Internet Freedom Under Siege

October 14, 2010 05:58

The next phase of Islamist lawfare may well center directly upon the internet itself.

By at American Spectator


Lawfare, the abuse of the law and legal system to achieve strategic political and military goals, has taken many forms in the decade since Major General Charles Dunlap first defined the term as “the use of law as a weapon of war.”

On September 27, journalist Kevin Murphy of reported that ICANN’s board of directors removed a reference to “terrorism” from the most recent version of its Draft Applicant Guidebook (DAG). While the term “terrorism” was included without any conceivably objectionable modifiers such as “Islamist,” the Chairman of the Pan Arab Multilingual Internet Group Khaled Fattal declared that the term “terrorism” itself was objectionable because “it will be seen by millions of Muslims and Arabs as racist, prejudicial and profiling.” Fattal requested not only its removal, but an apology from ICANN.

By removing any reference to “terrorism” from the DAG, ICANN cannot perform a background check to verify that domain name registrars are not affiliated with terrorist organizations or otherwise used to facilitate acts of international and national terrorism.

“If ICANN were to add these states to the five geographic regions it already recognizes in its bylaws, it would grant the Arab nations a seat on its board of directors, among other rights.” Unlike every geographic area currently recognized by ICANN, the “Arab region” would be an ethnically homogenous entity, which would represent a fundamental change in its structure and provide uniquely preferential treatment for the Arab League.

Even more troubling is the fact that the OIC is spearheading a lawfare campaign at the United Nations to exclude the targeting of both American and Israeli civilians; that is civilians of what they deem an “occupying force,” from any international definition of the crime of terrorism. There is no valid reason why state sponsors of terrorism should be permitted to define the term in their best interests, nor is there a valid justification for allowing the Arab League to dictate what can and can not be registered as an Internet domain name.


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