Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Seppo Lehto Goes to Prison

Seppo LehtoLast March I posted a video from the Finnish bad boy and self-promoter Seppo Lehto. As was pointed out by several commenters at the time, Mr. Lehto is not the most appealing poster child for freedom of expression.

Unfortunately, one can’t choose only the most noble and upstanding people as defendants in civil liberties cases. When it comes to the suppression of free speech, authorities are more likely to pick off the stragglers — the unpopular, unpleasant, and unattractive media personalities who inhabit the fringes of public discourse.

Seppo Lehto is one such character, and now he has just been convicted and sentenced for inciting ethnic hatred. He will spend more than two years in prison for posting his noxious opinions on his blog.

In many ways, Finland is leading the way in the repression of free speech. Britain generates more cases, but the Finns have been prosecuting theirs more effectively and imposing harsher punishments.

Vasarahammer reports the news in English on his blog:

Notorious hatemonger and self-styled historian Seppo Lehto was sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment in Tampere District Court Thursday 30th of May 2008. Lehto was charged with nine counts of gross defamation, inciting ethnic hatred and inciting religious hatred. Lehto had previously served a suspended sentence for defamation and was under probation, which means that his three month sentence will become mandatory. The total mandatory sentence will be two years and four months, which is by far the harshest sentence ever for a “Freedom of Speech crime” in Finnish legal history. The full verdict can be read in Finnish here.

Outside Finland Lehto is perhaps best known from his Youtube video, in which he draws a cartoon of muslim prophet Muhammad. The video was withdrawn from Youtube but has later been republished there as well as in other online video sites. However, in his home country he has become notorious for his numerous ‘filth blogs’ containing explicit racist insults illustrated with manipulated pornographic images and Patrioottiradio podcast radio site, which he used to hurl racist insults to politicians, civil servants and members of ethnic and religious minorities.

Go over to Vasarahammer’s post to read more details about Seppo Lehto and the case against him. I’ll just include a portion of Vasarahammer’s final summary:
- - - - - - - - -
Lehto has been an Finland’s number one internet pest for years and it is very hard to feel sympathy for him based on the content of his numerous filth blogs. It is possible that he is the main reason behind former Minority Ombudsman Mikko Puumalainen’s jihad against racism in the internet and Mika Illman’s aggressive prosecution in cases involving the internet. Conviction of Lehto is perhaps Illman’s biggest coup to date and has provoked cheers from members of Finnish political elite. Former Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja expressed his satisfaction about the verdict in his website.

What has made some people, including me, suspicious, is the fact that he managed to include the charge of ethnic and religious hatred in the trial. Last time anybody was convicted of insulting religious feelings (blasphemy) in Finland was during the 1960’s. Artist Harro Koskinen’s painting Sikamessias (Pig Messiah) was considered to be blapshemous and the artist was force to pay a fine for the offence. The successful conviction of Lehto for inciting religious hatred may lead to prosecution of other bloggers publishing material deemed offensive to muslims.

As far as I know this was the first time anybody was convicted for insulting muslim religious feelings in Finland.

Repression is appearing all over Europe like the skim of ice on a cold pond. A few small patches form simultaneously in different places, and then enlarge and spread until the whole surface is frozen solid.

There are too many cases now for me to list them all. Until recently I tried to keep track — Paul Belien, Dahn Pettersson, Mikko Ellilä, Lionheart, Codie Stott, and others — but the numbers have become too great. In Britain alone there so many examples of repression that monitoring them is a full time job.

The lights are definitely going out all over Europe.

24 comments:

Ypp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ypp said...

Now Finland has its political prisoner. It changes a lot. The regime started the war and everyone has to choose on which side he is.

Zenster said...

Unfortunately, one can’t choose only the most noble and upstanding people as defendants in civil liberties cases.

And that's where the ACLU comes from!

But seriously, folks. What we're talking about here is morality. Yes, it's immoral to be racist. Does that, in and of itself, make it a crime to be racist?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Is it a crime to apply that racist mentality in your personal dealings?

Probably not.

Is it a crime to apply that racist mentality in your commercial dealings?

Most likely and for a host of damn good reasons.

All of this centers upon the basic concept that:

YOU CANNOT LEGISLATE MORALITY.

I'm not referring to enforcing the social contract's more basic elements. That—more properly—extends into the sphere of ethics and essential public safety, something we could call "traffic light" laws. The carnage that would ensue from mass disregard for traffic lights is a prime example of how crucial it is to properly entrench social cohesion. EVERYONE is better off if such “traffic light” rules are obeyed.

So it is with significant ethical issues. I'll refrain from going off topic in dealing with why taqiyya represents an ultimate ethical crime, but you know it's lurking in the background of this discussion. Still, the fact remains that public censure or boycott constitutes a more appropriate avenue of penalizing immoral behavior than crafting contorted and subjective legalistic prohibitions for what—at day’s end—are often nebulous offenses. Again, one need only look at Islam’s blanket punishment of even the most minuscule doctrinal transgressions to get an idea of where this is heading.

