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Legislators Call On Twitter To Ban Hamas 486

Posted by Soulskill
from the sticks-and-stones dept.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from The Hill: "The past week's violence in Gaza has rekindled calls for Twitter to shutter the accounts of U.S.-labeled terror groups such as Hamas. Seven House Republicans asked the FBI in September to demand that Twitter take down the accounts of U.S.-designated terrorist groups, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Somalia's al Shabaab. The letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller was spearheaded by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who said Wednesday that the recent events vindicated the request. 'Allowing foreign terrorist organizations like Hamas to operate on Twitter is enabling the enemy,' [Poe said] 'Failure to block access arms them with the ability to freely spread their violent propaganda and mobilize in their War on Israel.'"
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Legislators Call On Twitter To Ban Hamas

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  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:36AM (#42086455)

    What bullshit...
    I'm an Israeli citizen and I oppose Hamas in every possible way (they frickin' shot rockets at me and my family just a week ago!)

    But terminating their officials' Twitter accounts will do nothing to help the cause.
    The only effect will be that they'll start communicating in other channels - which will make it more difficult to spy on their future intentions.

    If you really want to do something against Hamas in Twitter - don't follow them!

    (BTW, the captcha "i" looks like an 8)

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:41AM (#42086481) Homepage

      The only effect will be that they'll start communicating in other channels - which will make it more difficult to spy on their future intentions.

      Twitter is not a useful source of learning about Hamas's "future intentions". There's nothing secret or unexpected there. It's one of several channels for distributing propaganda, that are also distributed in other ways. It's ridiculous to think that Western governments are dependent on #hamas to keep abreast with developments.

      Furthermore, I suspect that the Twitter account is managed by Hamas's international representatives, who don't always have a good relationship with Hamas leadership inside Gaza, so it's all the less useful for predicting conflict with Israel.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by the grace of R'hllor (530051) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:03AM (#42086585)
      They fire rockets at you and your family and blow up buses, and you fire tanks and bombs into fully built-up and barricaded (by you) residential areas (effectively an open-air prison or, if you will, a ghetto) without letting people flee. In my outsiders' view, that makes you both pretty much equally shitty.

      I'm wondering what an Israeli perspective on this is. Do you see a separation between Palestinians and Hamas? Are Israeli actually still striving for actual peace (rather than defeat of Palestinians) or is it a matter of time until the ethnic cleansing starts, or... what?

      Because as I said, from here, both parties look equally and homogeneously shitty, with the Palestinians being the underdogs. Usually in such a situation, I'm very wrong, and I'd like to know if I am, and how so.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by CRCulver (715279)

        and you fire tanks and bombs into fully built-up and barricaded (by you) residential areas (effectively an open-air prison or, if you will, a ghetto) without letting people flee

        Gaza does not share a border solely with Israel. If the Palestinians are not able to flee, it is because Egypt has chosen to keep its border closed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Because the people living in Israel are somehow Egypt's problem? No, if the people in Gaza aren't able to flee, it's because they're living in a prison. And, technically, by their own government. The parallel to ghetto's, specifically the Warsaw Ghetto, is not exactly fiction. The suffering in the Warsaw Ghetto was much, much greater, but the people inside it are in a very similar situation.
          • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

            by Artifakt (700173) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:19AM (#42087305)

            The Palestinian people are a problem for Egypt, Syria and others. That's because they are viewed as a problem by those regimes. Many of the Arab nations have either very low immigration quotas for Palestinians or allow no immigration at all by them. They commonly speak of the Palestinians as shiftless bums and born criminals, both as an attitude the majority of people seem to hold and sometimes in official government statements. These nations track violent activites by Hamas and others and keep lists of Palestinians who are dangerous and will never be allowed to stay in those Arab nations or even travel through those countries except with close supervision as part of support for their actions against Israel. How severe this is varies - with Egypt usually being better than, say, Syria about it, but it's a real part of the problem, with Arab governments wanting to endorse 'freedom fighters' whom they don't trust all that much otherwise.
                    This relationship between the Arab states and Hamas, etc. is often in some ways like the US propping up banana republics and turning a blind eye towards torture and lack of free elections in them, or the former Soviet Union supporting proto-communist movements in Africa or South America while all the time saying 'those people' will never really understand true communism. There's always elements of paternalism and racism driving such relationships, and so they end up contributing to the very problems they hope to solve. All this is not to deny Israel's responsibilities for such things as barbed wire fences and armed checkpoints, and other actions such as allowing illegal settlements or not prosecuting soldiers who aim those rubber 'mercy' bullets at the face at short range.

