back to article Finland censors anti-censorship site

Finnish police are blocking more than 1,000 legal websites, including one belonging to a well-known internet activist, under a secretive system designed to prevent access to foreign sites that contain child pornography, according to a group that advocates for individual rights online. Among the estimated 1,700 destinations on …

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Stop

Think of the children

And this is why censorship cannot be permitted even to stop kiddy porn. Because once it's used to stop that, it's used to stop everything a government doesn't agree with.

Far better to leave the kiddy porn there until you track down the offenders and anyone who visits the site regularly. The police could even use such sites as honey traps - arrest the operator (on charges of possession without publicly linking him to the site), and keep the site running to nail anyone who makes repeat visits. A one-time visitor could have stumbled on it by accident, but someone who keeps coming back knows what they're looking for.

This case, with the blocking of a political activist's website, is exactly the danger the anti-censorship crowd has been pointing out all these years. "Save the children" becomes "Bury the dissidents" in very short order.

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Or indeed...

"How long, they ask, until its used to block sites alleged to promote copyright infringement, gambling or racist views?"

How long until it is used to block sites alleged to contain information which might be critical of the government?

Josef Stalin would be proud.

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Fascism, pure and simple

""This is not censorship", Henriksson told the publication."

By happy coincidence, this Henriksson guy is the only person updating the list and he says he can't do anything, go to ISP. Which is utter bullshit, NBI is the only organization (and in there: This Henriksson) who has the authority to change the list and now the person who has the responsibility to do that, says he won't do anything. Nor he tells us where he got the addresses.

Great.

No wonder there already are several complaints to upper authorities of these obvious illegalities: There's no way out of that list, as Henriksson tells us.

"How long until it is used to block sites alleged to contain information which might be critical of the government?"

It is already, Nikki's page is the first (we know of, the list is secret for a good reason).

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Black Helicopters

'el bonfire'

Yeesh, this is the electronic equivalent of book-burning, isn't it? Didn't most countries renounce that?

Censorship solves nothing, and unlike book burning, it's pretty easy to go to another 'internet library' to get the info. This is a useless gesture, and a bad move politically.

The finns must be miffed.

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Coat

Perkele!

Looks like freedom of speech is Finnished.

Mine's the one with the Kimi Raikkonen logo embroidered on the back...

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Flame

The sole purpose....

....of this kind of legislation is to stifle free speech. Attacking kiddy porn is just a straw man, set up to achieve that goal. Anyone protesting the use of the law beyond it's original alledged purpose can and will be accused of condoning or proliferating kiddy porn; nobody wants to be in such a position.

I hope the Fins, their constitution and its guardians are robust enough to see them through this......

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Happy

Just put links on Finnish govt site to banned sites...

That should do the trick nicely

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Anonymous Coward

Control media...

and control information equals control of the masses. Each time control gets up a notch we lose our rights until we one day live in Orwells novels. If we don't already do.

What is worst is that there is absolutely nothing a common man can do but adjust to changes. This topic will be known by only handful of people as the rest won't bother.

- Disenfranchised finn

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Pirate

Prior "art"

@ Dotes

historically, the Finns were with the other side in that episode (Finland wound up helping the Axis invade Russia), which may explain their totalitarian tendencies, but through a different ideology. Comrade Djugashvili would therefore be the wrong man to blame for this (though he had similar funny ideas that didn't work out so well).

that being said, there are certain WW2 habits in some countries, that don't seem to ever disappear (though where the UK gets it, i don't know). "support your local police, for a more efficient police state."

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Censorship

If they insist on censoring anything that links to a site on their list, simply flood the net with links to Mattis site. When nobody in Finland can use any of the net, they may be forced to rethink things :-P

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Pirate

The third oldest story in the book

The third oldest story in the book "who watches the watchers when then can't watch over themselves even with a dozen mirrors in a circle"

Well if you need to know the other two , you obviously live in a cloistered monastery !

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Paris Hilton

Actually this is fairly sick.

