This opinion column appears today , March 3, 2015, in The Times of London.
It points out that there is a necessity to oppose the deal that Obama is making with the monstrous Iranian regime.
The defiant decision of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to
plead direct to the United States Congress against rushing into a nuclear
deal with Iran represents a watershed in the dismal relations between
Jerusalem and the Obama administration. A foreign leader is being invited
by Republicans to denounce the president on American soil. It is a speech
that even before its delivery today has split Israel and the Jewish
community in America, and is being presented by the Obama team as crude
electioneering and provocative mischief-making on the part of Mr Netanyahu.
Yet it is a necessary speech. All the signs are that the US, flanked by
five other powers including Britain, is accelerating towards a deal with
Tehran that will allow it to retain significant capacity to enrich uranium.
The arrangement would in theory allow the West to spot and block one year
in advance any attempt to build a bomb. That presumes easy access to the
most sensitive nuclear sites and a quick and efficient verification system.
Israel does not trust Iran. It sees a regime that is so desperate to have
sanctions lifted it is willing to fabricate concessions. The negotiations
do not include Iran’s ballistic-missile programme, whose prime function can
only be the delivery of a bomb.
Mr Netanyahu therefore comes to Washington full of suspicion not only about
Iranian intentions but also those of the Obama administration. He fears the
nuclear treaty would be the first step towards projecting Tehran as a de
facto ally and a regional power-broker. A nation that is so often
challenged by Iranian-backed Hezbollah militias and the Iranian-supplied
weaponry of Hamas has a right to be concerned.
Mr Netanyahu has, however, talked himself into an awkward corner. The
calendar creates an unfortunate linkage between the Israeli election on
March 17 and the next deadline for a settlement with Iran on March 28. Fear
of Iran is thus being played out in the Israeli campaign against the fear
of losing its most powerful ally, the United States. Almost 200 retired
Israeli security officials have warned Mr Netanyahu that he risks not only
a rupture with Washington but also advertising Israel’s weakness.
President Obama has needlessly aggravated relations with the Israeli
government by making it public that he is angry with the prime minister.
More, he seems ready to veto the bipartisan Kirk-Menendez bill that would
impose further sanctions on Tehran if it failed to sign an accord. This
saps the negotiating power of the West.
The relationship between the United States and Israel is too important, too
fundamental to Middle Eastern peace, to be drawn into partisan feuding.
Relations between Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu have never been warm but the US
should recognise that Iran cannot be blindly trusted. Tehran is already a
leading sponsor of terrorism in the region; it is alarming to contemplate
how nuclear weapons would transform this status. There is still time to
build cheat-proof assurances into a future accord. This must be done to
reassure Israel and all of Iran’s rightly nervous neighbours.
Rigorous inspection, led by the International Atomic Energy Agency, must
become the norm. Any attempt to conceal should be punished. Washington
cannot deny itself the option of escalating sanctions. Iran, though ready
for its own reasons to sit down with the West, remains a hostile power
rather than a putative ally.
Managing Editor, UK Media Watch.
In the picture above, an IS member unsheathes his sword as he prepares to behead an ancient Babylonian statue. His sheath is the Koran and the sword is covered with verses from the Koran. The caption states: “With this sword is civilization and humanity slaughtered.”
We quote Raymond Ibrahim, above and below:
The Daily Mail reports:
Islamic State thugs have destroyed a collection of priceless statues and sculptures in Iraq dating back thousands of years.
Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artwork as they rampaged through a museum in the northern city of Mosul.
Video footage shows a group of bearded men in the Nineveh Museum using tools to wreck 3,000-year-old statues after pushing them over.
Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artifacts at a museum in the northern city of Mosul
Militant uses a power tool to destroy a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity at the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. The statue dates back to the 9th century B.C.
A man shown in the video said the items were being destroyed because they promoted idolatry.
“The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him,” the unidentified man said.
The articles destroyed appeared to come from an antiquities museum in the northern city of Mosul, which was overrun by Islamic State last June, a former employee at the museum told Reuters.