            • Also don't forget that the Palestinians attempted to take over Jordan (although, if you go back through history, Jordan *is* the eastern part of Palestine, and Palestinians and Jordanians are the same people [apart from the large proportion of Egyptians and Sudanese in what the media calls 'Palestinians']). I digress ... Anyway, here's a link for those interested in a snippet of history almost never mentioned in Western media:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_September_in_Jordan [wikipedia.org]
        • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

          by CdBee (742846) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:00AM (#42087197)
          Is that not because Israel in a treaty with Egypt required that that border be closed and all who cross it must do so with Israeli permission?
          • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

            by will_die (586523) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @03:05PM (#42088699) Homepage
            That is totally false and unfortunately being spread by various kook sites such as huffington post.
            The truth is that border is controlled by Egypt and Hamas and they have set the rules on people traveling between Egypt and Gaza.
            If you go and read some items from spring of last year there are plenty of article on how Egypt did open the border and has been making it easy to travel in and out of Egypt at that place. Egypt has placed large restriction on people coming into Egypt, distance they can travel, items they can take with them, how long they can stay in Egypt but those are all set by Egypt not evil Jewish monster that those kook sites would have you believe.
            • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

              by CdBee (742846) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @03:10PM (#42088729)
              Israel imposed a total closure on all crossings to the Gaza Strip in Jan 2008 following an agreement made 7 months earlier in June 2007. As I was saying...
              • by will_die (586523)
                No what you said is that Israel dictates to Egypt, based on a treaty, who and what can pass the Egypt/Gaza border. That is not true Egypt sets what can pass through its own country and there is no treaty, with Israel, about what can go through.
                What Israel did was close all border crossing on its side, because of terrorist using it to be able to attack citizen in Israel. Egypt soon followed but there was no treaty requiring it, they did so because they saw what Hamas was bring through and out of diplomat
      • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

        by Dan667 (564390) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:22AM (#42086673)
        most of this conflict is israel attempting to steal Palestinian land.
        • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

          by pla (258480) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:41AM (#42086739) Journal
          most of this conflict is israel attempting to steal Palestinian land.

          Most of modern history in the Middle East results from the UN sticking its fingers where they don't belong, randomly stealing a big chunk of land considered sacred to the natives, and giving it to Israel. "Aww, those mean Germans tried to eradicate you? Here, let's throw a dart at this map and give you... Hmm, yeah, I think I have a call on the other line, good luck with that new home".

          Gee, wonder why they all hate us. Oh, right, for our "freedoms" - Like the freedom to not have someone randomly kick us out of our homes and give them to our ancient enemies.
          • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms AT infamous DOT net> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:53AM (#42087135) Homepage

            Most of modern history in the Middle East results from the UN sticking its fingers where they don't belong, randomly stealing a big chunk of land considered sacred to the natives, and giving it to Israel.

            Blame the British and the Balfour Declaration [un.org]. By the time the UN came into existence the theft was well underway; the UN at most ratified it.

            Most of the trouble spots in the world today can be traced to the British Empire. It's time for the British and other colonial nations to face up to the disaster they caused the rest of the world and start paying reparations.

            • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

              by N1AK (864906) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:41PM (#42088265) Homepage

              Blame the British and the Balfour Declaration

              Oh we fucked it up big time by allowing this to start. That said, we know it was a stupid mistake but there's fuck all we can do about it while America keeps propping up the Israeli position for political reasons rather than do what is needed to bring about something a little bit closer to peace.

            • Reparations have never worked. In this case, what do you propose should be paid, to whom, and with what end?

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:46AM (#42086773) Journal

        The ignorance of what happened less than a decade ago is astounding. We keep hearing about a two state solution, Gaza was the two state solution. Squabbling at the UN aside, even Israel officially recognized the Gaza boarder as an international one at least at one point, I think they still do.

        About 8 years ago the Israeli's pulled out and left the region to the Palestinian authority to manage. Those idiots attacked with rockets almost as soon as the last Israeli left. At the time it was not an "open-air prison" that happened later after the Palestinians proved that if allowed access to any resources they'd weaponize them and attack Israel.

        What exactly would you do if after in the interest of peace you gave someone some land and then they used it as a platform to try and attack you from? I know what I would do; and it looks allot like what Israel has done to Gaza in recent years.

        • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:42AM (#42087081)

          The ignorance of what happened less than a decade ago is astounding.

          Actually, it's a really great lesson on groupthink. If you listen to even the most *educated* people from both sides of the conflict--the ones who know every detail since the '47 war and before--it is AMAZING how different their story is based on which side they're on. And it's (usually) not that they're wrong, it's just that their vision is so incredibly polarized.

          I once listened to a lecture by the director of the Israeli counter-terror institute and then a lecture by a Palestinian Professor from either NYU or Columbia. They talked about the same peace treaties and the same events, but the stories they told and the perspectives they had on those events were *radically* different. Obi Wan Kenobi was right--a great many of the truths we cling to depend a great deal on our own point of view.

          Both sides do things that are really uncool, and both sides have things done to them that are really terrible. It makes it easy for both sides to perpetuate their narratives of hate. As long as that happens--as long as there is no real incentive and genuine effort on *both* sides to see the conflict from the other's point of view and to *stop* it--the conflict will continue.

          It has continued for fifty years so far.

        • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:55AM (#42087149) Journal

          What exactly would you do if after in the interest of peace you gave someone some land

          "Gave"? Israel partially withdrew from occupied territory, that's not exactly a gift.

          • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

            by GryMor (88799) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @12:17PM (#42087687)

            It's was a concession in exchange for a cessation of attacks. We all negotiate from the circumstances we find ourselves in. There is no base truth with regards to ownership, only the current de facto arrangement. How many ply you choose to look back into history to formulate your lie of justice can greatly shift your perspective.

            Consider for a moment the infinite series formed by SUM(-1^n,-inf,inf) ...(1-1)+(1-1)+1+(-1+1)+(-1+1)... = 1 ...(1-1)+(1-1)... = 0 ...(-1+1)+(-1+1)+ -1 + (1-1)+(1-1)... = -1
            Which event you pick out as precipitating will change your perspective as all others seem to cancel out, but even that choice is a lie,any event could have been chosen, it all chains back in blood, suffering and joy throughout history.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Israel has no more claim to Gaza and the West Bank than Germany had to Poland. Some concession.

        • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Rich0 (548339) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:02AM (#42087203) Homepage

          It is telling that even the Egyptians have been blockading the border with Gaza. Most of the arms are smuggled in my ship or by tunnels under the Egyptian border. It isn't just Israel which thinks that things have been getting out of hand.

          I remember back when people were complaining endlessly about the wall Israel was building and how it wouldn't work anyway. Well, until they started launching rockets it was actually working fairly well, and the rockets are killing far fewer people than suicide bombers sneaking into crowds were.

          The problem isn't unique to Palestine. I think a big part of the problem is that when people look to establish governments they tend to pick the same people who were the cell leaders of the resistance movements and all that. The issue is that people who are good at killing the enemy aren't always the best people to lead a lasting peace. It worked OK when people were throwing off European Imperialism because everybody involved was separated from mainland Europe by an ocean or two. It doesn't work as well when the people you hate are within easy reach. By the time countries like the USA had the power to really hurt countries like Great Britain, generations had passed and the wounds had healed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sudon't (580652)

          What exactly would you do if after in the interest of peace you gave someone some land and then they used it as a platform to try and attack you from? I know what I would do; and it looks allot like what Israel has done to Gaza in recent years.

          What exactly would you do if someone invaded your land, stole most of it, and forced you onto a small reservation in the "interests of peace?" You might take that lying down, but I suspect some of your fellow citizens would want to fight back.

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:58AM (#42086845)

        I'm wondering what an Israeli perspective on this is.

        I'm sure Israelis have as wide a variety of views on their nation's troubles as any other nation's population does.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:25AM (#42086987)
        I have quite a few Israeli friends; most are concerned with civil and social issues, not with military issues, and I am told that is basically what politics in Israel are like. There were major protests in Israel last year; they were over the price of food, the rent, etc. Israel is not terribly different from other countries: the people are mostly concerned with things that immediately affect them like the cost of living.

