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At Pakistan’s command, Twitter warns me to seek legal counsel for violating sharia law

Twitter volunteers to act as sharia enforcer at command of Pakistan government

9

In the latest submission to the most brutal and extreme ideology on the fact of the earth, Twitter — an American company — acts as enforcer for Pakistani barbarians imposing sharia law worldwide.

 “We are writing to inform you that Twitter has received official correspondence regarding your Twitter account, @anthonyfurey. The correspondence claims that the following content is in violation of Pakistan law: Section 37 of PECA-2016, Section 295 B and Section 295 C of the Pakistan penal code.”

The idea that Twitter would spring into action at the command of Pakistan for a years-old tweet in support of freedom of speech in the wake of a murderous Islamic attack on our free speech event in Texas is a stunning indictment of how far the West has ceded its freedoms to savages. Things are bad and they are going to get worse. We held our free speech event in Garland, Texas to show we were free and we would not be cowed.

For years, we warned, predicted and spoke out against the imposition of sharia law, the islamization of the West. We were called “conspiracy theorists,” “tinfoil hats,” and “right wing nuts”; all the while, the left was ceding our freedoms to Islamic supremacy.

When Pakistan contacted Twitter about the “offending tweet,” Twitter should have told Pakistan to fuck off; instead, they dropped to their knees and prostrated themselves before those savages.

The Pakistan government is accusing me of a crime – and Twitter is acting as its messenger

Toronto Sun, December 8, 2018:

I thought it was spam. The email that hit my inbox Friday morning had the subject line “Twitter Receipt of Correspondence” and the sender was “Twitter Legal.”

At first glance, it looked just like those emails I get from banks I don’t have accounts with saying I’m owed money or some other nonsense.

The whole thing seemed more absurd as I read on. “We are writing to inform you that Twitter has received official correspondence regarding your Twitter account, @anthonyfurey. The correspondence claims that the following content is in violation of Pakistan law: Section 37 of PECA-2016, Section 295 B and Section 295 C of the Pakistan penal code.”

It then included a link to what looked like one of my tweets. Should I click it? Could it redirect me to some virus?

Then the email continued: “Twitter has not taken any action on the reported content at this time. We are only writing to inform you that content posted to your account has been mentioned in a complaint.”

Totally fake, right? Friday was a busy day for me and I didn’t want to waste much time on this. But I was still curious about those provisions of the penal code and Googled them.

It was blasphemy laws. Section 295 B concerns defiling the Qur’an and the punishment can be as severe as life imprisonment. Section 295 C focuses on derogatory content about Muhammad. That one comes with the death penalty.

Wow. Okay. So what was the offending tweet? I clicked on the link. It didn’t redirect to any dubious site. Instead, it pulled up a tweet I had made several years ago when I had posted a collage of cartoons of Muhammad. Looking back, I remember I did it right after there had been an ISIS-inspired attack in retaliation over the cartoons.

I’m not looking to rehash the cartoons debate here, however I will say that what inspired my posting then was a belief that the best antidote to the occasional anger and violence that erupts over Muhammad cartoons is to post more of them in solidarity with the cartoonists, so that there is more volume than they can possibly respond to and the offended would just have to learn to relax and understand not everyone has signed up for the same rules as them. It’s troubling for a religion to have a rule that even non-adherents must follow.

I also believe that was the first and last time I’ve ever posted a Muhammad cartoon. So why would the Pakistan government seek out a four-year-old tweet from me? Did I show up randomly during one of its searches? Or was I targeted? And who else is it keeping tabs on? And why would Twitter help them out? It all seemed too much to be true.

Then I headed over to Twitter’s Legal FAQs page and found to my surprise that it does this sort of stuff all the time. “Twitter may notify you of the existence of a legal request pertaining to your account,” it states. “We understand that receiving this type of notice can be an unsettling experience. We have notified you so that you can avail yourself of the rights available for your particular situation in your specific jurisdiction.”

Unsettling? I’ll say. A powerful global tech giant has just told me the Pakistan government has its eye on me for an offence punishable by death.

I then found its “Legal request submissions” page where government representatives can file the sorts of requests made against me. It requires the officials to include their work emails and attest that they have the legal authority to make such requests.

Ensaf Haidar, the wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, also received a near identical email from Twitter Legal. Her supposedly offending post simply said “Retweet if you’re against niqab” and showed a woman in a full face veil.

Haidar told me she hasn’t done anything formal in response to the email but is already protesting it online.

“Why is Twitter enforcing Pakistan’s Islamist laws instead of U.S. laws?” Mohammad Tawhidi, a vocal anti-extremist imam, posted after he also received a similar email from Twitter Legal.

A representative from Twitter speaking on background confirmed to me the request against me was authentic but noted that forwarding a request does not signal any intent to act on it. The only time it typically acts on government requests to remove content is when it comes to activities internationally recognized as criminal, such as posting child pornography.

That’s somewhat nice to know that Twitter isn’t planning to go along with Pakistan’s request to censor me. But it’s still troubling to learn it was real in the first place.

Between Haidar, Tawhidi and myself that’s at least three Canadian residents the Pakistan government has singled out. Now presumably its main grievance is that it doesn’t want our posts shown in its country. But does this also mean we’ll be arrested if we ever show up there?

While nobody tech-savvy I spoke to — including a former Twitter employee — had heard of this process before, it’s actually nothing new. It’s just not used all that often. Twitter has been fielding such requests from governments for several years now.

The social media giant actually posts compliance reports for individual countries and it reveals has never once acted on Pakistan’s requests. For the second half of 2017, it received 75 removal requests from Pakistan concerning 674 accounts and acted on none of them.

That’s good to know, but to Tawhidi’s point, forwarding these requests — even without acting on them — certainly has the feel of at least legitimizing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

Twitter has to maintain a delicate balance operating in countries with wildly different views of freedom of speech. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has previously restricted YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia for what it has considered objectionable content and Twitter could be next.

Maybe at least forwarding these complaints is Twitter’s defence if the government goes after them.

So what just happened to me? Is it that Twitter is basically acting as a messenger for Pakistan and chilling free speech? Or is it more that it tipping me off that I’m on some sort of government list somewhere? Maybe it’s a bit of both.

And what does this mean for everyone else out there in the West who has run afoul of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws? You wonder who could be next.

The Truth Must be Told

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