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Islamic State the New Favorite of Fear Mongers

By: Malgorzata Lange - @MalgoLange - Oct 29, 2014, 9:35 am
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The Islamic State terrorist organization has exceeded the notorious brutality of parent-organization al-Qaeda. (Melty.es)

EspañolOver a decade has passed since former President George W. Bush launched the US War on Terror against extremist organizations in the Middle East and the governments that support them. In part, this campaign has been justified by the hazily defined existence of al-Qaeda, the group-turned-doctrine that came to encompass all things terrorist and fueled vehement political rhetoric across the United States.

The rise of al-Qaeda enabled enormous international undertakings, such as the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. On the domestic front, the Secure Border Initiative has been an effort by the Department of Homeland Security to cut down on illegal immigration by walling off the border with Mexico.

Now, insecurity in the Middle East and the perception of domestic insecurity in the United States are becoming more complex in the face of changing contingencies and challenges. The discussion is no longer focused on al-Qaeda and the Axis of Evil states that sponsor them, but rather on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and its adherents’ efforts to create a caliphate.

Meanwhile, the US population has remained vulnerable to fear mongering, despite more than 10 years of extraordinary measures taken by the federal government to ensure public safety.

Consider the wall erected along the Mexican border, to dissuade the broad group of clandestine transnational actors from the United States — chiefly immigrants, smugglers, and terrorists. It is a security measure in which the United States has invested considerable human and material resources.

However, the construction of the wall has been in vain. Every effort to strengthen it has thus far been negated by a deficiency of equal proportion, not to mention that those who seek to harm the United States have historically entered the country on international flights, not by way of the border.

Boogeyman 2.0

Thee years after the death of Osama Bin Laden, and al-Qaeda seems to have disappeared from the radar. Once a powerful discursive force, al-Qaeda-inspired rhetoric has been exhausted by overuse and notoriety. Yet from al-Qaeda has emerged the Islamic State, which in many ways has surpassed the fearsome image of the organization that created it.

Conservative and Republican politicos have already harnessed the Islamic State for political use, much as they have done with the Ebola virus, by citing a threat to national security.

Republicans have warned of a secret plot to ferry ISIS fighters across the border with Mexico for months, urging the United States to wake up to the porous Southern border. California Congressman Duncan Hunter even went so far as to claim that “at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas,” during an interview with Fox News earlier this year.

Although the Department of Homeland Security has denied the existence of any sort of ISIS plot to cross the Mexican border, media coverage has continued to breath life into the claim. The result is a favorable climate for tougher immigration and border-security policies.

The discourse is already laying the groundwork for action. This fear mongering will not cease until voters have agreed to build even higher walls that further seal off the border.

To paraphrase Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke, the United States has long had a tendency to project fears and apprehensions at the border.

ISIS is real and frightening. But assuming that their fighters will come pouring across the border with Mexico is little more than a psychological maneuver to placate uncertainty and place the enemy on a map. Fear as a political recourse is both cheap and efficient, but nobody seems to notice the collateral damage produced over time. Confidence and security are easily lost and difficult to recover.

As the border is being sealed, it becomes a true monument to another myopic political strategy in a long line of poor domestic and international policies.

Translated by Peter Sacco. Edited by Fergus Hodgson.

Malgorzata Lange Malgorzata Lange

Malgorzata Lange is a native of Poland who lives in Santiago de Chile. She holds degrees in political science and international Relations, and is a PhD candidate at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. She is also a radio panelist on international politics issues. Follow @MalgoLange.

Lawsuit Alleges Stefan Molyneux Abused DMCA to Censor Critic

By: PanAm Post Staff - Oct 28, 2014, 4:33 pm
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EspañolThe woman behind the Tru Shibes YouTube channel has filed a lawsuit against Stefan Molyneux, host of the libertarian-leaning podcast Freedomain Radio, alleging abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). On Friday, October 24, J. Raven, founder of Tru Shibes, filed a complaint before a California judge accusing Molyneux of "materially misrepresenting" DMCA copyright claims to silence her criticism. Although Raven used clips from Molyneux's show to create YouTube videos aimed at criticizing the self-described philosopher, Molyneux has publicly stated the DMCA filings had "nothing to do with copyright." "The case arises from Defendants’ improper assertion of copyright infringement against Plaintiff. The infringement allegations were based on Plaintiff’s use of excerpts of Defendant’s Internet content in the production of videos posted on her 'Tru Shibes' YouTube channel critical of Defendant Stefan Molyneux and his methods of promoting his radical psychological and social theories, which he calls 'philosophy.' As a result of Defendants’ assertion of infringement, YouTube disabled public access to the Tru Shibes videos and ultimately shut down the whole Tru Shibes channel," reads the complaint. Molyneux and his director of operations, Michael DeMarco, have stated they used DMCA notices to take down videos that harassed and doxed their supporters. "We had a number of listeners who called in and said, 'listen, this guy is doing some pretty creepy stuff with my personal info here, I'm not comfortable with this,'" said Molyneux. As a self-described anarcho-capitalist who is opposed to state violence, Molyneux has argued against intellectual property law, but says the use of DMCA was justified in this case. "So we used that mechanism to take that down. It's got nothing to do with copyright or anything like that, I just felt that listeners were being acted against in a negative way." DeMarco, also named in the pending lawsuit, said their motive was to protect their audience. "If you attack listeners, you don't get to use any of our material." "On information and belief, Defendants knew that the critique videos did not infringe their copyright when they sent YouTube the takedown notices. Defendants acted in bad faith when they sent the takedown notices, knowingly and materially misrepresenting that they had concluded the critique videos were infringing," alleges the complaint. Source: Techdirt.

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