The extremist group has destroyed a number of shrines – including Muslim holy sites – in a bid to eliminate what it views as heresy.
Militants are also believed to have sold ancient artwork on the black market in order to finance their bloody campaign across the region.ISIS destroy artifacts with sledgehammers at Mosul museum
Yesterday it was revealed how terrorists had blown up the Mosul Public Library, sending 10,000 books and more than 700 rare manuscripts up in flames.
Leading members of Mosul society reportedly tried to stop the fanatics destroying the building, but failed.
The director of the library, Ghanim al-Ta’an, said that the extremists used homemade bombs in the attack, which took place on Sunday.
He told Middle Eastern website Geran: “ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library. They used improvised explosive devices.”
Presumed destroyed are the Central Library’s collection of Iraqi newspapers dating to the early 20th century, maps and books from the Ottoman Empire and book collections contributed by around 100 of Mosul’s establishment families.
Large segments of the priceless winged-bull Assyrian protective deity are hurled to the ground as militants smash it to pieces
Isis first invaded the Central Library in January. Residents say the extremists smashed the locks that had protected the biggest repository of learning in the northern Iraq town, and loaded around 2,000 books – including children’s stories, poetry, philosophy and tomes on sports, health, culture and science – into six pickup trucks. They left only Islamic texts.
“These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned,” a bearded militant in traditional Afghani two-piece clothing told residents, according to one man living nearby who spoke to The Associated Press.
The enlightened West is doing nothing to stop them.
“Our evening is over us; our night whelms, whelms and will end us.”
- Gerard Manley Hopkins: Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves. ( He was a Jesuit. But even so, a very good poet.)
The Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) jihadis have issued a video proudly showing them smashing ancient artifacts in Mosul’s central museum. They have also destroyed 8,000 books and manuscripts, all precious, many very ancient, in the library of Nineveh.
This video includes parts of that one, while making an unspoken but most eloquent and apt comment on it:
(Hat-tip our Facebook commenter Tedd Allen)
The Muslim in this video from the British TV channel Sky News is speaking for an Islamic organization called CAGE.
CAGE, be it well noted, is run by former Guantanamo Bay inmates – and is an affiliate of Amnesty International.
Amnesty International was taken over by extreme lefties decades ago.
Although Amnesty International is not mentioned, this interview illustrates how far the bizarre alliance between Islam and the Left has defiled and contorted a Western institution founded originally to defend the principle of individual freedom.
Here comes a future political leader.
We quote from The American Mirror:
President Obama may enjoy the approval of 84% of blacks, but don’t count CJ Pearson among them.
Pearson, a 12-year-old middle school student in Georgia, has more informed opinions than many adults.
The student posted a YouTube video yesterday in which he seeks to “applaud Mayor Rudy Giuliani for his comments about President Barack Obama” [that Obama does not love America].
CJ Pearson says:
Here’s the truth of the matter: I don’t want to be politically correct. I don’t care about being politically correct at this point.
President Obama, You don’t love America. If you really did love America, you would call ISIS what it really is: an assault on Christianity, an assault on America and downright hate for the American values that our country holds. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and every single thing that our country stands for.
I hope that one day people will get enough guts to speak out against your downright hatred for this nation. …
But here’s what you need to realize: here in America, we don’t back down to terrorists. We fight them on their own battleground and we annihilate them till the very end.
Here in America, we don’t allow the government to take away what we work for but we continue to work harder so that we may continue to succeed.”
Pearson is executive director of a group called “Young Georgians in Government”.
His Facebook page says he is “committed to fighting for conservative principles and engaging young people in the political process.”
“Most young people really don’t have an interest in government or politics, but we need to pique that interest. We need to make sure they know that the decisions politicians make are going to affect them,” the student told ABC 6 in a profile story last December.
We overlook the reference to Obama’s “assaulting” Christianity. We assault Christianity too – but far more intelligently than Obama does, of course.
We like everything else CJ Pearson says.
This week we take two cartoons from PowerLine’s The Week in Pictures.