So instead of doing anything about it they force the ISP's to sort of block them. Never mind there isn't any kiddie porn on any of those sites what if there were, block it so we don't have to look at it if thats their answer I wouldn't raise a child there thats a kind of tacit acceptance of pedophile porn how disgusting. Actually I doubt the existence of child pornography on any web site it's illegal everywhere the people that sell this crap don't have a fixed address meaning they will eventually block most/all of the internet and still not block any child pornography. Life is hard but it's harder when your dumb.

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Stop

@ b shubin / Prior "art"

Although technically, Finland was allied with the Axis during the war, you're badly mistaken (or just haven't read much) if you think they supported the Nazi ideology. The relationship was a case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" and they eventually drove the Nazis out - but the Finns never, ever supported the Nazi cause. It was the lesser, excuse my phrasing, of two evils, because they faced invasion and enslavement by the larger Russia who saw war as a chance to reclaim Finland as their own - what's a small, defenceless country to do?

---

As regards the article:

"It's a bit harsh for the Finnish police to tag them as child porn" - well, purchasing the domain name "childporn.info" is a bit dodgy too, but yes, I rather suspect that the police didn't actually check the content of the site but rather on the basis of the name. In this day and age there's no such thing as "accidentally" viewing porn of any flavour - what with adblock, flashblock, and optional personal filters - so it should be down to the end user what to block and what to show. If people are going to look for child porn, they'll find a way. Block them off the internet and they'll do it the old-fashioned way - by abducting and abusing a child.

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Kafka?

"secretive system"

"officials refuse to reveal the criteria"

"NBI ... refused to say why."

"no clear way for owners to get their site to get removed"

"the censored sites haven't been notified by the police"

i.e. "You've commited a crime, but we're not going to tell you what it is."

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Anonymous Coward

Coincidence

The other big news here in Finland is the arrest of a woman artist for child pr0n. She had an artwork containing hundreds of photos, including graphic images of obviously underage children. A member of the public reported it to the police. Her proclaimed intention was to critique the ease of attaining CP from the Internet. She hopes to get the maximum sentence. Some want more censorship.

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RE: @ b shubin / Prior "art"

"well, purchasing the domain name "childporn.info" is a bit dodgy too"

Didn't realise that was the domain. lapsi=child in finnish. Guess I wont be posting links to the site then.

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Anonymous Coward

Some Finns want more censorship re. CP

Artwork critiquing easy access to CP confiscated by police:

http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Police+confiscate+art+exhibit+as+child+pornography+/1135234155292

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don't blame the government

Those who get their news from the Reg might not have noticed that in the wider world the public are (and have been for some time) pretty hysterical on the subject of child porn and terrorism. I looked recently at a BBC comments page on 'What should be done with paedophiles?' and the general opinion was that they should be starved, tortured, castrated and then left on some remote island to die of exposure.

When the public are in that mood, the politicos have to go some distance towards accommodating them or lose their jobs. Consequently, announcing that you've banned sites linking to child porn is (from their point of view) the least they can do. Yes, it's being done in the wrong way, and totally innocent websites are getting caught in the mess. But politicians are not famed for their techno-prowess, and a number of them are not too bright in the first place.

But leave it to Jo and Jolene Public to sort things outside the political process and expect a reign of terror. In short, I'd see in this less a government effort to impose creeping dictatorship and more a ham-handed effort to appease a somewhat rabid mob.

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Dead Vulture

@Jason Togneri

"In this day and age there's no such thing as "accidentally" viewing porn of any flavour - what with adblock, flashblock, and optional personal filters - so it should be down to the end user what to block and what to show."

If only everyone was both a) educated enough to know what those things were and b) not susceptible to media hype about sensitive subjects...

Unfortunately, most of the "great unwashed" neither understand how to use the internet nor have the common sense to see how government censorship is a bad thing.

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Kiddie porn? bullocks

Some time ago I read some news similar to this, and someone from the US posted an interesting idea:

People are hysterical at kiddie porn, but not for the kids, but because the persons who like that are very different from their sets of ideas.

