FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine Could Control Web Content

FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine Could Control Web Content
McDowell warns reinstated powers could play in net neutrality debate, lead to government requiring balance on Web sites.

By Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
8/12/2008 5:37:12 PM

     There’s a huge concern among conservative talk radio hosts that reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine would all-but destroy the industry due to equal time constraints. But speech limits might not stop at radio. They could even be extended to include the Internet and “government dictating content policy.”

 

     FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell raised that as a possibility after talking with bloggers at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. McDowell spoke about a recent FCC vote to bar Comcast from engaging in certain Internet practices – expanding the federal agency’s oversight of Internet networks.

 

     The commissioner, a 2006 President Bush appointee, told the Business & Media Institute the Fairness Doctrine could be intertwined with the net neutrality battle. The result might end with the government regulating content on the Web, he warned. McDowell, who was against reprimanding Comcast, said the net neutrality effort could win the support of “a few isolated conservatives” who may not fully realize the long-term effects of government regulation.

 

     “I think the fear is that somehow large corporations will censor their content, their points of view, right,” McDowell said. “I think the bigger concern for them should be if you have government dictating content policy, which by the way would have a big First Amendment problem.”

 

     “Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair, under a so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ which won’t be called that – it’ll be called something else,” McDowell said. “So, will Web sites, will bloggers have to give equal time or equal space on their Web site to opposing views rather than letting the marketplace of ideas determine that?”

 

     McDowell told BMI the Fairness Doctrine isn’t currently on the FCC’s radar. But a new administration and Congress elected in 2008 might renew Fairness Doctrine efforts, but under another name.

 

     “The Fairness Doctrine has not been raised at the FCC, but the importance of this election is in part – has something to do with that,” McDowell said. “So you know, this election, if it goes one way, we could see a re-imposition of the Fairness Doctrine. There is a discussion of it in Congress. I think it won’t be called the Fairness Doctrine by folks who are promoting it. I think it will be called something else and I think it’ll be intertwined into the net neutrality debate.”

 

     A recent study by the Media Research Center’s Culture & Media Institute argues that the three main points in support of the Fairness Doctrine – scarcity of the media, corporate censorship of liberal viewpoints, and public interest – are myths.

The West’s Islamist Infiltrators

The West’s Islamist Infiltrators

By Daniel Pipes
FrontPageMagazine.com | 8/12/2008

Aafia Siddiqui, 36, is a Pakistani mother of three, an alumna of MIT, and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis University. She is also accused of working for Al-Qaeda and was charged last week in New York City with attempting to kill American soldiers.

Aafia Siddiqui is accused of working for Al-Qaeda.

Her arrest serves to remind how invisibly most Islamist infiltration proceeds. In particular, an estimated forty Al-Qaeda sympathizers or operatives have sought to penetrate U.S. intelligence agencies.

Such a well-placed infiltrator can wreck great damage explains a former CIA chief of counterintelligence, Michael Sulick: “In the war on terrorism, intelligence has replaced the Cold War’s tanks and fighter planes as the primary weapon against an unseen enemy.” Islamist moles, he argues, “could inflict far more damage to national security than Soviet spies,” for the U.S. and Soviet Union never actually fought each other, whereas now, “our nation is at war.”

Here are some American cases of attempted infiltration since 2001 that have been made public:

  • The Air Force discharged Sadeq Naji Ahmed, a Yemeni immigrant, when his superiors learned of his pro-Al-Qaeda statements. Ahmed subsequently became a baggage screener at Detroit’s Metro Airport, which terminated him for hiding his earlier discharge from the Air Force. He was convicted of making false statements and sentenced to eighteen months in jail.
  • The Chicago Police Department fired Patricia Eng-Hussain just three days into her training on learning that her husband, Mohammad Azam Hussain, was arrested for being an active member of Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H), a Pakistani terrorist group.
  • The Chicago Police Department also fired Arif Sulejmanovski, a supervising janitor at its 25th District station after it learned his name was on a federal terrorist watch list of international terrorism suspects.
  • Mohammad Alavi, an engineer at the Palo Verde nuclear power plant, was arrested as he arrived on a flight from Iran, accused of taking computer access codes and software to Iran that provide details on the plant’s control rooms and plant layout. He subsequently pleaded guilty to transporting stolen property.
  • Nada Nadim Prouty pleaded guilty to multiple charges.

    Nada Nadim Prouty, a Lebanese immigrant who worked for both the FBI and CIA, pleaded guilty to charges of: fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship; accessing a federal computer system to unlawfully query information about her relatives and the terrorist organization Hizballah; and engaging in conspiracy to defraud the United States.

