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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jihadists to West: shut up

The problem for Islamic fundamentalists is the age-old problem of reaction against changing cultural forms. The "solution" is typical also: Violent measures taken against the perceived oppressors. This means to war-fighters that thought-forms associated with the outsiders must be suppressed.

The jihad against the West's cultural influence is probably a lost cause. The reason is that, as we've seen in Iran, people tire of hypocritical rigid orthodoxy. (I would never say that all Western mass culture is a good thing; Christian preachers have been warning about such influences for years.)

At any rate, it's quite interesting that Islamic jihadists use the very technologies -- internet, smart phones, probably even Twitter -- that constitute a powerful agent of change, undermining the Islamic values rooted in some mythical past.

Of course, much of the Islamic jihad ideology is essentially a tool for rallying the masses under one banner: anti-Israelism.

Censors generally tend to be soul-mates. Whether the censor be jihadist or neocon, at heart they are not very different.

See sidebar for a link to the naughty Mohammed cartoons. -->

The American press has not done terribly well in defending the First Amendment in latter years.

Consider the Plame affair. Two reporters were jailed for refusing to disclose sources about who revealed Plame's CIA identity. In the end, it turned out that Bush and Cheney had declassified her identity. So phttt... went any prosecution of Libby's boss Cheney.

Yet, the system hunkered down and obfuscated the fact that certainly Cheney and possibly Bush kept silent about the declassification while Cooper and Miller were cooling their heels in jail.

Bush reportedly admitted declassifying a set of materials that could be used to defend the White House against Wilson, putting Cheney in charge of countermeasures. Bush reputedly said he didn't realize Cheney was selectively leaking the data rather than going through normal press procedures.

The system's censorship by consensus of this matter essentially spared Cheney and perhaps Bush of a serious impeachment proceeding. Remember, Cheney could have ended Fitzgerald's probe right at the beginning by admitting he had leaked something Bush had, under his authority as president, declassified. Instead Cheney chose to let Fitzgerald proceed on a wild goose chase and had no problem at all with letting reporters be jailed.

Another example among many of the system hunkering down to thwart real questions stems from a British leak -- not denied by Downing Street -- that Blair had had to persuade Bush not to bomb al Jazeera at the start of Iraq hostilities. Al Jazeera was well justified in its suspicion that Bush had his way anyway when a U.S. artillery shell landed inside al Jazeera's Baghdad offices -- supposedly because of a sniper -- with fatal effect.

Clearly some group did not want this issue. Don't pursue the story in America. Keep the masses from awareness of it.

Or take the fact that a number of statisticians and mathematicians were enormously skeptical of Bush's claimed 2004 election victory. Basically, the story was suppressed. As was the fact that Rove's computer ace died before he could testify in the Ohio computerized voter fraud inquiry.

Clark Hoyt, public editor of the New York Times, has defended the paper's coverage of the widening sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, and in particular said that the paper's coverage of the now-pope's role was fair and responsible. The coverage has made the paper a target of those who see Catholic-bashing.

More apparent meddling with this blog. I used another email account to sign up a few minutes ago for monitoring of this blog. The ChangeDetection report for this url said that "this page has not had any sizable changes since 2010-04-22 10.50." So either ChangeDetection's definition of "sizable" is passing strange, or there is meddling in order to disrupt ease of access by "the masses."

Let's hope I can get the links in the body text 90 percent effective. I've been running into difficulties.

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