Saturday, July 07, 2007

Jihad Watch banned

Robert Spencer has a message for us:

I began getting the emails several days ago: Jihad Watch readers telling me that they had been accustomed to reading the site at work, but now their employer had blocked access to the Jihad Watch site on company computers. Many reported that the ban on Jihad Watch was explained with the assertion that Jihad Watch contained “hate speech.” This was true even in Federal Government offices. And it wasn’t only the Feds. Jihad Watch was blocked, readers informed me, on the computers of the State of Connecticut; the City of Chicago; Bank of America; Fidelity Investments; Site Coach; GE IT; JPMorgan Chase; Defense Finance and Accounting Services; Johnson Controls, Inc. IT; Boeing; Tenet Hospitals in North Carolina; Provisio; the Sabre Group TSG; Wachovia bank; and others: several people have written in to tell me that as of this week they can no longer access Jihad Watch at work, but haven’t told me where they work.

This was not a simple case of employers being annoyed with their workers lying down on the job and spending time reading Jihad Watch instead of working. This is an attempt to silence us, as an email from a federal employee made abundantly clear when he noted which sites were blocked – and which sites weren’t:

I wanted to drop a line about the inability to access JihadWatch at work. I work for the Fed Gov. Three weeks ago, Memri was blocked. Two weeks ago HotAir, which I used to look at on my lunch break for your updates, was blocked. As of Friday, June 29th, JihadWatch was blocked. I can however, visit CAIR, read anything about Islam, and even get the Arab news. The censors I deal with are from the Dallas area. It is very easy to see that this censor is not operating according to the proper rules of access. They are operating by their political beliefs (or hopes.) It is unfortunate that these people block the very information that we need in these times....

With all this happening so suddenly in so many places, obviously this is a decision made in some central location, with impact within all these different places -- but I am not certain of the source of it. I have contacted a web filter service to which several of these organizations apparently subscribe and which therefore may have initiated this general ban, but have not heard back yet. In any case, the matter of most concern in this is the likelihood that the decision was made to ban Jihad Watch was political. If it were merely a matter of filtering out controversial material, sites that treat some of the same material from a different perspective – particularly pro-jihad sites – would also have been banned. But they evidently have not been.


Mr. Spencer writes:

I just got word that Jihad Watch is now viewable again at Fidelity Investments, where it was banned last week. I'e also learned that the Federal Government ban is spotty, prevailing in some offices but not in others.

Many thanks for all your support on this. If you work anywhere that the site was banned last week (and if you see this perhaps at home), please try it again now and let me know. I've been emailing a web filtering corporation, and others have as well, and maybe our efforts are beginning to pay off. I'll keep you posted, and thanks again.

If any of my readers find that they cannot view Jihad Watch let me know and I'll start posting summaries here.