By Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President
Suppose some day that you are sitting at your computer, ready to take action against a repressive gun ban pending before Congress, a ban the media says is a benefit to society. They are lying. And you want access to the truth so you can convince your friends and neighbors to contact their senators and congressmen.
You type in the URL for the National Rifle Association--www.nra.org--and you get an error message: "Host not found." You type in www.nraila.org. This time you get the message "site unavailable."
When you type the Web address of a civil liberties think tank--a known, proven source for accurate information and analysis--you find yourself looking at a screen saying "content blocked."
You can access the Violence Policy Center and the Brady Campaign. But every pro-gun site is filtered. Nothing is coming into your inbox from any of the pro-Second Amendment online newsletters you always get. Their sites are blocked as well.
So you send an e-mail to your congressman and U.S. senators telling them about the Internet blackout and urging them to vote against the gun-ban legislation, and you CC your e-mail to friends and family and co-workers. Your e-mails are blocked, while the voices of those hyping the bans on speech and gun ownership sail through. Your inbox fills with returned mail with cover messages saying "action failed."
As a hedge, you send your congressional letters through the U.S. Postal Service--but the bill is up for floor action in three days--and you know your message in opposition won`t arrive in time because of federal mail screening.
You go to another pro-gun site, and it is there, but wait a minute--the headline on the main page says they support the gun ban. The site has been hacked, the original content dumped and fraudulent material added.
You try again to reach the site of your activist state association and you get a new error message: "ACCESS FORBIDDEN BY THE UNITED NATIONS INTERNET GOVERNANCE AUTHORITY. Your attempted access has been recorded."
All of these things--all of this censorship, including replacing site content--are already a worldwide reality for millions of people today.
A chilling account of Internet repression--including some of the error messages I cite--was published in the November 16, 2005 edition of The (London) Independent.
Author Daniel Howden writes, ". . . China remains the benchmark in censorship. Beijing has cajoled major U.S. players such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo into adapting their sites and services to suit the censors. A Chinese Web surfer typing the word `democracy` or `freedom` or `human rights` into their server will probably receive an error message announcing: `This item contains forbidden speech.`"
The Internet reflects America`s unique First Amendment, and it serves to protect our equally unique Second Amendment.
If you have friends who might scoff at this scenario playing out here in America, let me lay out some recent headlines: "China Again Tightens Control of Online News and Information . . ." or "China shuts down 47,000 `harmful` Internet cafes." Then add to that frightening mix these headlines: "China charges U.S. monopolizes the Internet, seeks global control" and "EU Wants Shared Control of Internet."
Global Internet control. Think global gun control. They are the same thing. An Associated Press business dispatch--written before the November 2005 World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia--predicted, "A stalemate over who should serve as the principal traffic cops for Internet routing and addressing could derail the summit, which aims to ensure a fair sharing of the Internet for the benefit of the whole world."
"Benefit of the whole world?" That`s U.N. speak for what Howden concludes is a battle where "the world`s rich and powerful will join battle for control of what they see as a gold mine."
In opposition to a U.N. takeover of the Internet, the Bush administration has held its ground. After all, we invented the Internet. It was the sole creation of remarkable American genius. It was and is an integral part of our national defense. And--as an American entity--is shared with the world as the most open avenue for free expression and the exchange of ideas ever created. It reflects America`s unique First Amendment, and it serves to protect our equally unique Second Amendment.
"Benefit of the whole world?" The United Nations? We`ve heard those words before--again and again--in reference to worldwide civil disarmament. Were the U.N. to control the most important means of communications in history, you can bet globalist billionaire George Soros and Rebecca Peters would be silencing all Internet access by those who oppose their world vision of a global gun ban.
The Internet is still safely in American hands--for now--but this fight, like the global efforts to disarm Americans, will never go away.
And neither will our duty to protect the sanctity of the First Amendment with the vigor equal to our defense of the Second Amendment.