And here we go again. Every time we believe we are done with ISIS, some bit of new rears its ugly head and we are forced to “do something” about it. Strangely enough, this time is not ISIS who prompted our action but the European so-called Union. It so happens that ISIS is quite tech-savvy and it uses modern propaganda means and tools (typically “social media”) to get recruits and supporters. This process has been quite visible in EU and therefore there is increased pressure on politicians to “do something” about it.
Now, let’s place this “critical problem” into perspective. According to Europol director Rob Wainwright, estimated that up to 5000 people travelled from EU to ISIS-controlled territories. Fair enough, let’s take this number at face value. EU has 500 million inhabitants. This means that 5000 people into 500 million is about 0.0001%. WOW!!! Yes!!! This is a crisis of incredible proportions!! Yes sir!!! Call the cavalry to the rescue!!!
But then again, let’s take a second look at the number:
- “up to”
- In what period of time?
- Estimated by whom?
Basically, they don’t have a clue. They are just pulling numbers out of thin air. But why would Europol do so? Because they are under pressure from politicians. And why would politicians do so? Because they are under pressure from voters. And why would voters do so? Because they are bombarded with horror stories of kids marching on to ISIS to become suicide bombers. Or, more precisely, they are bombarded by one or two horror stories. That’s it!
It all boils down to a few horror stories.
And what is on the other side of the equation? Who is going to get screwed? According to the new Europol mandate, they will monitor social media to identify people who might be vulnerable and those “preying” on them. Huh?
What the f….!?
And how exactly will the Europol “monitor” who access social media and determine who may or may not be vulnerable? What this implies is total, complete and unrestricted access to all EU citizens communications while linking those communications with Personal Identifiable Information. It goes more or less like this:
- Person access social media website or message (e.g. Tweeter)
- This info is forwarded to Europol
- IP is linked to a giant database of personal information
- Most likely viewer is identified
If this does not scare the pants out of you, we don’t know what may. Basically, this is total and complete surveillance, no limits. Period.
And so the question is, will the Europol do this? Probably not. They simply don’t have the capability… without significant support from the “Intelligence Community”… which has been thoroughly polluted upgraded by the National Security Agency from the US. So, although this looks like nothing more that political propaganda, it may hold some truth to it.
But it gets better. Or worse, depending how you look at it. Once people and/or social media are identified as either belonging to ISIS or being vulnerable, what happens next? They will “identify the ringleaders online”. And then what? Who knows, the Europol wasn’t very specific. The specificity came at a different level. They are aiming at shutting down any and all ISIS-related social media outlets within 2 hours of being created. Good right?
Not a freaking chance!
Let’s begin by saying that we are no friends of ISIS. Having said that, we must point out that technically speaking and considering that ISIS holds territories and it is actually a country (as per UN requisites), labeling them a “terrorist organization” is disingenuous if not ridiculous. People may not like what ISIS stands for, but they do comply with the general understanding of what a country is.
In EU we have the infamous “Framework Decision to combat racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law” which attempts to separate an “expression which may offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population” and “criticism of religion” as protected speech, and on the other hand, “intentional public incitement to racist or xenophobic hatred or violence” as speech which should be criminally sanctioned. Which is totally ridiculous because the barrier separating one from the other is highly subjective at best. And what happens when a religion asks for warfare against non-believers? Is it “protected speech” or should it be penalized? Do you see where we are going?
There is no way to differentiate what ISIS’s propaganda is doing from what other political, religious or racist propaganda is also doing. All differences are theoretical and subjective at best.
But let’s get a step further. So what if ISIS is having a propaganda campaign? So what if people are recruited? So what if people support ISIS? In the end, isn’t this a personal decision?
But let’s get even further. Let’s say that ISIS is widely successful in its attempts. So what? They will consolidate their territory and turn into a run-of-the-mill country… which will soon fall under the most powerful forces in the universe:
- Economic stupidity
- Political evolution
A country controlled by ISIS will be incredibly economically inefficient and will, in the end, collapse onto itself. How do we know this? Because any other Islamic state has done so in the past (study for example the Islamic rule in Spain between 709 and 1641 for infighting) or, for a more modern reference, see Iran (for economic inefficiency).
And so all this Europol doing and censoring boils down to a money grab (for “law and order”) and more censorship for EU citizens. Will this have any effect whatsoever on ISIS? Not a chance. The Internet is too resilient and redundant for that.
Welcome to the new age of “Informational Law and Order”… or thought control as Orwell put it. Sponsored by the usual suspects: the governments. Hope you learn to enjoy it because there is far more to come!
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.