The reasoning: If it was for the kids, we would not mind if it was virtual. But then think: do you mind of virtual k. porn? I do, so it is NOT for the kids... I still think it is sick..

As for the authorities, it is a good excuse to censor and pass authoritarian laws, using the exception to legislate the common. But don't blame them: there are evil shepards only because there are stupid lambs: ie. the general population (witch, by the way should not vote, as they aren't interested)

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Flag

Seems this is now a "top story" on El Reg now. But you got the Finnish flag in the icon wrong, both the colour and the shape. Which is probably just for the best: I wouldn't want foreigners to connect the real Finnish flag, which for me has always stood for liberty, with this fascist censorship BS [hangs head in shame; not nice days to be a Finn].

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A small correction

"That's because it requires Finnish internet service providers (ISPs) to block entire web servers"

This is not entirely true. The ISPs are not yet required to block access to these sites. However, when the law was passed, it was openly discussed that if the ISPs do not voluntarily block access, they will be forced to. So voluntarism is questionable at best. Major ISPs do block access according to the list, but many smaller ones do not. And, of course, it is ridiculously easy to bypass the block.

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Anonymous Coward

Stumbling on horror

"...no such thing as "accidentally" viewing porn of any flavour..."

If you browse thumbnail links, you'd be surprised how often the images you get are unrelated to the thumb you clicked. Cue hasty "Back". I don't think you could actually stumble very far into the deep recesses of child porn, but the rules about what is considered unacceptable are creeping to the point that even only mildly prurient browsers of fleshpics could run afoul of the law by accident.

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Ian

Hardly suprising

Keep in mind Finland grouped itself with the Nazi's in World War II but only ever really actively fought the Russians, as such wasn't much of a target for the allies. As a result the Nazi ideal was never obliterated in Finland like it was elsewhere. Whilst I'm in no way suggesting Finland is full of Nazi's (it's not, the people are really nice for the most part) it would be naive to not realise that some of the unfortunate traits produced by the Nazis have remained in the country, including fascist tendencies amongst those in power and an extreme hatred of many types immigrants (extreme even compared to the quite strong British dislike of immigrants).

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IT Angle

Lack of knowledge

As this stupidity conserns my country I would like to try to explain how this stupidity came to happpen.

Fisrt me have 200 MPs who are asked to support a bill blocking childporn on the internet.

Well, who dears to oppose that.

And behind that is the simple fact that a deeper understanding of IT and the internet is totally missing in that croud. (Anybody surprised, no).

Some time ago our Primeminister Vanhanen returnd to Finland as a big hero (in his own mind) because that nice Mr Gates promised him free software for the Finnish Education.

I am saving millions and millions said Vanhanen.

( because I am such a nice guy that Mr Gates was all to pleased to give me such a huge gift).

Lately, Mr Gates has extended his gift. He found his idiot.

See the picture.

That blocking of the internet will dissapear, eventually.

As an optimist, I hope there is a limit to stupidity i Finland too.

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Google censors the web page too

It appears that google.com (.fi) has started to censor this web page also. Helping the Finnish government is repressing the freedom of speech.

This can be confirmed by this google.fi search.

http://www.google.fi/search?q=+%22lapsiporno.info%22&hl=en&lr=lang_en&as_qdr=all&start=90&sa=N

"In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at ChillingEffects.org."

Google is obviously is clueless. They just take the legal claims without checking them at all.

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Slight correction & comment

...

>That's because it requires Finnish internet service providers (ISPs) to block

...

Actually, according to the HS story on the subject the blocking is voluntary: some ISPs use the list and block the sites on it and some do not.

As I understand it, the law just specifies that such a list is to be compiled based on verified complaints to the police, provided to ISPs (and kept secret, probably because publishing a list of child porn sites by the government is considered questionable).

At the time the law was passed I for one considered it problematic in principle, but thought that there would not be much of a practical problem as I and most other Finns hold the police (including the "KRP" = "NBI") in high respect. Sadly it seems that this trust was misplaced; indeed, I now consider that setting up a government censorship infrastructure for whatever reason is a bad idea; KRP had its change to demonstrate otherwise but botched it.

