Friday, March 28, 2008

Samizdat

Liveleak pulled Geert Wilder's Fitna after receiving serious threats. Mark Steyn quotes the news and comments:

Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, Liveleak.com has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers. This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else.

Indeed. The Internet will keep Fitna alive in odd corners hither and yon, but only to those who actively seek it out. In the wider world, it goes without saying that such a film is unacceptable, and that this time round the pre-emptive rage (as Diana West calls it) was so successful the next Fitna will have an even harder time: no movie theaters or broadcast networks or obscure cable channels would even consider showing it, and Google and YouTube and the other Internet biggies have grown increasingly comfortable with political speech-policing, and now one more small net operation has learned that, unless you want to be a 24/7 crusader on this issue, it's not a business worth being in.

But in the following years, and as a side effect of Hollywood's war on piracy, the odd corners of the Internet will grow. Underground channels will grow. Right now peer-to-peer traffic comprises a very large part of total network traffic and carries bootlegs video, songs, al-Qaeda messages. How long before this stream carries Fitna and similar products? While some carriers have proposed putting filters on the network to screen peer-to-peer traffic the protocol vendors have retaliated by threatening to encrypt. A technological arms race between the content police and the content information runners has long been in progress. Products like Fitna may eventually be distributed in an encrypted fashion.

The War on Piracy may have the same long term effect on the War on Terror as the War on Drugs did. Both pirates and drug runners create infrastructures that anyone can exploit. What's not often realized is that in principle anyone can travel these secret roads once they are built. What can be used by al-Qaeda can be used against al-Qaeda.

Mark Steyn argues that "a film such as Fitna might not even be necessary were the western news organizations not so absurdly deferential toward Muslim sensibilities that they go out of their way to avoid showing us anything that might cause us to link violence with Islam." This is one more aspect of the core failure in the war on terror. Officials risk falling behind public perceptions of the extent and nature of that conflict. Unless society does it job of protecting life and liberty effectively, its failure will spur the rise of freelancers. Clamping down on what may be said in the open media will eventually drive the creation of a Samzidat.

Samizdat (Russian: самиздат) was the clandestine copying and distribution of government-suppressed literature or other media in Soviet-bloc countries. Copies were made a few at a time, and those who received a copy would be expected to make more copies. This was often done by handwriting or typing. This grassroots practice to evade officially imposed censorship was fraught with danger as harsh punishments were meted out to people caught possessing or copying censored materials.

The emergence of a parallel information system in the Soviet Union was a direct result of the failure by normal channels to carry information under the threat of punishment the KGB. Today's KGB of course, is Islam and the Left. But censorship is ultimately counterproductive. There is nothing particularly excellent about Wilder's film. It won't win any prizes for either hatred or dramatics. Why should such a thing become famous? The answer of course is because ordinary, even mediocre speech has been censored openly in the Western world. It's not the ordinary speech which is singular but the censorship. If Fitna had not been given such play it would have screened in a half dozen art-houses and been forgotten. As matters stand it will enter the history books.

The cycle of defiance and censorship; the emergence of a Samizdat in the West, means that some extraordinary, even revolutionary change is taking place. Inevitably, some sort of Black Swan or unanticipated event will round the corner: like September 11 or the sub-prime collapse. It will all be very obvious in retrospect. But in the meantime we will cling to business as usual and wallow in our failure of imagination.




The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.

28 Comments:

Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

What constitutes a serious threat? An inquiring mind wants to know.

3/28/2008 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

"Mark Steyn argues that "a film such as Fitna might not even be necessary were the western news organizations not so absurdly deferential toward Muslim sensibilities that they go out of their way to avoid showing us anything that might cause us to link violence with Islam..."

I would argue one point with Steyn: News organizations are more than happy to show Islamic violence. But they always couch it in terms of resistance (Iraq) or working towards political goals (Israelis/Palestinians). In short, they laud it.

What they always excise is the nihilism. That's the fatal mistake they make; people aren't shown that political goals are useful tools grasped by the naturally violent, so too many make the mistake of thinking it's the politics that drive the violence, not the other way around. Real thinkers realize it's the opposite. And so people willing to be useful idiots continue to defend the violence the radical militants make.

There's the real failure in the informational aspect of the WOT.

