Obama decries Internet shut-down in Egypt while his own administration prepares to enact same draconian powers to crush dissent during times of political upheaval in America
Paul Joseph Watson
Monday, January 31, 2011
The Obama administration is busy attempting to pass legislation that would give the President a kill switch for the Internet in the United States while at the same time decrying Egyptian authorities for shutting down the Internet in a bid to deflate the unfolding revolution against Hosni Mubarak. The reason is simple – the government fears an Egypt-style revolt occurring in the U.S. and wants to block access to the world wide web if and when it happens.
Chicago radio host and occasional Alex Jones Show guest Mancow Muller called it right during an appearance on Mike Huckabee’s show this weekend.
“It’s in all the newspapers, ‘Ohblahblah’, we’ve got to free up Twitter, we’ve got to free up the Internet and Facebook for these poor Egyptians – this is the President that let Wikileaks and all of this stuff happen,” said Mancow.
“They create the problems and we react to fear — the the four letter f-word that controls the masses and they offer the solution, “they” being the government. This is the President that wants the kill switch for the Internet….he wants a kill switch.”
“They fear….social networking, Twitter, Facebook, all of this stuff, but oh, no, we must have it in Egypt, but we don’t want to have it in America.”
Mancow also pointed out how Egyptians were rioting over an economic fallout that has led to crippling tax hikes, wage reductions and spiraling food prices, a similar situation to what is unfolding in America, making reference to how Illinois state authorities recently agreed to hike taxes by a whopping 66 percent.
As we have illustrated, despite invoking supposedly genuine security concerns, the only time governments have resorted to shutting down the world wide web is when they feel the need to crush legitimate dissent against the state.
Indeed, at the height of the Stuxnet worm attack, the crisis was cited as another reason why cybersecurity legislation giving government control of the Internet was necessary. It later emerged that the Stuxnet virus itself was created by the US and Israel to target Iran’s nuclear program.
The Communist Chinese government is now blocking searches for the word “Egypt” on social networking websites in China, reflecting “the government’s fears that the protests in Egypt could whip up unrest in China.”
Sina.com public relations officer Ma Taotao confirms that Chinese searches for Egypt are blocked on its instant messaging site, Sina Weibo.
Ma says the company itself did not make the decision, but is only following the “relevant Chinese laws and regulations.” He gives no details and does not say which government department is responsible. He says he does not know how long the restriction will be in force.
The authoritarian Chinese government routinely blocks Internet access when it wishes to derail organized protests and marches, a telling lesson for Americans given the fact that cybersecurity guru Senator Joseph Lieberman openly admitted that the goal of the new kill switch in the U.S. was to mimic the Chinese system of Internet censorship.
“Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too,” Lieberman told CNN’s Candy Crowley last year.
However, China’s “war” is not against foreign terrorists or hackers, it’s against people who dare to use the Internet to express dissent against government atrocities or corruption. China’s system of Internet policing is about crushing freedom of speech during times of political upheaval and has nothing to do with legitimate security concerns.
It’s a system concentrated around state oppression of any individual or group that seeks to use the Internet to draw attention to political causes frowned upon by the authorities.
China has exercised its power to shut down the Internet, something that Lieberman wants to introduce in the U.S., at politically sensitive times in order to stem the flow of information about government abuse of its citizens. During the anti-government riots which occurred in July 2009, the Chinese government completely shut down the Internet across the entire northwestern region of Xinjiang for days. In several regions, the authorities completely cut off the Internet for nearly a year. Major news and discussion portals used by the Muslim Uighurs in the area remain blocked. Similarly, Internet access in parts of Tibet is routinely restricted as part of government efforts to pre-empt and neutralize unrest.
Twitter, Facebook and Youtube are all banned in China and even sanitized government approved versions of these websites are now being shut down for long periods of time so that they can “remove all politically sensitive content under orders from Chinese internet authorities”.
Web censorship in China intensified after a micro-blogger began to expose the fact that many government officials, executives and judges had lied about obtaining degrees from prestigious universities. The government responded to the embarrassment by ordering websites to temporarily go into “maintenance” mode while they removed the pertinent material. What this has to do with fighting a “war,” as Lieberman claims, is anyone’s guess.
The Chinese system that Lieberman wants to bring to the United States is not only about censoring material critical of the state, it’s about identifying those who post it and thereby creating a chilling atmosphere that discourages others from exercising free speech in fear that they might be the next victims of the thought police. News websites in China now require users to register their true identities in order to leave comments.
This move towards abolishing Internet anonymity and creating a virtual ID card is a key centerpiece of Lieberman’s cybersecurity agenda.
This strategy revolves around, “The creation of a system for identity management that would allow citizens to use additional authentication techniques, such as physical tokens or modules on mobile phones, to verify who they are before buying things online or accessing such sensitive information as health or banking records.”
Only with this government-issued “token” will Internet users be allowed to “able to move from website to website,” a system not too far removed from what China proposed and rejected for being too authoritarian.
The examples of Egypt and China in shutting down Internet access to quell dissent against the state tell us everything we need to know about the motivations behind this odious policy and why it has no place in America, a supposedly free country.
While Obama criticizes Egyptian authorities for shutting down web access to disrupt protesters, his own administration prepares to launch a fresh attempt at instituting the exact same powers in America, which as recent history clearly demonstrates, represent tools for tyrannical regimes who wish to silence legitimate political opposition.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show. Watson has been interviewed by many publications and radio shows, including Vanity Fair and Coast to Coast AM, America’s most listened to late night talk show.