  • Waheeda Tehseen, a Pakistani immigrant who filled a sensitive toxicologist position with the Environmental Protection Agency, pleaded guilty to fraud and was deported. WorldNetDaily.com explains that “investigators suspect espionage is probable, as she produced highly sensitive health-hazard documents for toxic compounds and chemical pesticides. Tehseen also was an expert in parasitology as it relates to public water systems.”
  • Weiss Rasool, 31, a Fairfax County police sergeant and Afghan immigrant, pleaded guilty for checking police databases without authorization, thereby jeopardizing at least one federal terrorism investigation.
  • Nadire P. Zenelaj, 32, a 911 emergency operator of Albanian origins, was charged with 232 felony counts of computer trespass for illegally searching New York State databases, including at least one person on the FBI’s terrorist watch list.

Three other cases are less clear. The Transportation Security Administration fired Bassam Khalaf, 21, a Texan of Christian Palestinian origins, as an airport baggage screener because lyrics on his music CD, Terror Alert, applaud the 9/11 attacks. FBI Special Agent Gamal Abdel-Hafiz “showed a pattern of pro-Islamist behavior,” according to author Paul Sperry, that may have helped acquit Sami Al-Arian of terrorism charges. The Pentagon cleared Hesham Islam, an Egyptian immigrant, former U.S. Navy commander, and special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense, but major questions remain about his biography and his outlook.

Other Western countries too – Australia, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom – have been subject to infiltration efforts. (For details, see my weblog entry, “Islamists Penetrate Western Security.”)

This record prompts one to wonder what catastrophe must occur before government agencies, some of which have banished the words “Islam” and “jihad,” seriously confront their internal threat?

Westerners are indebted to Muslim agents like Fred Ghussin and “Kamil Pasha” who have been critical to fighting terrorism. That said, I stand by my 2003 statement that “There is no escaping the unfortunate fact that Muslim government employees in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps need to be watched for connections to terrorism.”


Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org), director of the Middle East Forum, is the Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University during the spring semester.

Nan on drilling: No longer the hoax I knew

War in the Caucasus

War in the Caucasus

Created 2008-08-09 13:40

The first thing to understand about the war between Russia and Georgia is that Georgia has lost. As Doug Muir explains, seizing South Ossetia required the quick severing, and then holding, of a single key route leading from the Caucasus peaks to the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. A look at the terrain tells the tale: Tskhinvali’s north side is to the mountains, and its south faces toward a broad plain in which the Georgians already controlled the major routes. As an operational problem, the solution was self-evident. Seize the north-south route to Tskhinvali, and the conquest of South Ossetia resolves into an exercise in alpine insurgency – unpleasant but winnable.

The Georgians did not get it done. Having failed to seize the Tskhinvali approach, the next best option is to interdict its traffic. Russian air power, which appeared to have a Georgia-wide romp in the past 24 hours, almost certainly renders this impossible. Here, then, is the circumstance that the Georgians face: their warmaking assets will only decline (the hasty recall of Georgia’s Iraq contingent notwithstanding), while Russian power in-theater will only grow. Georgia’s military has benefited from significant American training and equipment since 2002 – but it simply does not have the manpower to face down a Russian Army accustomed to victory through sheer mass.

The real question for Georgia, then, is not whether is will win or lose – it has already lost – but how bad its loss will be. The worst case scenario is a Russian occupation and annexation. Fortunately for the Georgians, that’s also the least likely. Less unlikely is some sort of Russian occupation coupled with a Russian-driven regime change that puts Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on the street – if he’s lucky. This might not be the tragedy for Georgia it seems, given Saakashvili’s rather astonishing incompetent gamble in leading the country into the present war. Most likely is that the Russians fully occupy South Ossetia, along with the other secessionist region of Georgia, Abkhazia; declare them both independent or somehow annexed; and thoroughly punish the Georgians with a countrywide air campaign targeting what meager infrastructure there is. Georgia at war’s end – which may well be mere days away – will be definitively dismembered, and smoldering in body and heart.