We like them both, equally.
This is from Canada Free Press, by Matthew Vadum:
President Obama is appointing an openly terrorist-sympathizing Muslim to head a government office dedicated to countering Islamic State propaganda.
In April, Rashad Hussain will take over as director of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, a small office within the U.S. Department of State that Obama plans to make bigger. A new component called the Information Coordination Cell will be added to the expanded center and will reportedly be staffed by intelligence analysts. It will have a staff of around 80 people and will coordinate with other government agencies. The head-chopping barbarians of the Islamic State will no doubt cower in fear because the U.S. government has, as the newspaper notes, “more than 350 State Department Twitter accounts, combining embassies, consulates, media hubs, bureaus and individuals, as well as similar accounts operated by the Pentagon, the Homeland Security Department and foreign allies”.
Hussain is reportedly a devout Muslim who maintains close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood’s network in the U.S. He has been spewing radical Islamic propaganda for years. As a law student at Yale University in 2004, Hussain whined that the prosecution of University of South Florida professor Sami al-Arian was a “politically motivated persecution” calculated “to squash dissent”.
How slickly these would-be squashers of dissent have learn to use the language of freedom and tolerance to advance their intolerant totalitarian ideology!
The academic was recently deported and he entered guilty pleas regarding his activities as a leader of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Hussain’s pro-terrorist activities have continued since he left college. In a 2008 paper for the Brookings Institution he argued that language that links Muslim terrorism to Islam itself should be avoided. “Policymakers should reject the use of language that provides a religious legitimization of terrorism such as ‘Islamic terrorism’ and ‘Islamic extremist’,” he wrote. “They should replace such terminology with more specific and descriptive terms such as ‘Al-Qaeda terrorism’.” This is, of course, exactly what the Obama administration did upon coming into power the next year. Even today Obama argues strenuously that the U.S. is in conflict only with specific terrorist groups and not with the Muslim world as a whole.
In the same paper Hussain urged the U.S. to “welcome and encourage the further development of mainstream Muslim organizations and moderate institutions”. He specifically referenced the work of the Fiqh Council of North America, which is linked to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
Hussain has also written that, “The primary cause of broad-based anger and anti-Americanism is not a clash of civilizations but the perceived effect of U.S. foreign policy in the Muslim world.” This is, of course, the standard left-wing rationalization for Islamic aggression against the United States. It ignores the pattern of violent expansionism that has characterized Islam since the days of its founding prophet. It also ignores the fact that Islam, which is the Arabic word for submission, does not believe in the marketplace of ideas. Islam does not recognize separation of church and state. Its purpose from its creation has always been to conquer and eliminate all other religions. It must dominate.
President Obama, who nowadays makes no secret of his sympathy for Islamic terrorists, picked the right man to carry out his policies. Hussain has already been working for the Obama administration for five years. In February 2010 Obama appointed Hussain as his ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (previously known as the Organization of the Islamic Conference). [The expert on Islam] [Robert] Spencer describes the OIC as “the thuggish international organization that is engaged in a full-scale campaign to intimidate Western governments into adopting hate speech codes that will effectively quash criticism of Islam — including jihad violence perpetrated in its name.” OIC has long been pushing the myth that there is such a thing as “Islamophobia”.
Obama gushed over Hussain when he first appointed him to an administration post. “I’m proud to announce today that I am appointing my Special Envoy to the OIC — Rashad Hussain. As an accomplished lawyer and a close and trusted member of my White House staff, Rashad has played a key role in developing the partnerships I called for in Cairo [in 2009],” Obama said at the time. “And as a hafiz of the Qur’an, he is a respected member of the American Muslim community, and I thank him for carrying forward this important work.” (Hafiz is Arabic for “guardian” and refers to a man who has memorized all of the Koran.)
Of course, Hussain was a natural fit for the OIC, which itself is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. It consists of 56 member states plus the Palestinian Authority and aspires to impose shariah law on the entire world. It seeks to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate.