        Of course, most able-bodied Israelis serve in the army. Here, for example, is an Israeli soldier's view of what it was like in West Bank:

        http://www.bostonreview.net/BR37.4/oded_naaman_israeli_defense_forces_palestinians_occupation.php [bostonreview.net]

        For what it's worth, I met many Israelis at an academic conference this past summer. I also met Egyptians, and my Iranian coworker was there with me. We all had dinner together, and there was no tension, no arguing about politics, none of that -- most of these people thought the situation was absurd and that the violence was unnecessary (the Iranian recently finished her immigration paperwork and will soon be a US citizen; the Egyptians were glad to have not been in Egypt during the revolution).
      • by EnsilZah (575600) <.moc.liamG. .ta. .haZlisnE.> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @07:01PM (#42089841)

        Here's my perspective as an Israeli (and not a particularly nationalistic or right wing one):

        Hamas and their affiliates specifically target civilians.
        They shoot rockets at random into civilian population, they bomb buses.
        Last year there was a case where an anti-tank missile was shot at a school bus specifically marked as such.
        In another case last year two Palestinian men infiltrated a settlement and killed an entire family, they literally slit the throats of and eleven year old, four year old and three months old children.
        And when an event like this happens there is dancing and giving out of candy in the streets of Gaza.

        These actions have no military purpose, as far as I understand it they are motivated by hate, religious indoctrination and the need of groups like Hamas to gain prestige to perpetuate their rule.

        Now, on the Israeli side, rockets are shot into our civilian population and buses explode and the duty of the government is to protect its population, if a rocket launcher in operating from inside a civilian population that's unfortunate but to the government the safety of our population has priority over the safety of theirs, and if it's deemed that a high-level planner of attacks must be killed then an assassination will be planned to minimize collateral damage but you can't wait indefinitely.

        I won't deny that on the individual level you won't find soldiers who get off on the power trip of humiliating someone going through their checkpoint or maybe steal in iPod while going through a person's stuff but that does not express the values of the IDF and if they are caught they will be jailed and they will be expelled from the army.

        On the Palestinian side, if you perform a suicide bombing, if you're sitting in the Israeli jail for an attack, your family will receive a stipend, you will be considered a hero, there will be pictures of you on billboards and you will get streets and schools named after you.

        As for the Settlers, I think they're assholes, my friends who serve in the army and come in contact with them generally express the sentiment of 'Why do I have to come here and protect these assholes for their fucked up ideology?'.
        But except for very few cases their actions amount to vandalism at most.
        And these actions are considered criminal, there's even a special department in the secret service dedicated to infiltrating them, arresting them, expelling them from the territories an generally thwarting them.

        Now if you look at the numbers you'll see more the death ratio in every conflict heavily weighted towards the Palestinian side (due to their methods of attack being less accurate, our side having early warning systems, bomb shelters for every person) but I do believe that one side specifically targeting civilians with the other side trying to avoid civilian casualties doesn't make both sides morally equal.
        There's this quote that goes "if the Arabs lay down their arms there will be no more war, but if Israel lays down its weapons there would be no more Israel." .
        And while this is a pretty simplistic cliche that ignores historical, geopolitical and what have you claims in the region, I do believe that it is in essence true.

    • Thanks for a voice of sanity. You know who I find unpleasant and behind much of the problems on the planet? Right wing fundamentalist politicians - but I'm still glad they have the chance to espouse their views, that way I know who they are, what they think and can understand why they're so dangerous.
  • Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:40AM (#42086469) Homepage Journal

    Is free-speech the last i heard.

    Twitter can of course take it down on their own as they dont have to adhere to the US Constitution in this matter, but our government should NOT be involved in requesting that a individuals ( or group ) speech to be curtailed.

    Yes, i realize they are not Americans and may not have that right in their home country, but an American governmental agency asking bothers me greatly.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

      The U.S. courts generally accept that enemy propaganda isn't protected by the 1st Amendment during war.

      The U.S. is now in perpetual war. And the President / State Dept. / Congress say who the enemies are.

      And who said being in perpetual war isn't fun???

    • by CRCulver (715279)

      Twitter can of course take it down on their own as they dont have to adhere to the US Constitution in this matter, but our government should NOT be involved in requesting that a individuals ( or group ) speech to be curtailed.

      For groups designated as terrorist organization, "free speech" doesn't apply. It is illegal to provide a channel for such groups to communicate. Governments are not targeting the content of their speech per se (Hamas could be tweeting about cute little puppies and they would still be

      • by CRCulver (715279)

        Courts have mainly ruled that an inviable right to free speech does not extend to persons outside the United States anyway.

        I meant to write "an inviolable right".

        • Re:Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mrbester (200927) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:42AM (#42086747) Homepage

          This would be US courts who only have jurisdiction over acts on US soil affecting US citizens would it?