So much for the probable outcome. What remains is what, if anything, America should do. The policy reflex, certainly, is to blame the Russians for this catastrophe, and act accordingly. Indeed, the Russians bear much blame – not least for their Kuwaiti-tanker stratagem with South Ossetia’s residents, who were issued Russian passports freely so Moscow might have a pretext to intervene. Yet if the Russians acted with malice, the Georgians under Saakashvili acted with stupidity. The separation of South Ossetia rankles the good Georgian nationalist’s heart – but that’s about it. South Ossetia’s economy barely deserves the name: to paraphrase Muir, it’s populated by peasants who drive sheep uphill in summer, and downhill in winter. It did not enrich Georgia, nor do its people want to be Georgian – and if Georgia wishes to claim it nonetheless, there is still no urgency to the task. A smart Georgian government would have brought Georgia to some meaningful prosperity over the years, and left the impoverished Ossetians demanding for reunion with a thriving nation. Biased though he may be, the Chairman of the Russia’s State Duma Security Committee, Vladimir Vasilyev, said it well:

Georgia could have used the years of Saakashvili’s presidency in different ways – to build up the economy, to develop the infrastructure, to solve social issues both in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the whole state. Instead, the Georgian leadership with president Saakashvili undertook consistent steps to increase its military budget from $US 30 million to $US 1 billion – Georgia was preparing for a military action.

That Mikheil Saakashvili thought it better to have hundreds of young men die instead – by launching an attack upon a town garrisoned by Russians! – is a damning indictment of his judgment. No nation ought to base a policy, and still less an alliance, upon this unreliable actor.
 
If there is a rationale for American action, it lies in American self interest in showing that America’s friends may count upon it. Georgia fought alongside the US in Iraq, and there is some debt owed for that. In that vein, America might commit itselve to resupply – though not direct to forces in the field – and it might guarantee Georgian sovereignty, though not Georgian territorial integrity. Short of a threatened extermination of Georgia (which does not seem at issue), there is nothing at stake here to justify a US-Russia war. Those accustomed to invoking appeasement and Munich at moments of foreign crisis may recoil at this – but that historical parallel is barely applicable here. Russian Putinism, for all it rightly repels our moral sensibilities, is not an existential foe of the West like Nazism, Communism, or Islamism. Its advance is not intrinsically America’s loss.
 
Whether America’s policymaking apparatus will have the wisdom to discern this is another matter. The Secretary of State’s statement gives us some clue as to the outline of American policy, but what matters is the accompanying action. There is a rumor that the President will speak on this from Beijing shortly. Meanwhile, the war in the Caucasus goes on. 


Hamas militia operating 300 summer camps for 50,000 children

Russian Imperialism – It’s Back

Russian Imperialism – It’s Back

By Michael Radu
FrontPageMagazine.com | 8/12/2008

 

While it is still not clear whether it was Georgia that escalated the conflict first, or Russia through its local puppets and mercenaries who provoked Tbilisi, the basic fact remains that the fighting is taking place exclusively within the internationally recognized borders of Georgia. Despite the Western media’s persistent description of the Russian military in South Ossetia as “peacekeepers,” they are and have always been nothing but an occupation and invading force.

In fact, Russia has used the same method for years elsewhere. In Transnistria, a secessionist area of Moldova, Russian “peacekeepers” have kept the local gang of unreconstructed Stalinist smugglers since the early 1990s, and in Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian territory, it is the same “peacekeepers” and mercenaries who have ethnically cleansed the Georgian majority and de facto annexed the area.

The pattern has been the same in Abkhazia and South Ossetia – Russia has unilaterally granted citizenship to the secessionists and then, when Georgia has tried to recover its territorial integrity, claimed that it has the right, and duty, to defend its “citizens” – a claim repeated on August 8th by President Dmitry Medvedev, and reminiscent of the old Soviet “struggle for peace” in places like Afghanistan.

What is Russia’s interest in controlling these regions? The economic value of these small areas is close to zero – they are too poor to survive without Moscow’s subsidies and, more to the point, without all being criminal black holes – Mafia ruled havens for smuggling and trafficking of arms and drugs to the mutual benefit of the local thugs and their Russian military overseers.

Transnistria specializes in the traffic of weapons, South Ossetia on drugs, cigarettes and weapons; Abkhazia alone has anything resembling a local economy, mostly based on Russian tourism. Ultimately, with Moscow paying the salaries, pensions and various subsidies to the local puppet “governments” in Tiraspol, Sukhumi and Tskhinvali (the capitals of Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia respectively) they are an economic drain – but a valuable political and strategic tool.

Domestically, the war in Georgia serves multiple purposes to the Putin-Medvedev regime. It gives satisfaction, and something to do, to a newly vocal military, throws an ideological bone to the ultra-nationalists in the Duma (who have already voted to recognize the “independence” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), and divert the attention of restive Muslim, and increasingly Islamist minorities in Northern Caucasus. The fact that Russia’s North Ossetia, the only mostly Christian and loyal to Moscow region in that area has a direct ethnic stake in the developments to its south, may also explain, in part, the decision to invade South Ossetia.