Now that Obama is safely reelected and the final off-year congressional election of his presidency is completed, he doesn’t care about appearances anymore. Obama doesn’t feel the need for the careful, studied, Alinskyite deception that marked his first six years in the highest office in the land. Now he is free at long last to be Obama and to let his Chicagoland, red-diaper baby, freak flag fly.
His despotic power is essentially unchallenged.
Islam is the enemy of the free world. It is the enemy of humanity. It is the enemy of America.
It’s leader is Barack Obama, bewilderingly the president of the United States.
Now that he does not have to face another election, he is ever more open about his prime task – to help Islam to power, conquest, and victory.
He is the Caliph-in-waiting, and if he succeeds in achieving the triumph of Islam, he may one day bear the title of Caliph Barack Hussein Obama.
20 Quotes By Barack Obama About Islam – from D. C. Clothesline:
#1 “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.”
#2 “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer.” [“Prettiest”, we think it was actually.]
#3 “We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world, including in my own country.”
#4 “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.”
#5 “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.”
#6 “Islam has always been part of America.”
#7 “We will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities.”
#8 “These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.”
#9 “America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
#10 “I made clear that America is not — and never will be — at war with Islam.”
#11 “Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism — it is an important part of promoting peace.”
#12 “So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.”
#13 “In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.”
#14 “Throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”
#15 “Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality.”
#16 “The Holy Koran tells us, ‘O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another’.”
#17 “I look forward to hosting an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan here at the White House later this week, and wish you a blessed month.”
#18 “We’ve seen those results in generations of Muslim immigrants – farmers and factory workers, helping to lay the railroads and build our cities, the Muslim innovators who helped build some of our highest skyscrapers and who helped unlock the secrets of our universe.”
#19 “That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”
#20 “I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”
The list is followed by another, of disparaging remarks Obama has made about Christianity, which we are omitting. Our point is that he loves Islam. It is because he loves Islam that he consults with the Muslim Brotherhood and is helping Iran get the Bomb.
While Muslims are burning men to death in cages, slitting their throats in choreographed snuff films, burying children alive, enslaving women and children, raping girls, sticking human heads on poles, threatening Europe and America with violence, Obama holds a meeting to discuss with Muslims who have assisted terrorism every way they can, how to protect Muslims from hate and discrimination.
We quote from an article at Canada Free Press, by Arnold Ahlert. (Note: Wherever he writes “Islamist”, we would say “jihadist”.) -
On Feb. 4, Obama hosted a meeting at the White House with 14 Muslim leaders, including Azhar Azeez, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and Hoda Elshishtawy of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
Both groups were founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the jihadist organization that spawned al-Qaeda, Hamas, and eventually ISIS (as Arnold Ahlert explains in the same article, and is also discussed here); and some of its members are employed as advisers by the Obama administration.
Former congressman Pete Hoekstra was incensed. The Michigan Republican insisted it was “absolutely outrageous” for Obama to invite “the Muslim Brotherhood into our government to meet with the White House”. “These are people who are committed to destroying our way of life,” [he] warned. “The policy failures go on and on and on, and that’s how we need to be addressing this president and challenging him that his policies are just not working.”
Such challenges will have to overcome that complicity, as well as the grim determination by this administration not to link terror[ism] with Islam. Both challenges are epitomized by the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism beginning today. As the AP explains, the Summit will “highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting and inspiring others, particularly disaffected young people”.
The words “Islamist” or “terror”? Nowhere to be found.
As for complicity, one of the Summit’s attendees is the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) an organization with extensive ties to terror[ism], including former Cambridge mosque worshipper Ahmad Abousamra who is currently ISIS’s top propagandist, as well as the Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing. The Cambridge mosque, ISB’s first house of worship was founded in 1982 by Abdulrahman Alamoudi, currently serving a 23-year prison term for his conviction as an al Qaeda fundraiser. Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of theMuslim Brotherhood, was a founding trustee at the ISB’s second mosque in Roxbury.