In fairness to the government and the KRP it should be considered that it seems that the implementation of the measure placed this trust on a single individual who apparently was not up to the task. Then again, this can be seen as just another mistake, and the government is, of course, ultimately responsible for passing a law that allowed this.

It is interesting to see what sort of career development is in store for this fellow.

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@Ian

Nice flamebait.

How exactly did "Nazi tendencies" rub off the Germans to leave such a lasting mark on Finnish culture? Is Nazism a contagious virus? Now how should one cleanse oneself from this nasty infection? Dance naked around an effigy of Thatcher?

By your logic Brits must have deep communist tendencies as they were allied with the Soviets and never "really" fought them despite the Cold War.

Finns actually fought the Germans in WW2, so you even got your facts wrong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapland_War

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@ Maty

Absolutely, the general public won't listen to any reason whatsoever at the mere mention of something "close to their heart". It's so much more pleasant to let your primitive emotions run riot. I would suspect that the argument for censorship of this kind would go along the lines of "so obviously you want paedophiles to distribute their wares freely??" Sigh.

I do think that actual sites that have been verified to contain any kind of genuinely coercive sex should be blocked for the simple reason that it stops the exploitation of the victim.

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Linking is not OK?

"He said the list includes sites with content that meets the definition of child pornography, including those with links that lead to such pages."

Then bye bye any page with any links on it. They may be found to link to some page that might link to another that hosts child porn.

And let's not talk about Google et al...

That's really not understanding how the interweb thingie works....

MC

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Damned if you do...

"placed this trust on a single individual who apparently was not up to the task"

I wouldn't want to do this job for all the money in Larry Ellison's bank accounts.

If you block innocent sites, the EFF will tear a strip out of your hide. But if you miss just *one* site, which somehow gets implicated in some ghastly crime, the hysterical public will lynch you.

It's the same problem with the US or UK sexual offenses list. There, the local cops err on the side of "caution", i.e. putting people on the register for petty crimes like urinating in public. Better to ruin somebody's life than run the risk of losing your job to an incensed public, of course!

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Sweden

Sweden has an identical scheme and currently blocks some 4700 sites. The list is classified and this remains a secret. Just as with the Finnish list, it contains gay, lolicon, adult and other non-sexual sites. Most famous is the Korean Bonsai Tree Growers Cooperation:

http://www.koreabonsai.com/en/frame.html

Stupidity...

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Anonymous Coward

Nazi Finland???

People suggesting that Finland is a population of Nazi lovers really, and I mean really need to read a book. The relationship that Finland has with Russia has nothing to do with the Nazis and everything to do with Russia. Comments like;

"it would be naive to not realise that some of the unfortunate traits produced by the Nazis have remained in the country"

smacks of enormous ignorance and total lack of awareness and logic. Finland is one of the most liberal countries in the world, it has a fantastic culture and making connections like this is terribly insulting to those people and absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this article.

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Unhappy

@Togneri

"In this day and age there's no such thing as "accidentally" viewing porn Er, no. Much of the billions of spam emails will links to goodness knows what. Yes yes, you shouldn't click on unknown links. Not everyone is a computer security genius.

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Godwin's Law

Must apply once or twice in this thread.

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Great, now we know waht to look forward to.

Now we in the UK can look to Finland to tell us what our internet access will be like after the anti-terror blocking is put in place.

"Vote Fascist for a third glorious decade of total law enforcement."

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Silver badge

Block the bad pron

... but only if you are sure it's bad stuff. If there is a nice and well-vetted list, go ahead and block the sites linking to the baddies. Now there is another well-vetted list you could use to block all sites linking to those ...

The intenets wil become the series of (empty) tubes they were meant to be

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xjy
Dead Vulture

Finland

Finland had a revolution and civil war in 1918, after gaining its independence from Russian dominion (a Grand Duchy of sorts under the Tsarist regime) in late 1917 thanks to Bolshevik (Lenin and Trotsky, not Stalin) support for national autonomy. The idiot bourgeoisie tried desperately to coopt a German princeling as monarch, but the German Empire/monarchy collapsed so the brave new Finns had to make do with a Republic.