On a wider scale, through its control of Transnistria (and oil supplies), Moscow has transformed Moldova into an obedient annex; its activities in Georgia has not only mutilated that country’s territory, but ensured that NATO membership, desired by most Georgians, will not become a reality.

Indeed, the Europeans, especially Germany, are naturally reluctant to admit a new member involved in a long term conflict with Russia. That means that Georgia will remain vulnerable to Russian threats for the foreseeable future – and that its fate would be anxiously watched, and remembered by Ukraine, another former Soviet colony seeking strategic independence from a resurgent Russian imperialism.

It should be remembered also that a cowed Georgia will also mean the strengthening of Moscow’s control over the energy supplies of Europe. The only major pipelines for Caspian Sea oil and gas not controlled by Russia, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku – Shupsha, will come under the indirect control of Putin & Co.

Not surprisingly, the West’s response to the developments in Georgia has been unimpressive. Washington and various European capitals have expressed alarm and demanded a cease fire, as well as the withdrawal of Russian troops from that country – something they have demanded for years, without noticeable results. The United Nations, as usual and as could be expected, has taken notice and the Secretary General made the usual demands for a peaceful resolution, etc. – while everybody remains fully aware that the Security Council, the only body with any influence on the matter, will go nowhere, given the Russian veto.

What the world should keep in mind is that the present conflict is not over the 3,900 square kilometers of mostly barren South Ossetian mountains but over the fate of Georgia as an independent state and, even more importantly, over the West’s ability, or willingness, to take a stand against the blatant revival of historic Russian imperialism.

If Georgia loses the current fight, and part of its territory, both of which are likely,  in the longer term the main loser will be the United States and its credibility as a friend. At the very least, Washington, NATO and the European Union should make it clear that, by its behavior in Georgia, Russia has proven that it is a security threat and should be treated as such. That may mean a rapid re-arming of Georgia, even security guarantees against further Russian aggression, Moscow’s removal from the (mostly symbolically relevant) G-8 Group and, most importantly, the shedding of all illusions that Russia is, or could be a “partner” on anything but trade.


Michael Radu is Senior Fellow and Co – Chair, Center on Terrorism and Counterterrorism, at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

Lies, damned lies and Islam

 

 

 

                                                                            

                                                                             

                                                                    

 

In July of 2001, Dennis Moreno-Lacalle, a Filipino Christian residing in Saudi Arabia was arrested by the Muttaween. He was one of fourteen Christians caught praying or using his private residence for a prayer meeting. He was charged with engaging in ‘illegal Christian activities.’ He was told that if he converted to Islam he would be freed immediately. It was just a suggestion—there is no force in religion. But wouldn’t it be nicer to be a Muslim going about his normal routine than a Christian stuck in some God-forsaken jail cell for only Allah knew how long? Of course it would be nicer. But Moreno-Lacalle didn’t think so—he refused to convert. He spent six months in the slammer before he was finally released. During this period his family did not know where he was or what had happened to him. They were kept in the dark; the terror was complete.

 

In May of 2002, Jeddah police arrested ten Christians who had gathered for a weekly prayer meeting. It was a routine arrest. More Christians are jailed in Saudi Arabia for praying than for jaywalking, safecracking and armed robbery combined. And why not—in Saudi Arabia praying is a more serious crime.

 

In 2003, the Muttaween arrested four Pakistani Christians. No reason was given. Two were eventually released and expelled. The fate of the others remains unknown to this day.

 

In 2004, a religious policeman accosted Brian Savio O’Connor, a cargo agent for Saudi Airlines, near his home in Riyadh for ‘not attending prayer.’ A Catholic from Indian, O’Connor showed the officer his papers. He was a Christian—he did not need to attend prayer. Maybe Brian was too uppity. It was said he ‘resisted arrest.’ He was taken to a police station, hung upside down and beaten. He was told that if he did not convert to the Religion of Peace he would be killed.

 

Was it an isolated incident? Not at all! Saudi jails are full of Christians who have taken advantage of the Religion of Peace and Tolerance to engage in ‘illegal activities.’ These scofflaws are worse than the Jews that defiled the streets of Nazi Germany in the 1930s—so it is said.

 

On April 25, 2008, the Saudi Allah Squad made another routine neighborhood sweep. Joe Friday could have learned from these fellows.  They had everything down to a T. If Eliot Ness had followed the Muttaween manual Al Capone would have lasted one day and Prohibition less than a week.