One of the Obama administration’s ostensible ideas for preventing recruitment and radicalization? State Department spokesperson Marie Harf [said] … we cannot “kill” our way to victory against ISIS. “We need, in the … medium and longer term, to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs … ”
Jobs? Twenty-one Egyptian Christians went to Libya in search of jobs. ISIS decapitated every one of them.
The Obama administration is morally bankrupt. And as the history of the MB-ISIS connections presented here suggests, it is only a matter of time before Americans pay an unconscionable price for that bankruptcy.
And this is from an article by Joseph Klein at Front Page:
Obama prepped for his summit by meeting with a group of Islamists behind closed doors on February 4th.
This meeting was held at the request of Muslim Advocates, an Islamist group that has demanded a stop to what it considers unwarranted law enforcement surveillance of Muslim Americans and criticized the FBI for racial and religious profiling.
Obama administration officials who attended the meeting included Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.
Jarrett is Obama’s Grand Vizier, and Rice and Rhodes come next in the hierarchy of the Caliphate. These three are the architects as well as the chief executives of Obama’s caliphate.
In addition to the Muslim Advocates’ executive director, Farhana Khera, two of the Islamists who attended were the past and current presidents of the Islamic Society of North America (Mohamed Magid and Azhar Azeez, respectively), which was reportedly established by U.S-based members of the Muslim Brotherhood and was named on a list of “unindicted co-conspirators” in the federal terrorism prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.
“This meeting could not have come at a better time,” said Farhana Khera, who was well aware of the president’s summit conference on “countering violent extremism” to be held two weeks later.
In its press release describing the February 4th meeting, Muslim Advocates said: “Participants at the roundtable discussed a range of issues, including racial and religious profiling, anti-Muslim hate and discrimination, and the need for greater representation of American Muslims in government and the federal judiciary.”
The capital of the Caliphate will be Washington, D.C.
The only question is – how soon?
Is it possible that most Americans are waking up at last to realize what sort of person they elected president?
Hard to say. They – astonishingly – elected him twice!
Roger L. Simon for one is “flabbergasted” at what Obama is doing to America and the world. (But then, as far as we know – and we’d be flabbergasted to be told otherwise – he never voted for him.)
He writes with understandable emotion at P.J. Media:
Barack Obama …. and the media and the brainwashed public that elected him are destroying our country (and the West) all by themselves. They don’t need any secret conspirators in the back room. They’re all there in public view. And how.
Obamacare and the sabotaging of the immigration system were bad enough, but they are absolutely trivial compared to what is going on now. We have the next thing to a jihadist in the White House. From the inability to name Islamic terrorists as Islamic, to the failure to name Jews as the objects of homicidal anti-Semitism at a kosher market, to the complete omission of the word Christian when 21 Christians have their heads cut off (simultaneously!) for being Christian, we have in the Oval Office not only the worst president in the history of our country, we have the worst person to be president.
And now he is opening the door to a huge number of Syrian refugees, who knows how many of whom may be members of ISIS, al Qaeda or some group we haven’t even heard of yet. If I were a Christian or a Jew … I’d make sure [my] door was locked at night and [I] had exercised [my] Second Amendment rights.
And if this weren’t enough, Obama is colluding with the Iranian ayatollahs as if he were a Shiite imam, not only to help them get nuclear weapons, but to form a permanent alliance with the United States against the Sunni world. How insane is that! …
But is Obama aware that the alliance is “against the Sunni world”? His closest political buddies are the Muslim Brotherhood, and they’re Sunni. He’s quite capable of being so confused that he hasn’t thought of that. But wouldn’t his Muslim Brotherhood advisers point it out?
I have to say I’m flabbergasted. I never thought I’d be living in times like this. …
I wish I knew what to do, because convincing Obama to act is a double-edged sword. He is a horrible person to be a commander-in-chief and to put our troops in his hands is an awful thing to do to them. He will undoubtedly pull the rug out from under them just at the wrong moment. And they certainly know it. How could they not?
So what do we do? Maybe hunker down and hope we make it through to 2016 with the right result. It’ll be a long slog, and a miserable one.
