Google ordered to remove anti-Islamic film from YouTube

(Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday ordered Google Inc to remove from its YouTube video-sharing website an anti-Islamic film that had sparked protests across the Muslim world.

By a 2-1 vote, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Google’s assertion that the removal of the film “Innocence of Muslims” amounted to a prior restraint of speech that violated the U.S. Constitution.

The plaintiff, Cindy Lee Garcia, had objected to the film after learning that it incorporated a clip she had made for a different movie, which had been partially dubbed and in which she appeared to be asking: “Is your Mohammed a child molester?”  In a statement, Google said: “We strongly disagree with this ruling and will fight it.”  Cris Armenta, a lawyer for Garcia, said she is delighted with the decision.  ”Ordering YouTube and Google to take down the film was the right thing to do,” Armenta said in an email. “The propaganda film differs so radically from anything that Ms. Garcia could have imagined when the director told her that she was being cast in the innocent adventure film.”

The controversial film, billed as a film trailer, depicted the Prophet Mohammed as a fool and a sexual deviant. It sparked a torrent of anti-American unrest among Muslims in Egypt, Libya and other countries in 2012.  That outbreak coincided with an attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. U.S. and other foreign embassies were also stormed in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.  For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is considered blasphemous.  Google had refused to remove the film from YouTube, despite pressure from the White House and others, though it blocked the trailer in Egypt, Libya and certain other countries.

In court filings, Google argued that Garcia appeared in the film for five seconds, and that while she might have legal claims against the director, she should not win a copyright lawsuit against Google.  The film has now become an important part of public debate, Google argued, and should not be taken down.  ”Our laws permit even the vilest criticisms of governments, political leaders, and religious figures as legitimate exercises in free speech,” the company wrote.

But Garcia argued that her performance within the film was independently copyrightable and that she retained an interest in that copyright.  A lower court had refused her request that Google remove the film from YouTube. In Wednesday’s decision, however, 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said Garcia was likely to prevail on her copyright claim, and having already faced “serious threats against her life,” faced irreparable harm absent an injunction.  He called it a rare and troubling case, given how Garcia had been duped. “It’s disappointing, though perhaps not surprising, that Garcia needed to sue in order to protect herself and her rights,” he wrote.  The case is Garcia vs. Google Inc et al., 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-57302.  (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Dan Levine in San Francisco; editing by David Gregorio, G Crosse and Dan Grebler)

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The escorts who want to rebrand male prostitution as a business

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Most people think of male prostitution as dangerous, degrading and exploitative work. But there are some who are attempting to reinvent it as a profession free of stigma by using all the tools of modern business, writes Mobeen Azhar.  ”The aim is to be the best escort in the world.” Josh Brandon’s conviction is punctuated by a strong Welsh valleys accent. The twentysomething moved to London four years ago with dreams of modelling and celebrity.  But soon after his arrival he began working as an escort. Now he has a price list which includes hourly rates and a discount for block booking. He issues loyalty cards so customers who pay for nine “appointments” get their tenth free.  ”I have a very professional booking system and I offer complete discretion,” he says. “My business model serves my clients and it serves me.”

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A Deadly Mix in Benghazi

A boyish-looking American diplomat was meeting for the first time with the Islamist leaders of eastern Libya’s most formidable militias.  It was Sept. 9, 2012. Gathered on folding chairs in a banquet hall by the Mediterranean, the Libyans warned of rising threats against Americans from extremists in Benghazi. One militia leader, with a long beard and mismatched military fatigues, mentioned time in exile in Afghanistan. An American guard discreetly touched his gun.  “Since Benghazi isn’t safe, it is better for you to leave now,” Mohamed al-Gharabi, the leader of the Rafallah al-Sehati Brigade, later recalled telling the Americans. “I specifically told the Americans myself that we hoped that they would leave Benghazi as soon as possible.”  Yet as the militiamen snacked on Twinkie-style cakes with their American guests, they also gushed about their gratitude for President Obama’s support in their uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. They emphasized that they wanted to build a partnership with the United States, especially in the form of more investment. They specifically asked for Benghazi outlets of McDonald’s and KFC.

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Islamic charities, the domestic victims of the war on terror

It has now been five years since the sentencing of the Holy Land Five: Muslim-American humanitarians who were falsely convicted of providing “material support for terrorism” because of their charitable work in Palestine. To mark the occasion, the daughters of the Holy Land Five have produced a powerful video message featuring the families of those imprisoned, as well as people around the world, expressing solidarity with the innocent men.  Alas the overtly politicised case against the Holy Land Five is only one among many. Since 11 September 2001, there have been numerous legal efforts to criminalise compassion in the US, ultimately denying Muslim-Americans of the right to freely practice their religion.  Founded in 1989, the Holy Land Foundation was once the largest Islamic charity in the US.

