from using facial recognition technologies on their customers.

However, none of these existing laws and proposed bills can be used against landlords who insist on installing abusive technologies in their building amidst the resistance from their tenants who are concerned about their privacy.

According to a study, more than 20,000 homes in the last two years have been converted in smart-homes, complete with surveillance cameras and smart door locks.

In fact, in April, New York tenants have sued their landlord who installed smart lock system in their doors for their “right to own physical keys” citing that the app’s privacy policy allowed for location tracking which can be used by their landlords to stalk them. Furthermore, they argued that smart locks could also be used in potential abuse as landlords can change the locks easily without their knowledge. In the end, the landlord agreed to an order to provide the tenants with a physical key.

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