We see it that way too.
We stand on the opposite side of the Great Political Divide (freedom v socialism) from Britain’s Guardian newspaper. But it covers the news better, and provides more useful information, than most of its competitors.
We quote from an extract it has taken from a book titled, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen.
The story of yesterday’s post was about the US government controlling our uses of the internet. Today’s story is about international controls on this last zone of freedom; and how a country could build a virtual wall round itself to cut itself off from the global internet – and then enforce extreme censorship within its own “walled garden”.
Each state will attempt to regulate the internet, and shape it in its own image. The majority of the world’s internet users encounter some form of censorship – also known by the euphemism “filtering” – but what that actually looks like depends on a country’s policies and its technological infrastructure. …
In some countries, there are several entry points for internet connectivity, and a handful of private telecommunications companies control them (with some regulation). In others, there is only one entry point, a nationalised internet service provider (ISP), through which all traffic flows. Filtering is relatively easy in the latter case, and more difficult in the former.
When technologists began to notice states regulating and projecting influence online, some warned against a “Balkanisation of the internet”, whereby national filtering and other restrictions would transform what was once the global internet into a connected series of nation-state networks. The web would fracture and fragment, and soon there would be a “Russian internet” and an “American internet” and so on, all coexisting and sometimes overlapping but, in important ways, separate. Information would largely flow within countries but not across them, due to filtering, language or even just user preference. The process would at first be barely perceptible to users, but it would fossilise over time and ultimately remake the internet.
It’s very likely that some version of the above scenario will occur, but the degree to which it does will greatly be determined by what happens in the next decade with newly connected states – which path they choose, whom they emulate and work together with.
The first stage of the process, aggressive and distinctive filtering, is under way. China is the world’s most active and enthusiastic filterer of information. Entire platforms that are hugely popular elsewhere in the world – Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter – are blocked by the Chinese government.
On the Chinese internet, you would be unable to find information about politically sensitive topics such as the Tiananmen Square protests, embarrassing information about the Chinese political leadership, the Tibetan rights movement and the Dalai Lama, or content related to human rights, political reform or sovereignty issues. …
China’s leadership doesn’t hesitate to defend its policies. In a white paper released in 2010, the government calls the internet “a crystallisation of human wisdom” but states that China’s “laws and regulations clearly prohibit the spread of information that contains contents subverting state power, undermining national unity or infringing upon national honour and interests.”
The next stage for many states will be collective editing, states forming communities of interest to edit the web together, based on shared values or geopolitics.
For “edit” read “censor”. States’ governments will decide what values it shares with other states’ governments.
For larger states, collaborations will legitimise their filtering efforts and deflect some unwanted attention (the “look, others are doing it too” excuse). For smaller states, alliances along these lines will be a low-cost way to curry favour with bigger players and gain technical skills that they might lack at home.
Collective editing may start with basic cultural agreements and shared antipathies among states, such as what religious minorities they dislike, how they view other parts of the world or what their cultural perspective is …
Larger states are less likely to band together than smaller ones – they already have the technical capabilities – so it will be a fleet of smaller states, pooling their resources, that will find this method useful. If some member countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an association of former Soviet states, became fed up with Moscow’s insistence on standardising the Russian language across the region, they could join together to censor all Russian-language content from their national internets and thus limit their citizens’ exposure to Russia.
Ideology and religious morals are likely to be the strongest drivers of these collaborations. Imagine if a group of deeply conservative Sunni-majority countries – say, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria and Mauritania – formed an online alliance and decided to build a “Sunni web”. While technically this Sunni web would still be part of the larger internet, it would become the main source of information, news, history and activity for citizens living in these countries.
For years, the development and spread of the internet was highly determined by its English-only language standard, but the continued implementation of internationalised domain names (IDN), which allow people to use and access domain names written in non-Roman alphabet characters, is changing this. The creation of a Sunni web – indeed, all nationalised internets – becomes more likely if its users can access a version of the internet in their own language and script.