          The constitution is an odd thing in that as written it applies to everybody with particular emphasis for US citizens. As such it is not only a base for how law and rights are appled in US but is also meant to be the template for how US treats anybody as an extension and espousal of fundamental rights to all; you have the right to free speech and are obligated to extend that freedom to everybody else. Why should you have that right yet deny it to others?

          • This would be US courts who only have jurisdiction over acts on US soil affecting US citizens would it?

            The constitution is an odd thing in that as written it applies to everybody with particular emphasis for US citizens. As such it is not only a base for how law and rights are appled in US but is also meant to be the template for how US treats anybody as an extension and espousal of fundamental rights to all; you have the right to free speech and are obligated to extend that freedom to everybody else. Why should you have that right yet deny it to others?

            Yes, it really irks/alarms me that many of the people who profess to be the most patriotic don't actually subscribe to the principles the country was founded on.

      • Re:Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pla (258480) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:48AM (#42086781) Journal
        For groups designated as terrorist organization, "free speech" doesn't apply. It is illegal to provide a channel for such groups to communicate.

        And how did it become illegal? Congress passed a law saying so.

        But, funny thing about that, because "Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press".

        Who broke the law here? Not Twitter, not random spokesperson probably living in Western Europe, not even Hamas (well, not for their Twitter activity, anyway) - But the US Fucking Congress has broken the law by making such a law!


        Of course, for the constitution to have any teeth, people would need to care, and no one does. So, would you like to join me for some liquid bread before the gladiatorial games this evening, Citizen?
        • Bear in mind also, that the summary and article both specify "US-Designated" terrorist groups. The words slippery slope and precedent immediately spring to mind when you let the government label certain political speech as illegal, and then demand to have the speakers silenced. The US terrorist designation is notoriously politically motivated, and not based on any form of metric or logical definition. For example Hamas are terrorists mainly for their firing of rockets at Israel. Out of all of the groups th
      • For groups designated as terrorist organization, "free speech" doesn't apply. It is illegal to provide a channel for such groups to communicate.

        Putting aside legal standards for a minute, this strikes me as foolish and wrong. Free speech isn't just a fundamental right, it's also a good idea. Terrorist organizations should be able to get their messages out: how else are we going to provide a counterpoint to it?

        I remember hearing that the Taliban's reps at the UN started giving out translations of the Taliban's decrees and teachings. They became quite popular, the spokesmen were pleasantly surprised that their message was catching on... until

    • Re:Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ewanm89 (1052822) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:50AM (#42086529) Homepage

      If the US legislators are allowed to spout this kind of drivel then so is Hamas. I propose that if they try to force the issue the accounts of legislator and any US agency involved also be banned.

      • by cellocgw (617879)

        Exactly this. Those repubs (and dems to a large extent) still cling to their modern version of a world-wide Monroe Doctrine. They might as well go ahead and call it the "USA Imperative of Divine Right Rule"

        Ok, sorry for ranting on such a beautiful Sunday morning.

    • that idea amuses me

      your honor, I was exercising free speech when I notified my Hamas buddies I was launching that mortar

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:40AM (#42086477)

    I thought that that freedom [of speech] extended to those you might not necessarily agree with as well, right?

    I'm sure there are those who'd label the USA as a country of terror...not that I agree with them, but how about that basic freedom of speech?

  • by Severus Snape (2376318) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:41AM (#42086479)
    Definition of the word being, "A person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims." [oxforddictionaries.com]

    And the definition of terrorism. "Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes." [thefreedictionary.com]

    The FBI should consider updating their list of "designated terrorist groups".
    • I realise I should have used the definition from both words from the same place, the definitions however are pretty similar no matter where you look.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:03AM (#42086587)

      Terrorism has been refined to mean 'anyone who opposes the US government'

      • Terrorism has been refined to mean 'anyone who opposes the US government'

        Rather, "opposes anything the US government does".

    • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:57AM (#42087171) Homepage

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8_8773TUmA [youtube.com]
      http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199112--02.htm [chomsky.info]
      http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/200111--02.htm [chomsky.info]
      http://www.chomsky.info/articles/200205--02.htm [chomsky.info]
      http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/200401--.htm [chomsky.info]
      "There are two ways to approach the study of terrorism. One may adopt a literal approach, taking the topic seriously, or a propagandistic approach, construing the concept of terrorism as a weapon to be exploited in the service of some system of power. In each case it is clear how to proceed. Pursuing the literal approach, we begin by determining what constitutes terrorism. We then seek instances of the phenomenon -- concentrating on the major examples, if we are serious -- and try to determine causes and remedies. The propagandistic approach dictates a different course. We begin with the thesis that terrorism is the responsibility of some officially designated enemy. We then designate terrorist acts as "terrorist" just in the cases where they can be attributed (whether plausibly or not) to the required source; otherwise they are to be ignored, suppressed, or termed "retaliation" or "self-defence."
          It comes as no surprise that the propagandistic approach is adopted by governments generally, and by their instruments in totalitarian states. More interesting is the fact that the same is largely true of the media and scholarship in the Western industrial democracies, as has been documented in extensive detail.1 "We must recognize," Michael Stohl observes, "that by convention -- and it must be emphasized only by convention -- great power use and the threat of the use of force is normally described as coercive diplomacy and not as a form of terrorism," though it commonly involves "the threat and often the use of violence for what would be described as terroristic purposes were it not great powers who were pursuing the very same tactic."2 Only one qualification must be added: the term "great powers" must be restricted to favored states; in the Western conventions under discussion, the Soviet Union is granted no such rhetorical license, and indeed can be charged and convicted on the flimsiest of evidence. ...
          There are many terrorist states in the world, but the United States is unusual in that it is officially committed to international terrorism, and on a scale that puts its rivals to shame. ..."

      By that standard, there are a lot more twitter feeds the US government should be shutting down if it wants to shut down any feed that can remotely be construed as supporting "terrorism". That could begin with, if one accepts Chomsky's argument (and he is a professional linguist), some of the feeds put put by the US government. Where does it end? Freedom of speech is an ideal for a reason. How about a parallel twitter feed run by the US State Department that rebuts the Hamas feed point-by-point and tweet-by-tweet?

      See also:
      http://warprayer.org/ [warprayer.org]

  • by beaverdownunder (1822050) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:42AM (#42086483)

    Cyber-democracy doesn't work if government's can arbitrarily censor participants.

    In their own words, doing what they want would be "letting the terrorists win".

  • Free Speech (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:42AM (#42086485)

    Yes, we want free speech, but only if it says something we approve of.

    • And who 'decides' who the 'enemy' is?
  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:45AM (#42086507) Homepage

    So should Twitter also ban groups labeled as terrorists by other groups ? Eg: should we ban the Israeli government because Hamas thinks that they are terrorising them ? I think not. Twitter would be uniwse to accede to to this and put itself at the center of someone else's fight.

    One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

  • Hamas (Score:2, Informative)

    by br00tus (528477)

    Hamas was elected to govern Gaza. The Israelis have had Gaza under siege for years, preventing food etc. from coming in, and they're now bombing the hell out of it. I guess the US government moving to silence their voices would just be the icing on the cake - after all, the US is directly/indirectly financing the shelling of Gaza as well.

    Of course, one thing that caused Hamas to grow was US and Israeli financing. The US and Israel were always more scared of secular, left-leaning pan-Arab movements like t

    • Hamas was elected to govern Gaza.

      We're big fans of democracy... so long as we get to say who gets elected.

  • Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SilenceBE (1439827) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:56AM (#42086555)
    I've read the articles vertically - which I mostly do with American reporting about Israel as it so unbelievable one sided - and I noticed some parts that they mention "Anti-Americanism". The only part that is missing is freedom fries. The ironic thing is that this kind of one side view that really fuels Anti-Americanism in a lot of Arab states and even within my Arab friends that in no way I would describe as "extremists", "terrorist", or that typical bullshit. Even very moderate or even intellectuel bright people in that group tend to create more and more anti American feelings.

    You can pat yourself on the back en think that ridiculous claim that the hatred comes from the "hatred of your freedom", but is really these kind of signals that creates more extremism. The ironic thing is that the border of this "freedom" stops in what America likes and don't like.

    I know the Israelian [wikipedia.org] lobby is very powerful in the states and there goes a lot of money round, but it baffles me that there are not that many critical voices within the US.

    So what about state terrorism ? Shouldn't the IDF also be banned then since they also use social media for their propaganda ? One's terrorist is another persons freedom fighter.
    • Re:Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:07AM (#42086615)

      I know the Israelian lobby is very powerful in the states and there goes a lot of money round, but it baffles me that there are not that many critical voices within the US.