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Obama, Countering Critics, Defends Iran Nuclear Deal

SAN FRANCISCO — President Obama said on Monday that “cleareyed, principled diplomacy” had produced the agreement with Iran to stall its nuclear development, pushing back against rising criticism in Congress and from allies like Israel that the pact reached in Geneva was a capitulation. Speaking at a rally in San Francisco, Mr. Obama emphasized what he described as a major achievement in the long-estranged relations with Iran. He spoke as American officials confirmed that Secretary of State John Kerry, who helped finalize the deal on Sunday, had engaged in secret communications with Iran months ago in an effort to improve relations and encourage talks.

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We pay, Iran promises

I wonder how long we’re going to delude ourselves about our ability to coax the genie of nuclear know-how back into a bottle — in other words, continue having illusions about non-proliferation. Once nations have the know-how, the rest is a matter of political and economic circumstances occurring in certain combinations, which over time they’re almost certain to do. This being so, what’s surprising isn’t how many states acquired nuclear weapons since the original five (U.S., U.S.S.R., U.K., France, China) signed the 1968 Non-proliferation Treaty, but how few.  After 45 years, we know only of three confirmed additions to the nuclear club today: India (1974), Pakistan (1998), and North Korea (2006). An unconfirmed addition is said be Israel, whose capacity to field nukes may go back to the 1960s. None are signatories to the NPT of 1968, so they aren’t in breach of treaty obligations. For non-nuclear powers, obligations consist essentially of not becoming one, while the five nuclear powers are obliged to share the benefits of peaceful atomic technology with the rest of the members.

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Black mobs plague nightclubs coast to coast

They call them “Let Out Fights:” The black mob violence that is a regular feature of life at nightclubs, coast to coast, especially at closing time. All the time.  Sometimes the fighting is just a few people. Other times as many as 500. Gunfire is common. So is video. Arrests are not.  Some recent examples:  In Portland last weekend, a “riot” and triple shooting left one man dead and two wounded outside of a black nightclub – so dangerous even its own bouncers recently had to call police because they feared for their lives during an  after-hours party.  Local media report that early Saturday morning, hundreds of people were fighting and shooting in the streets of Northeast Portland – a euphemism for the black part of town.   KGW-TV news reported the attacks on police as well. Everything except the black part: “‘Very hostile crowd – people saying things like, you know, ‘shoot the cops,’ and they were trying to secure the scene so they called for a city-wide Code 3 response, which means every available car in the city should respond to that area,’ said Sgt. Pete Simpson with the Portland Police Bureau.”

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Fifty Organizations Seek Ban on Armed Drones

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Fifty organizations and over 75,000 individuals are asking the United Nations Secretary General to investigate the concerns of Navi Pillay, the U.N.’s top human rights official, that drone attacks violate international law — and to ultimately pursue sanctions against nations using, possessing, or manufacturing weaponized drones;

  • the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate grounds for the criminal prosecution of those responsible for drone attacks;
  • the U.S. Secretary of State, and the ambassadors to the United States from the nations of the world, to support a treaty forbidding the possession or use of weaponized drones;
  • President Barack Obama, to abandon the use of weaponized drones, and to abandon his “kill list” program regardless of the technology employed;
  • the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, to ban the use or sale of weaponized drones.
  • the governments of each of our nations around the world, to ban the use or sale of weaponized drones.

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World’s anger at Obama policies goes beyond Europe and the NSA

WASHINGTON — Whether miffed over spying revelations or feeling sold out by U.S. moves in the Middle East, some of the United States’ closest allies are so upset that the Obama administration has gone into damage-control mode to ensure the rifts don’t widen and threaten critical partnerships.  The quarrels differ in their causes and degrees of seriousness. As a whole, however, they pose a new foreign policy headache for an administration whose overseas track record is seen in many quarters at home and abroad as reactive and lacking direction.  In Europe and the Middle East, rifts that once would’ve been quietly smoothed over have exploded into headlines and public remonstrations.  The uproar in Europe over revelations from fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the United States spied on as many as 35 government leaders, including Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, has become so great that early Friday 28 European leaders said Merkel and French President Francois Hollande would open negotiations with the United States over a “no-spying agreement.”