 

This is how it goes down: Step one: an operative breaks down the gate. (Ness used a truck as a battering ram. This is now thought to be amateurish.) Step two: the first operative inside the prayer room sticks a gun in the face of the nearest infidel and demands his residency permit and cell phone. This is done quickly and efficiently. Once the infidels have been subdued, the house is thoroughly searched. The Allah Squad haul on April 25 included 20 Bibles, some religious tracts and the money in the Collection Box (500 Saudi Riyals—about $130). The infidels are then exposed to the jeers and taunts of their neighbors before being dragged down to the police station.

 

Eliot Ness should have been so lucky. Capone’s lawyer was always at the police station waiting for Ness with a writ of habeas corpus. “It’s legal beer, Ness, it’s legal beer! If you don’t stop persecuting my clients I’ll report you to the Mayor.”

 

The Christians arrestees on April 25 were charged with singing and preaching. That’s right—singing and preaching! Well, they should have known better than to sing, “I got you, Babe,” in a Muslim neighborhood. Oh—it wasn’t “I got you, Babe,” it was “Rock of Ages” or something similar but just as offensive, and they were not singing, they were humming, and there was no preaching, they were whispering—or maybe mumbling. One of them might have been saying, “Let’s flush a Qur’an.” No one will ever know what was going on in their minds—what they were thinking. Thinking…there does not seem to be much thinking in the Muttaween—certainly no more than in Herr Hitler’s Gestapo. Whatever.

 

And just three weeks ago, George W. Bush’s great friend, King Abdullah, who had visited the Texas Gunslinger at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and had been kissed on both cheeks, had addressed an Interfaith Conference in Madrid, Spain, and had called for reconciliation between Muslims, Christians and Jews! Lions and Tigers and Bears—it sounds familiar.

 

“The image of al-Andalus made us hold this conference in Spain,” said Abdullah al-Turki, Secretary General of the Muslim World League.

 

Ah, yes, the fabled al-Andalus, Islam’s Shangri-La, a land that would have delighted Mary Poppins and Morey Amsterdam, a land of peace and tolerance, of unrestricted joy, a paradise without the 72 virgins, where the devotees of the three great Abrahamic religions, lived side by side in an amity so precious and amazing as to be incomprehensible to the modern mind. So they say…

 

But there are doubters—those who say al-Andalus never was. There is Andrew Bostom. Listen to Bostom:

 

In 711 or 712 Islam ‘subdued’ Toledo. In 713 the conquered nobles of Toledo revolted. The Religion of Peace responded with a heavy hand. Toledo was pillaged, the ranks of the nobles were decimated, their throats were cut and their property seized. In 730 the Bishop of Cerdagne was buried alive. Christians and Jews were separated from the rest of the population. They were not allowed to build new churches and synagogues. If one should happen to be destroyed—burned to the ground by a ‘careless’ caretaker—it could not be replaced. Christian peasants were given a choice between serfdom and conversion to Islam. Those who desired neither and fled to the cities were hunted down and mutilated or crucified. There were mass murders in Toledo, in Cordoba, in Saragossa, in Merida.

 

Ah, yes, let us return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when the cry of “Allahu akbar” sent shivers up and down the spines of al-Andalus’ terrified non-Muslim inhabitants.

 

One does not want to accuse King Abdullah or al-Turki of lying. That would be too easy. It is entirely possible that they are totally unaware of lying. Islam has been falsifying its History for 1,400 years, perhaps to escape its sordid past, to cover its crimes, to make it feel good about itself.

 

One should pay attention to the words of Vaclav Havel. “He who fears facing his own past must necessarily fear what lies before him,” said Havel. “Lying can never save us from the lie. Falsifiers of History do not safeguard freedom, but imperil it.” Havel has read “1984,” King Abdullah hasn’t, and if he has, he has learned nothing from it. There is a difference between Spanky and Alfalfa telling their teacher Spuds MacKenzie ate their homework and what King Abdullah said at Madrid. There are lies, damned lies and Islam.

 

The charges lodged against the Christians arrested in the April 25 sweep were reduced to holding a dance party and collecting money for terrorism. By then the guilty parties had already signed confessions. So what if they were written in Arabic—a language none of them could read or write—they had signed of their own free will, hadn’t they? They were released within three days. On August 5 they were expelled. The promises Abdullah had made at Madrid were ignored or forgotten.

 

But don’t despair. Being expelled from a Muslim country cannot be the worst thing that can happen to a Christian in Islam’s Twilight Zone, there is death and worse yet, the ultimate ignominy—forced conversion.

 

 

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