In the civil war the Reds (urban workers) lost cos the Whites (mainly bourgeois and middle and rich peasant farmers) had more guns and got lots of support including men and officers from reactionary Swedes and Germans. The Bolshevik Russians had too much on their own plate to provide corresponding support to the Reds.

All this meant (once the kangaroo courts, revenge slaughter and concentration camps faded a bit) that inter-war Finland was a sorry reactionary mess. And that the state apparatus was solidly against the workers and egalitarianism etc. So it's no surprise that the White Finns leapt into Hitler's arms against the Red (and now Stalinist) Soviet Russians. The wartime flag of the Finns had its blue and white with a Swastika in a circle. It was everywhere. Worker soldiers had the official enemy in front of them (the Soviets) and the unofficial class enemy behind them - the White officers. Nowhere to turn.

The Finns didn't chase the Germans out of Finland - they tried to keep up with them as they fled north and burnt everything (including the whole of Rovaniemi, on the Arctic Circle).

After the war the old pro-Nazi regime was thoroughly discredited and lots of pro-Soviet personalities were rehabilitated (read up on Hella Wuolijoki, for instance). More reading on this fascinating pre-war and war period: Olavi Paavolainen: Synkkä yksinpuhelu [Dark monologue] war diary from 41-44, only in Finnish! Paavo Linna: Unknown Soldier, and the Pole Star trilogy (Under the North Star etc) cf http://dbgw.finlit.fi/fili/kaan_tulos.php.

Finland is in other words a quite different kettle of fish from the other Nordic countries in a lot of respects, although steeped in Swedish tradition after centuries of SwedenFinland being a single nation (till 1809). Hugely independent cultural sense of identity that saved it from being ground to dust between the millstones of Sweden as a Great Power and Russia ditto.

But don't deny the Nazi ties! I've got a war souvenir at home made by a Finnish soldier, a worker, on the northern front. An uncle-in-law. A sword/bayonet sheath made from the aluminium of a shotdown Russian plane. Dated 41 42 then fading and dispirited to 43 and 44 as the bloody war never ended. Swastika clear as day in the Finnish flag he punched over the dates.

I love Finland and the Finns, but hate the black reaction grounded in the White tradition. A reaction that's alive and well and full of poison still under plenty of stones in the police and military.

And don't get me started on Sweden and Stalingrad and the Second World War!!

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Bob
Black Helicopters

Already exists in the UK

The unelected and unaccountable Internet Watch Foundation (www.iwf.org.uk) already runs "Project Cleanfeed", a database of "potentially" illegal sites used by all major UK ISPs. Parliamentary questions indicate its use may be legislatively required in future, and ISTR hearing talk of its use to prevent access to extremist sites.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ian

You are quite off the mark there with your Nazi comment as others have already pointed out.

The reason it is hardly surprising is because my experience is that Finns are very accepting of government regulation of all sorts. They seem to trust their government a lot more than other countries I have been.

They have no qualms about each person having an id which is linked to all your details, tax, health, etc. This is quite opposite to the UK for example where there is lots of opposition to any id card. Eg. The Finnish police can stop you there, type in your id, and fine you based on salary on the spot.

Cheers,

EF

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(Written by Reg staff)

This message censored

Just to let you know, anyone complaining of comment censorship in this thread is being censored for no good reason at all.

Heh.

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@Sarah Bee

So it was you then?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Sarah Bee

It wasn't me, actually, but I couldn't resist it.

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Joke

Re: Re: @Sarah Bee

I, for one, welcome our Reg comment censoring overlords.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: @Sarah Bee

Damn right.

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@xjy

Xjy, your comment had quite lot of reddish slant and contained some inaccuracies and misallegiations. Let me try to correct some of them.

The war of 1918 was a regrettable affair and I do not defend the White actions during or after the war, especially the handling of POWs. It should be remembered that both sides committed atrocities to civilian population. The inter-war period wasn't all that democratic either.