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US Army defines Christian ministry as ‘domestic hate group’

Several dozen U.S. Army active duty and reserve troops were told last week that the American Family Association, a well-respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate group because the group advocates for traditional family values.  The briefing was held at Camp Shelby in Mississippi and listed the AFA alongside domestic hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam.  A soldier who attended the briefing contacted me and sent me a photograph of a slide show presentation that listed AFA as a domestic hate group. Under the AFA headline is a photograph of Westboro Baptist Church preacher Fred Phelps holding a sign reading “No special law for f***.”   American Family Association has absolutely no affiliation with the controversial church group known for picketing the funerals of American servicemembers.

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Migrant-Spotting: EU Plans Big Brother System in Mediterranean

In May 2011, two SPIEGEL reporters described a brief moment of happiness on a deadly voyage undertaken by dozens of refugees in the Mediterranean. Seventy-two people had crowded onto an open boat — only seven meters (23 feet) long — that was to take them from Tripoli, Libya, to Europe. Two days after leaving Libya, they were already in trouble at sea.But then came hope: Survivors described feeling relieved when a helicopter flew over the boat and hovered just above it. Water bottles and packages of cookies were lowered from the aircraft. One of the men in the helicopter, they claim, appeared to have waved. But then the helicopter flew away — and help never came.

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Sex Jihad and Western Disbelief

The sex jihad is back in the news.  Last Thursday, during an address to the National Constituent Assembly, Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Bin Jeddo announced that Tunisian girls who had traveled to Syria to perform “sex jihad” had returned after being sexually “swapped between 20, 30, and 100 rebels and they come back bearing the fruit of sexual contacts [from pregnancies to diseases] in the name of sexual jihad and we are silent doing nothing and standing idle.”  Several video interviews with Tunisian females who went to the sex jihad further testify to the veracity of this phenomenon.

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On Constitution Day, California College Student Ordered to Stop Handing out Constitutions

Robert Van Tuinen, a student at Modesto Junior College in California, had a theory. He believed that the policies at his college limiting protests and expression were so restrictive that the college would try to shut him down even if he tried to hand out copies of the United States Constitution on September 17–Constitution Day.  Sadly, he was correct.  You can check out the video for yourself:

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‘Anti-hate’ group inspiring bloodshed

WASHINGTON — “Our culture is changing drastically,” Lt. General Jerry Boykin (Ret.) told WND, and it was clear he did not mean it was Obama’s “change you can believe in.”  “There’s a paradigm shift in America where, if you are an outspoken, open, Christian, you are now being labeled as not only a hate-monger, but also as a potential threat to U.S. security, as is evidenced by any number of documents that have come out in the last number of years, one of which came out of the Department of Homeland Security,” the war hero explained.  He was, in part, referring to documents influenced by the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, “that identified the Founding Fathers as the kind of ‘radicals’ that we should be watching out for today.”

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Atheists’ world tour to push godless church

When British comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones decided last winter they liked the atmosphere and fellowship of a church, but they did not believe in God, they started what apparently was, at the time, the first church for atheists.  They say it’s been so successful they now are launching a world tour to grow their godless church.  According to a report in the Guardian, they will be starting their promo tour in Edinburgh Oct. 22, then traveling quickly through Glasgow, Brighton, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Leeds and Manchester.  Into November, the schedule there takes them to Dublin on the first, followed by a quick trip over the Atlanta to New York, Harvard, Washington, Chicago, San Diego, Silicon Valley, then on to Vancouver, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

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Bus rider’s face smashed in during ‘hate attack’

An attacker pummeled a bus passenger so hard he smashed the bones in his face after calling the victim a “cracker” in Manhattan – marking the second time in two days that people appeared to be randomly targeted in racial tirades against white people, authorities said.  In the latest incident, the suspect passed a 31-year-old rider on the M60 bus riding through Harlem, on West 127th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive, around 2:45 p.m., Friday, when he shouted the racial slur and punched the victim in the face, breaking his nose and eye socket, cops said.  The victim was treated for facial fractures at New York Presbyterian Hospital and released, police said.

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‘Sovereign citizens’ assault Port Everglades

Amid the explosions, smoke, roaring vehicles and chattering gunfire of a terrorist attack Thursday afternoon at Port Everglades, one fact became chillingly clear:  These weren’t foreign-born America-hating terrorists. These were native-born America-hating terrorists. And they were making things difficult for the good guys.  “They’re moving, they’re taking positions, they have superior firepower,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Saito. “They’re clearly very well-trained, very well-motivated.”  Of course it wasn’t a real terrorist attack, but rather a large-scale SWAT training exercise mounted by the Broward Sheriff’s Office involving boats, bus, bombs and booby-trapped hostages.  “This is really a worst case scenario,” said Saito, the SWAT team member who concocted the training storyline.

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