Within the Sunni web, the internet could be sharia-complicit: e-commerce and e-banking would look different, since no one would be allowed to charge interest; religious police might monitor online speech, working together with domestic law enforcement to report violations; websites with gay or lesbian content would be uniformly blocked; women’s movements online might somehow be curtailed; and ethnic and religious minority groups might find themselves closely monitored, restricted or even excluded. …
There will be some instances where autocratic and democratic nations edit the web together. Such a collaboration will typically happen when a weaker democracy is in a neighbourhood of stronger autocratic states that coerce it to make the same geopolitical compromises online that it makes in the physical world.
For example, Mongolia is a young democracy with an open internet, sandwiched between Russia and China – two large countries with their own unique and restrictive internet policies. … Seeking to please its neighbours [and so] preserve its own physical and virtual sovereignty, Mongolia might find it necessary to abide by a Chinese or Russian mandate and filter internet content associated with hot-button issues.
What started as the world wide web will begin to look more like the world itself, full of internal divisions and divergent interests.
And full of tyranny.
Some form of visa requirement will emerge on the internet. … Citizen engagement, international business operations and investigative reporting will all be seriously affected. …
Under conditions like these, the world will see its first Internet asylum seeker. A dissident who can’t live freely under an autocratic Internet and is refused access to other states’ Internets will choose to seek physical asylum in another country to gain virtual freedom on its Internet. … Virtual asylum will not work, however, if the ultimate escalation occurs: the creation of an alternative domain name system (DNS), or even aggressive and ubiquitous tampering with it to advance state interests.
Today, the internet as we know it uses the DNS to match computers and devices to relevant data sources, translating IP addresses (numbers) into readable names, with .edu, .com, .net suffixes, and vice versa. No government has yet achieved an alternative system, but if one succeeded in doing so, it would effectively unplug its population from the global internet and instead offer only a closed, national intranet. In technical terms, this would entail creating a censored gateway between a given country and the rest of the world, so that a human proxy could facilitate external data transmissions when absolutely necessary – for matters involving state resources, for instance.
It’s the most extreme version of what technologists call a walled garden. On the internet, a walled garden refers to a browsing environment that controls a user’s access to information and services online. … For the full effect of disconnection, the government would also instruct the routers to fail to advertise the IP addresses of websites – unlike DNS names, IP addresses are immutably tied to the sites themselves – which would have the effect of putting those websites on a very distant island, utterly unreachable. Whatever content existed on this national network would circulate only internally, trapped like a cluster of bubbles in a computer screen saver, and any attempts to reach users on this network from the outside would meet a hard stop. With the flip of a switch, an entire country would simply disappear from the internet.
This is not as crazy as it sounds. It was first reported in 2011 that the Iranian government’s plan to build a “halal internet” was under way, and the regime’s December 2012 launch of Mehr, its own version of YouTube with “government-approved videos”, demonstrated that it was serious about the project. Details of the plan remained hazy but, according to Iranian government officials, in the first phase the national “clean” internet would exist in tandem with the global internet for Iranians (heavily censored as it is), then it would come to replace the global internet altogether. The government and affiliated institutions would provide the content for the national intranet, either gathering it from the global web and scrubbing it, or creating it manually. All activity on the network would be closely monitored. Iran’s head of economic affairs told the country’s state-run news agency that they hoped their halal internet would come to replace the web in other Muslim countries, too – at least those with Farsi speakers. Pakistan has pledged to build something similar. …
How exactly the state intends to proceed with this project is unclear both technically and politically. How would it avoid enraging the sizable chunk of its population that has access to the internet? Some believe it would be impossible to fully disconnect Iran from the global internet because of its broad economic reliance on external connections. Others speculate that, if it wasn’t able to build an alternative root system, Iran could pioneer a dual-internet model that other repressive states would want to follow. Whichever route Iran chooses, if it is successful in this endeavour, its halal internet would surpass the “great firewall of China” as the single most extreme version of information censorship in history. It would change the internet as we know it.
As the Guardian puts it (not necessarily implying disapproval): the net is closing in.