----

As far as an Islamic world's Samzidat, yes one's needed. But the information that allows an Islamic world's Samzidat to occur also needs to be generated. I recall reading former Soviet dissidents talking about huddling around a radio and listening to the Voice of America broadcasts. Where's the concerted efforts nowadays? You and Steyn are right in pointing out that information about freedom and the free world is now on a distributed, rather than an cetralized model. There are pluses to that, but the immediate negative is the perception that Western governments are not taking the informational war seriously. A perception sadly confirmed by the lack of other efforts.

It's going to be up to anonymous people in widely-flung corners of the internet who take on the burden of the informational fight. The Western governments and worldwide media are sadly derelict in this.

3/28/2008 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

No more Saudi "donations"? Is that the serious threat?

3/28/2008 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger ragyun said...

It's still on youtube as I type this. There are so many sites out there that the Fitna effect will be unstoppable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzDlqNuPULc

3/28/2008 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger sammy small said...

The only way to fight this intimidation is to flood the market, all at once, with a slew of these types of films. It would take many host sites, in collusion, to fight back as a union would, all joined together at the same time.

3/28/2008 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

In one way, the extremists who threaten violence against speech deemed critical of the body of opinions known as Islam have a much greater reach than the KGB. The KGB could, of course, assassinate any one individual in the West, but it had no capacity to chill anti-Communist speakers in the West; as a practical matter, the ability of the KGB to interdict speech extended only to the border of the Soviet empire and allied sphere of control. Not so with the Islamists, who manage to chill American bookstores and newspapers merely by the example of their threats in other places. The Islamic threat to free expression far surpasses the Communist, at least geographically.

3/28/2008 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

It's fascinating to see how the state, in Western countries, is choosing to stand aside before threats like this. It's an extraordinary anomaly.

Tony Blair's response, for instance, to similar behavior by eco-terrorists was to toughen enforcement and vow publicly that perpetrators would be found and jailed (as they subsequently were, and since then those threats and attacks have subsided). By contrast the Western state's message to its citizens in the face of intimidation like this from Muslim fanatics, though, seems to be 'you're on your own'.

This is asking for trouble in so many ways. For one, how long is it likely to be before our opponents all slide behind a protective Muslim coloration?

It's also worth taking a moment to stop and consider how absurd a position this is. Any modern problem you might be considered to have, from obesity to unemployment to whatever, there's either already a government department to address it or the nanny state will rush to assert that it can provide a solution. Crazed Muslims threatening to cut off your employees' heads, on the other hand? Uh... let's talk about something else.

It's not even as if the remedy would be difficult, or expensive. All Western governments would have to do is state that any content which is the subject of threats like this would henceforth be hosted on their own servers, and the threats would cease because they would become pointless. The truth is, our governments are at this point choosing to hide behind their own citizens.

3/28/2008 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Nomenklatura makes an excellent point about the West's you're on your own philosophy when dealing with Islamic threats.

There is another dimension even more spectacular. Government money building mosques in Boston and foot baths springing up like weeds on college campuses.

All of this emboldens Islam which I firmly believe Congress should redefine in this country as a philosophy and not guard it as a religion.
Fitna we have been seeing played out for real worldwide.

We should also remove from the Statue of Liberty The New Colossus" the sonnet by Emma Lazarus which in part is inscribed

"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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


We've got enough tempest tossed trash from the world to last several generations. Let them assimilate before we once again open the gates.
Let them go huddle in some damn desert wadi or other parts of their countries.

3/28/2008 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

I mean let's break it down
"Give me your tired, your poor,( reads We're a welfare state and trying our damnest to get totally socialized medicine)
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,( OK I'm all for fresh air but the poor don't bathe much and soon a mephitic toxicity fills your nostrils)
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.( Pleeese, why the hell would we want wretched refuse, we have surplus of it already..stop the madness)
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,(reads We've lost our minds)
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"(Reads our housing market is collapsing)

The entire frigg'n sonnet is a nightmare of offal ..somebody get the grinder and crank it up.

3/28/2008 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/28/2008 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

The truth is, our governments are at this point choosing to hide behind their own citizens.

The truth is the citizenry is now so dumbed down and debased that it has capitulated it's rights to the government down that long road to serfdom.

The Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution has no meaning for the average citizen any longer as they ceaselessly yearn for big daddy government.