      For the most part, the only people who care about foreign affairs are those with a vested interest. There just aren't enough people with enough money who give a shit about the other side of that conflict to make any real noise about it. Occasionally an american girl gets run over with a bulldozer or something like that and then we get a ltitle more coverage, because she's american not because of the injustices she was protesting. But that's about it.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I know the Israelian lobby is very powerful in the states and there goes a lot of money round, but it baffles me that there are not that many critical voices within the US.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J_Street [wikipedia.org]
      The J-Street lobbyists have had endless shit heaped upon them for taking moderate positions on most issues and
      the Israeli government detests the idea of a Pro-Israel lobbying group that is a strong advocate for a two-state solution.

      The truth is, inside Israel there is a strong and meaningful conversation about all these issues,
      but they hate hate hate it when anyone outside the country advocates anything other than the party line.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:00AM (#42086573) Journal

    It's apparent the terrorist won.

    Such a small group of people have managed to drastically change the polices of the USA in a way no politicians could ever do.

    Look, we are scared of them tweeting, how could they not have won?

       

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dan667 (564390)
      the republicans believe that the US needs an enemy so they invented terrorism as a huge problem. Their policy is failure and has done more harm than good.
    • It's apparent the terrorist won.

      Such a small group of people have managed to drastically change the polices of the USA in a way no politicians could ever do.

      Look, we are scared of them tweeting, how could they not have won?

       

      Yes, it's amazing what happens when a cowardly 535 + 9 + 1 piss their pants.

  • OK, then people from the US (or anywhere else) can't say they have Free Speech any more. I was reluctantly fine with redefining free speech as free political speech, so you could exclude things like slander and the DVD CSS codes etc. Now we can only talk about how bad the restrictions are and compare countries.

    Additionally, it's not particularly brilliant of Hamas to rely on a company from an allied of their enemy to disseminate information

  • by Swampash (1131503) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:11AM (#42086631)

    why the USA blindly jumps to the defense of Israel for everything all the time? I mean... Israel comes across as Tommy DeVito as played by Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Crazy little guy on a hair trigger who keeps fucking everything up for everyone. And the USA without fail jumps in with WE STAND WITH THE CRAZY LITTLE NATION ON A HAIR TRIGGER.

    I don't get it.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:46AM (#42086771) Journal

      Because of evangelicals. They believe a holy war will preceed the second coming of christ, and so they do everything in their power to start one. There is absolutely nothing rational about our policy towards Israel.

      • If you build your house next to the ocean, and it gets wiped out by, say a tidal wave or hurricane, maybe you should have built more inland, away from the water enough to be safe.

        Why did the Jewish people choose to build their house where all their neighbors hate them? I'm asking a simplified, serious question. There's plenty of good land to be had in the world, Australia comes to mind, oceanfront land there too. If I lived where everyone around me wants to kill me, I'd move, and let the people there fi

    • by Rich0 (548339) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:18AM (#42087299) Homepage

      I think there are many reasons - some of which have already been offered up.

      Sure, many Jews live in the US. Sure, the US has a ton of evangelicals, and a fair portion of those have a sense of manifest destiny where Israel is concerned.

      However, I think where many mainstream US voters come in is that you basically have a Westernized country in the middle of Arab territory that is constantly being beset by terrorist bombings and all that. People look at a bunch of refugees living in camps and making bombs, and a bunch of people living in apartments and shopping in malls and serving in the military, and they can identify with the latter FAR more.

      When Hamas launches rockets, they aim them at cities, not at military installations. Granted, where rockets are concerned the former are far easier to hit. However, before the wall went up there were suicide bombing attacks in Israel all the time. The targets of these attacks were almost always civilian in nature. It was pretty rare to see them going after army checkpoints or whatever.

      I think the average person looks at an organization like Hamas as one that goes after civilians any time it gets the chance. That gets them almost zero sympathy in the world's eyes.

      The Israeli military operates in a manner similar to the US military. Obviously that is going to get them a lot of US sympathy, since nobody thinks that their cousin who is in the US military is doing anything wrong. Their weapons are far more powerful, which means that in the end they kill a lot more civilians. However, the fact that they aim at military targets is about all the justification needed.

      I'm not saying Israel has all the answers. I am saying that nobody should be surprised that they get pretty solid US backing, and to a lesser extent European backing in general.

  • Letting Hamas and other terrorist organizations use Twitter keeps them in reach. Do you really want them to make their own, harder to find, twitter. At least this way, everyone can know what they are thinking.

