Monday, February 08, 2010

The future is now: planned Internet censorship previewed by U.S. visa rejections.

With more and more indications coming from the Obama administration that it is planning to limit freedom of speech and expression on the Internet -- particularly with the head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, who advocates censorship and web site disruption -- a blueprint for what is to come can be seen in the government's banning of certain foreigners from entering the United States for political reasons.

In his book, "Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge," Sunstein writes: "Every day, like-minded people can and do sort themselves into echo chambers of their own design, leading to wild errors, undue confidence, and unjustified extremism." Sunstein complements the web site, the Volokh Conspiracy, which has attacked WMR's editor, as a "conservative-leaning" web site that is an example of "civility, intelligence, and over-all high quality." The Volokh Conspiracy, is, in fact, a neoconservative propaganda outlet that now enjoys a fan who also happens to be the White House "information czar." This is what Volokh parroted about this editor's reporting: "Think twice when you're the only guy in the world with an amazing insight. Or, as they say, They all laughed at Columbus. But they also all laughed at Bozo the Clown." What else can you say about an Information Czar that credits such a web site? Of course, Sunstein works for the first teleprompter elected President of the United States and its avatar, a well-spoken push button-operated human named Barack Obama.

Perhaps the bext example of what Sunstein and his friends have in store for the Internet is found by the decisions of the State Department in who they ban from receiving U.S. visas to travel to the United States and why the individuals are banned.

Perhaps the most well-known person who has been refused entry to the United States merely because of his religion is Yusuf Islam, who is better known as Cat Stevens. Stevens adopted his new name when he converted to Islam. Islam's name is on a U.S. watch lost and he has been banned from entering the United States because of his advocacy for Muslims around the world. A prominent Muslim scholar, Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss national, also saw his U.S. visa revoked after he was due to take up a professorship at the University of Notre Dame, a Catholic institution.

However, it is not only Muslims who have been seen their U.S. visas lifted for political reasons. The politically-outspoken British rapper, M. I. A., also known as Maya Arulpragasam, a British-born Tamil whose parents were born in Sri Lanka, also ended up on a U.S. "terrorist watch list" in 2007. Her crime was that her father was a member of a Tamil pro-independence movement, the Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students (EROS), that was linked by the United States to the Tamil Tigers, a U.S.-designated terrorist group that saw its members and other Tamils massacred last year by the Sri Lankan military with the assistance of the United States and Israel.

But M. I. A. committed another crime in the eyes of the United States. Her song's lyrics supported the struggles of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Tamils in Sri Lanka. In her song "Sunshowers" M.I.A. sings, "like PLO/we don't surrend-o."

The United States contended that M.I.A.'s appearance with a tiger in the above music video was an endorsement of the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers. But when the U.S. government comes up with a cockamamie conspiracy theory -- it results in drastic actions being taken.

Under Sunstein and the coming Internet censorship regime, supporters of the Palestinians and Tamils will be the first to feel the heat. Arulpragasam's views of the U.S. "global war on terror" would also not find a happy home in Sunstein's world view. She has been quoted as saying: "No one was singing about a million people dying in Iraq and us [Britain and America] fucking up and Saddam (Hussein) being hanged." Ironically, Arulparagasm is married to a member of the Zionist Bronfman whiskey family of Canada, although her husband goes by the name of Ben Brewer.

2007 also saw another pop star banned from the United States. Lilly Allen, who was to have filmed a music video with rapper Kanye West, who attacked George W. Bush over his handling of the Katrina disaster, was refused entry into the United States. Allen, a British national, was hauled into an interrogation room at Los Angeles International Airport after a flight from Australia and informed her work visa was not longer valid.

In Sunstein's "brave new Internet world," if you are a Palestinian or Tamil activist, an uppity African American rapper, or a Muslim who refuses to be pigeon-holed as a terrorist, watch out because Sunstein will be watching out for you.