Until now most of the intimidation has been of the “soft” kind, with the Dutch PM nudging Wilders to kindly remind him that if some savage beheads someone over his film, it’s his fault. Now, the inevitable:
The Dutch government is looking into whether it can stop a politician from releasing an anti-Koran film, fearing attacks on its citizens and businesses, a newspaper reported on Monday.
Government lawyers are looking into whether there are legal grounds to ban the film by anti-immigration lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has likened the Koran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the Telegraaf reported, citing sources close to the cabinet…
The newspaper said the coalition government was divided on the film with the Christian Democrats more in favour of a ban while Labour was pushing freedom of expression and calling on Muslim countries to prevent violence against the Netherlands.
I like the suggestion of a split over whether they should ask Muslims not to kill them. The legal strategy here is a sort of expanded Pentagon Papers defense: The film presents a threat to national security and thus must be suppressed, even though (a) it’s not the film that presents a threat, of course, it’s the barbarians who are willing to slit throats to stifle it, and (b) instead of revealing government secrets, Wilders is purporting to reveal “secrets” about … Islam. In fact, it’s a step more absurd than that — follow the link to Dutch News and you’ll see that the main concern is for, um, heavily armed NATO forces in Afghanistan. That’s not the first time the troops have been used to try to cow Wilders into backing down, so I’ll ask you again what I asked you then: Precisely how much speech are they willing to ban at home to make occupation abroad easier?
Update: Michelle noted this last week, I think, but it fits so well with this post that I’ll lay it in front of you in case you missed it. What’s a free-thinkin’ Internet behemoth to do when it’s banned for letting its users engage in a bit too much free expression? Why, roll back their freedom of expression, of course.