  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:25AM (#42086685) Journal

    Way to go, Republicans. Look stupid again. Make Texas and America look bad, again.

    The people behind this out of order demand are all Republicans. And the leader, this Ted Poe, is from Texas. I don't want the US to be a one party nation, but the Republicans seem suicidally intent on cornering the market on stupidity. Royal courts used to have fools. Helped the monarchy avoid really stupid moves. Court fools had a good deal of license, but no real power. I would prefer that the Republicans behave like a serious party, and quit making auditions for this vacant post that shouldn't be needed, now that we have dozens of editorial cartoonists, Saturday Night Live's tradition of mocking candidates and debates, and comedy news such as the Daily Show.

    But if Republicans continue to be unable to help it, unable to comprehend that such a demand tramples upon the 1st Amendment and that they ought to be ashamed of themselves, it's time for them to be pushed aside. We haven't had a big party shift since the Whigs waffled on slavery and self destructed in the 1850s. The 4 Whig Presidents, ending with Millard Fillmore, are among our lowest rated presidents. The last really good Republican president we had was not Reagan, it was Eisenhower. Time for some fresh blood.

  • First off, while I seldom agree with the left, we are not at war with the Palestinians, so we should not be censoring anything. With that said, the world only has two options; keep the status quo and prevent a hot war in the Middle East (maybe) or leave the combatants alone, which will inevitably lead to nuclear war. Hamas and radical Islam (I am looking at you Iran) are bent on the destruction of Israel, and Israel will defend itself to the end. When Islamic clerics begin to preach peace with Israel, I wil
  • Wikileaks releases a great deal of classified information. The government claims the act is aiding the enemy while at the same time getting a judge to say its ok for the government to continue treating the now public information as though its still secret.

    In sum, head in sand while claiming violation of head in sand.

    So it seems the government, the referenced legislators really don't want to understand reality. Here reality is not putting your head in the sand but rather realizing twitter simply does not wor

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:26AM (#42086995)
    Lets get this straight up front.

    I am all for getting rid of hamas militarily
    I am all for getting rid of hezbolla militarilly
    Same with Al-Qaeda, this shabbab,

    None of these Islamic based militancy groups strike me as anything more than petty despots marginally worse than our own breed of fundamentalist assholes I don't like.

    That said, when we start censoring the internet, who do we put in charge, what safe guards do we have, and what prevents this from setting a terrible precedent.

    Just like home-grown extremists give them enough rope to hang themselves and let them know what terrible assholes they are.

    Kicking them off twitter is not going to stop them from doing anything, except describe to everyone not with their group who they are.
  • by iceco2 (703132) <meirmaor@@@gmail...com> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:25AM (#42087349)

    Free speech is a sacred right, even murderers have it.
    However encouraging people to commit crimes when there is good reason to believe someone will act upon your words
    is illegal pretty much anywhere.
    Hamas should not be censored because they are evil (they are as evil as they come),
    They should be censored when they call for terror or other illegal activity.
    I myself have not read too many of their twitter posts so I don't know if they use them to spread general propoganda (false or other)
    or if they overtly call for terrorism.
    All of this is purely on the moral aspects of censorship, ignoring the effectiveness of censoring twitter.
    I suspect censoring Hamas effectively may prove difficult.

  • by Gonoff (88518) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @12:27PM (#42087753)
    proof that the US government and its corporate owners are completely unfit to have any control of any part of the internet.
  • by tlambert (566799) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:19PM (#42088129)

    In related news,Twitter asks FBI to identify them, and then explain why, if they know the identities, and these people are truly terrorist, why they haven't done something about them instead of just trying to shut down their computer accounts.

  • by petrus4 (213815) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:10AM (#42092791) Homepage Journal

    This is a good example of why, although I have a Twitter account, I never use it, for the most part. It's also why I am opposed to the concept of giant, faceless corporations like Google, Facebook, and Twitter being the developers of, and having control of, the applications which the majority of people on the Internet use.

    Twitter in particular is a fascist, corporate usurpation of the decentralised and non-corporate ircII protocol. As far as I am concerned, every principled Internet user should boycott both the application and the corporation into non-existence. We need to bring back IRC, so that we can again have decentralised, non-corporate control of text-based chat.

    I honestly hope a Twitter employee reads this. Fuck you. Truly and sincerely, fuck you, and every other individual who works for the company as well. It is companies like yours that have destroyed the Internet as it existed before 2000.

    That has not been forgiven, and it will not be forgotten.

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