However, you failed to mention that Finland was neutral up until Soviet Union initiated the Winter War. Finland was even allied with the UK during the war, and a British plan to help the Finnish war effort was underway when the war ceased (for a while).

The swastika used by the Finns up until 1944 in military insignia was not adopted from Germany. In fact, the Finnish use *predates* the use by NSDAP by two years -- check Wikipedia on this topic if you don't believe me, or check the sources cited by Wikipedia in case you don't believe the WP article either.

Finland came more and more dependent on Germany during the interim peace - e.g. grain was sold by Germany to Finland to keep the population from starving. Nowhere else to get it, Europe being in the sorry state of war. Finland did start a war of aggression against the Soviet Union to regain territories lost in Winter War. The front was pushed further than at the old frontier to obtain a more defendable line. However, despite requests from German military high command, Finnish military forces did not participate in the siege of Leningrad.

I don't know where you pulled out the story of Finns not chasing Germans out -- how would you explain the fact that Finns made a beachhead behind enemy lines at Kemi to hurry them along?

So yes, Finland had some Nazi ties out of necessity - it was either that or be overrun by the Soviet Union. Judging by the fate of e.g. the Baltic republics, that was far better choice for every Finn.

For some reason you misquote Väinö Linna's first name as Paavo... both of the novels you mentioned are excellent reads, and the Unknown Soldier and the first part of Under the Pole Star were mandatory reading in school. Both excellent literary works and educating history-wise.

And to stay even nominally on topic, this censorship business is just plain wrong. My ISP (nor my university) do not use the filters, but the whole thing just plain sucks. However, the issue is now starting to penetrate the consciousness of the general public, and I have a glimmer of hope that something good might (just might) happen. Call me an optimist if you will...

Oh, did I rant? Sorry. Mine's the black wool coat, 13th counting from right... thanks.

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@xjy revisited

Lies.

Prewar Finland "state apparatus was solidly against the workers and egalitarianism etc".

In fact reconciliation started before the Winter War. The war further cemented national unity while fighting a common enemy.

Just look at the history of Finnish election results and try to convince me Finland has Fascist leanings. The Social Democratic party was the biggest party in 21 consequtive parliamentary elections starting 1907 through 1958, including before and after the civil war: 1917, 1919 and 1922

http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduskuntavaalit_1917

http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduskuntavaalit_1919

http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduskuntavaalit_1922

In 1958 it was marginally overtaken by a MORE leftist party, the communist party.

"The wartime flag of the Finns had its blue and white with a Swastika in a circle. It was everywhere. "

More lies. I challange you to show me a *Finnish flag* with a swastika in it. The airforce insignia had a swastika, but as mentioned earlier it predated the NSDAP in Germany.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Finland

You are really trying hard to shoehorn history into your one dimentional world view. Try to broaden it. This advice from the reddish-green dept.

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Happy

The Svastika or what ever

It is like some forget how jung and short lived the Nazi period was.

The Finnish "svastika" was turned the other way compared to the later Nazi one.

This is all like saying that the red color is communistic, for ever, just because of a rather short (and much too long) period in history.

And as far as nazis are conserned I think I read about some royal person in England who met some Americal actress or something.

Now lets stop this.

In wartime Europe there was only two capital cities that where not occupied, that is London and Helsinki.

Finns are very proud about it, and I think the British are too for their part.

Regards, so long.

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OpenDNS

OK, from a brit in Oulu, Finland

Back to the topic. Nope, using OpenDNS don't fix it. I just tried with reconfiguring to 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220. Still get redirected to the "POLIISI" page, even when trying the "Computer Repair shop" linked in the article.

OK, onto the rants. Yep, in Oulu museum in Ainola park there's a military exhibition. Loads of medals on display. Most have a 'swastika' in them - except rather than the Nazi one, it's not rotated 45 degrees. As I understand, it's the Lappish Cross. Predates the swastika. India has similar, far older.

It's like the one in this piccie. of the "Variant" flag:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7b/Presidential_Standard_of_Finland.svg/182px-Presidential_Standard_of_Finland.svg.png

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