Ninth Amendment

3/28/2008 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

habu:

I don't regard the Colossus of New York as the "Statue of Liberty". Instead, it is an enormous monument to French condescension toward the United States. I often think that gift did more to harm Franco-American relations than help it. Perhaps if New York can't get its act together and rebuild the World Trade Center, the United States could fund a replica of the World Trade Center in France. For that matter, France can get the United Nations too. And just think, the French establishment will think they got something wonderful if Paris hosts the world headquarters of the United Nations. Only decades later will they realize just what a curse hosting that conclave really is...

I've sometimes daydreamed about the World Trade Center being rebuilt on some reclaimed (and flattened) strip mine in western Pennsylvania, with the two tall towers used by our military as a combination artillery platform and office space. Oh well, one can dream.

3/29/2008 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The film is available on Google Video

The "official" response, particularly in the EU, and also in the USA will be not to stand up for free speech but to attack the people who bring Islam into the Conversation.

3/29/2008 03:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Ethic of Greed"
Obama Uses term coined by American Fascist.
Obama blames 'ethic of greed' for economy - Yahoo! News

Seward Collins - Wikipedia,

YouTube - Seward Collins The movie

Amazon - Seward Collins And the Chimera of an American Fascism


In the American Review, he sought to develop an American form of fascism and praised Italian dicator Benito Mussolini and German dictator Adolf Hitler in an article titled "Monarch as Alternative," which appeared in the first issue in 1933. In that essay, Collins attacked both capitalism and communism and heralded the "New Monarch," who would champion the common good over and against the machinations of capitalists and communists. His praise of Hitler was grounded in his belief that Hitler's rise to power that year heralded the end of the communist threat, as is illustrated by this excerpt:

"One would gather from the fantastic lack of proportion of our press -- not to say its gullibility and sensationalism -- that the most important aspect of the German revolution was the hardships suffered by Jews under the new regime. Even if the absurd atrocity stories were all true, the fact would be almost negligible beside an event that shouts aloud in spite of the journalistic silence: the victory of Hitler signifies the end of the Communist threat, forever. Wherever Communism grows strong enough to make a Communist revolution a danger, it will be crushed by a Fascist revolution."
In a 1936 interview that he granted to Grace Lumpkin in the pro-communist periodical FIGHT against War and Fascism, Collins stated: "I am a fascist. I admire Hitler and Mussolini very much. They have done great things for their countries." When Lumpkin objected to Hitler's persecution of the Jews, Collins replied: "It is not persecution. The Jews make trouble. It is necessary to segregate them."

3/29/2008 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pat Dollard Has the Video

3/29/2008 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Read that third sentence again - the British government is destructive of liberty because it will not secure the right of the British people to have freedom of speech.

In the United States it has been declared that our liberty, and therefore our freedom of speech, is a natural right which comes from God; and it can be defended by each individual American by his or her natural God-given right to self-defense i.e.: by bearing arms. If the American government will not participate in this defense of God-given liberty we are empowered by the Declaration of Independence to alter or abolish it.

In Britain and in the rest of Europe and in Canada, liberty is a privilege granted by their government or by their constitutions. Such a watered down and government-derived form of liberty can be revoked, or as in the current case with LiveLeak, it can just be ignored - and their citizens don't have the right to bear arms to fall back on - nor do they have a delcared right to alter or abolish their government and lay down a new foundation for securing of their liberty.

3/29/2008 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Resistance movements have always been attractive to the clandestine elements of society. And who is more clandestine than criminals?

It is why intel organizations employ them. They already have a leg up on tradecraft.

3/29/2008 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Black Flight: Obama’s Former Pastor heads for 10,000 sq/ft Retreat.

(avoid middleclassness...
While I go high.)

3/29/2008 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Fitna is already available through the easy-to-Google Torrent portals. But if you do look for it, brace yourself for alot of ads for nudie web sites.

3/29/2008 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Wretchard,

Thanks for pointing out that the Drug War is a huge Trojan Horse in outr midst.

3/29/2008 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

As of 9:25 AM EDT, there are 36 links on Torrentz.com for "Fitna", suggesting that p-2-p will keep the movie available for some time to come.

http://www.torrentz.com/search?q=fitna

And this raises the question: who would/can the Islamists threaten to stop Fitna being distributed in this manner? After all, they use the same method to distribute their own propaganda.

