Passport

The Geert Wilders Road Show is going back to London

 

Dutch MP Geert Wilders won an appeal lifting his travel ban to the United Kingdom. He was barred from entering the country after British officials deemed him a risk to the public order. Wilders, who wants to ban the Koran, called the reversal a victory for free speech.

Depending on who you ask, Wilders is either a hateful Islamophobe who wants to incite violence against Muslims or a  a common sense leader who doesn't want his government's tax money going toward unemployment checks for al-Qaeda bloggers, like it is in Belgium. Either way, he still faces trial in his native Holland for inciting hatred.

After being turned back at Heathrow Airport in February, Wilders appealed the ban, won, and plans to return to the UK next week at the request of Lord Pearson and his conservative UK Independence Party. There he will screen Fitna for the House of Lords. After Wilders was banned from the UK, Pearson said the government was appeasing militant Islam.

British authorities said of the reversal of the ban, "We are disappointed by the court's decision. The government opposes extremism in all of its forms."

Wilders claimed he isn't an extremist.

"I'm not doing anything wrong," he said. "I'm not protesting or running through the streets of London."

Passport reported on Wilders' visit to Washington in February. 

MARCEL ANTONISSE/AFP/Getty Images

Passport

The Taliban's YouTube channel

Danger Room reports that the Taliban have finally embraced online video sharing and launched Istiqlal Media, an official YouTube channel. Terrorist media expert Evan Kohlman comments:

“The Taliban have really been latecomers to the world of online video, and their initial forays haven’t been terribly successful,” Kohlman tells Danger Room. While the group has used YouTube in an official capacity before, placing video of captured America soldier on the site, Kohlman says that the use of embedded YouTube video on their site is a first. In other words, the Taliban is actually more dinosaurish about social media than the Pentagon. Way to be Web 2.0, Mullah Omar!

So what finally pushed the Afghan insurgent group onto YouTube?  Bandwidth, Kohlman explains.

“Recent efforts to distribute high-resolution jihadi media in standard formats — RMVB, AVI, MPEG — have simply overloaded their web servers and exhausted their bandwidth.  Now, it appears that the Taliban webmasters have finally come around and recognized the merits of YouTube, using the U.S.-based service to test out directly embedding video into their sites.  By turning to YouTube, the Taliban gain a free, highly-reliable video broadcast service with the potential to reel in a vast, viral audience.”

And that's not the Taliban's only foray into Web 2.0. The "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" Website allows readers to share posts via Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and other social networking services. 

The YouTube channel isn't much right now. Just a few non-narrated montages of car bombings and gun battles set to music (Judging from the soundtrack, the Taliban has also embraced auto-tuning.) But it will be interesting to see if YouTube moves to shut it down.