3/29/2008 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Storm-Rider,

The FF's knew and hated governments. They were even vary of leaving the Articles of Confederation and later the Constitution. They realized they must have a government so they went with a republic.
Having restated the obvious they , as you have pointed out, attempted to give the citizenry the greatest latitude in modifying that government in any way possible when it turned, as they all eventually do , to tyranny.
However they were also of the belief that it would take 100 years for manifest (it occurred in one fifth that time) destiny to be fulfilled and they certainly didn't envision the mongrelization from a Christian nation to a toxic brew of Reverend Wrights Black Liberation Theology or harboring an antithetical philosophy such as Islam within our culture.

It is shaping up so that the threat will be internal , driven by external forces..stand by to stand by...locked and loaded.

3/29/2008 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I hope that some smart hacker doods out there in the etheric can go onto the various jihadist web-sites to link to the movie, but might even be able to put it on the site so that it automatically pops up on the home page when clicked.

Be fun to also link it to tourist and embassy sites for places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and especially Dubai which is heavily pushing itself as a major world tourism destination.

3/29/2008 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

It is shaping up so that the threat will be internal , driven by external forces..stand by to stand by...locked and loaded.

Haven't we known for some year now that during the coming Apocalypse, we were going to have to deal with the raging Left who have refused to accept the results of the last election in the gentleman's agreement that our democracy is built on? The Pinch's and Teddy's and Sean's?

Now we just need to also factor in the percentage of black people who applaud Reverend Wright (thanks for making it so obvious to the rest of us who you are) to those squalling progressives when we get to the point of hunting down the people who would betray us to our enemies.

I don't see angry uneducated or overly-educated haters of either color being that big a threat or that hard to eradicate, once the line is drawn in the sand and life as an American becomes more "kinetic".

3/29/2008 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Habu, that sonnet underscores the reson why the European elites have lothed us for centures. The people they regard as trash come here and prosper. Demonstrating that the problem is with the elites governence, not with the people.

Oh and the reason the media leave out the nihilism is because they themselves are nihilists.

3/29/2008 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Pamphleteers and Samizdat

Some of us have been plugging away at non-governmental responses to Jihad for years.

Here's a blast from the past:

Starling David Hunter said in a comment to Center of Gravity ...



. . . What can be done is that individuals can form loose-knit, issue-centric "citizen information militias" as I think I termed it in the comments of a previous thread.

Each CIM would be organized around 1-2 major and a handful of minor issues.

Each CIM would be formed of at least two major departments or functional areas- research and retail and possibly and third operations.

The Research department would work on information gathering and analysis.

The Retail department's basic responsibility would be to identify channels through which, the means by which, and the audience to whom the CIM's messages could delivered. They might also cultivate feeders who could send useful leads to them and/or the research group.

If there is an "Operations" group it's job would be to maintain the critical infrastructure (websites, blog, etc) and to provide technical support and evaluate the cost and feasibility of adopting software applications, adding features (e.g. podcasting, video).

In the CIM's early stages the Operations function could be subordinate to "Retail".

At the top of the food chain would be a farily small cadre of writers whose primary responsibility is to craft compelling content.

If that group has a leader, it would also be his or her job to set the broad agenda for the CIM, in consultation with the other team members, as well as to look for opportunies to collaborate with other CIMs on projects of mutual interest.

The smallest number of people required for a CIM to be effective would probably be 5-6 excluding the occasional feeder. While the structure could theoretically scale up by an order of magnitude, in practical terms it would probably be best to split them at about a size of 12-15. It is my feeling that anything larger than that requires communication and organizational design practices that are overly formal for what should be a rather organic undertaking. Even a CIM of 12-15 should be able to be broken into two if new issue arise that require it.

3/07/2006 06:40:00 PM

The Politically Incorrect Insurgency is finally beginning to take off.

3/29/2008 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"Oh and the reason the media leave out the nihilism is because they themselves are nihilists."

The media are bureaucrats. While they may speak nihilism, they do not live it. They choose to live fatted bourgeois lives, the more fatted the better. The great thing currently is that "the new media" (an ingenious linguistic attempt at boxing in the concept of "free speech" so that it may be regulated/extinguished) is destroying their bureaucracy and, therefore, their fatted bourgeois livelihoods.

3/30/2008 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger Nichevo said...

From Instapundit:

GOOD NEWS FOR FREE SPEECH: LiveLeak brings back Fitna.
posted at 10:41 AM by Glenn Reynolds


(http://lawhawk.blogspot.com/2008/03/liveleak-restores-fitna.html)

3/31/2008 12:19:00 PM  

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