People have a right to be racist, bigoted, perverted and almost any other form of objectionable behavior that you can imagine. So long as it does not impinge upon the liberties of others, they can have at it to their heart’s delight. However, the millisecond it does enfringe, things should rightfully change.

I've not seen all of Seppo Lehto's offensive drivel, but I can tell you that obtaining legal protection should not be a moralistic beauty contest. Much as how GoV’s own publication of El Inglés's speculations proved so unpopular, it still should not be adequate cause for criminal prosecution.

A prime example of this is the American Nazi Party’s continued existence. It is difficult to imagine a better test for Freedom of Speech's borders. Due to persistent Nazi advocacy of genocide, I have many of my own personal trepidations regarding their right to Free Speech. However, I'd rather live in a society that protected unpopular ideas than one that clearly did not.

Consider for one moment how Einstein's original publications about quantum mechanics were so ill received by the existing scientific community. If all new constructs were subjected to a legalistic "popularity contest", many fringe ideas of actual merit might not see daylight. Burt Rutan’s technological contest with NASA is another prime example.

This does not entirely dismiss the proper imposition of democratically enforced popularity with respect to expression and practices, but all of us know that even ostensibly administered democracy still can be perverted over to the very worst ends. As examples, I give you the Palestinians’ democratic election of their Hamas terrorist government and Iraq’s voluntary, popular re-adoption of repressive shari’a law.

To come full circle, either we tolerate a vast number of offensive views or we channel public discourse into an overly “sanitized”, Politically Correct and unwholesomely sterile landscape of conformist ideas. In closing, I submit that in no way does this liberal notion create sufficient latitude for Islam’s perpetual and ongoing crimes against humanity, but such Freedom of Speech still must allow for expression of marginal and borderline issues so that they may be correctly subjected to free society’s gauntlet of acceptable qualification.

This does not seem to have happened in the case of Seppo Lehto and that sets off more than a few warning klaxons. I hope it did so for you as well.

Darrin said...

Its the thin edge of the wedge. Start with a soft target - a person who has marginal views - and work your way up the food chain. Where will it stop? Who will it stop with?

Saharians said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
latté island said...

Would it be possible for someone who has seen Lehto's most offensive work to give a sanitized description here? The reason this is important is, the pig cartoons don't seem offensive at all, and merely reading here that he uses pornographic images and racist insults against politicians doesn't get me too worked up either. So, it would help me understand the issue if I could know the worst, in detail. One or two descriptions would help.

Is he something like Hustler publisher Larry Flynt? I don't have a problem with that stuff being out there. If anyone is personally hurt by being the target, they can always sue like Jerry Falwell did. I don't see any point in calling the cops on rude people. Is Lehto worse than Larry Flynt?

It's important for everyone to know exactly what Lehto has done, because I don't even want to react otherwise. I've spent many frustrating hours reading the comments at LGF, in which intelligent and decent people work themselves up over second-hand reports that aren't even true.

Regardless of how awful Lehto may be, I absolutely support his free speech. But the other issue is, can we really be sure he's awful, based on what we're told? I'd believe someone here who described his work in detail, but I'm wary of having an opinion based on his work being vaguely characterized as racist, pornographic, etc. I mean, some of the folks at LGF think I'm anti-semitic because someone said so and they all took it up. LOL. So anyone who hangs out on the internet has to be careful about how they react to hearsay.

Profitsbeard said...

If jackasses are considered as criminal and jailworthy as rapists, thieves, and murderers, the use of prisons has become too casual and the sense of liberty of thought too atrophied.

The answer to crass idiocy is intelligence, not repression.

TEUVO YRJÖMÄKI said...
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Vasarahammer said...

Lehto's insults in his filth blogs represent the lowest of all possible lows in public discussion. Therefore it is not necessarily appropriate to publish translations of his posts here.

Lehto's texts are sexually explicit and openly racist.

latté island said...

teuvo yrjomaki, thanks for the link. You've convinced me, Lehto is definitely not someone I'd have a beer with. But, if you're online now, would you mind amending your previous post and taking out the obviously bad words? I really didn't intend for that sort of thing to show up here, because this blog doesn't allow that sort of language and now I feel somewhat responsible, even though I did ask that the description be sanitized.

That said, there's no reason to send this guy to jail. The subjects of his cartoons should sue him, but the government doesn't have the right to punish people for being vulgar and obnoxious.

TEUVO YRJÖMÄKI said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TEUVO YRJÖMÄKI said...

I'd recommend you to get a life if you really get offended by seeing a couple of naughty words that are not even meant to insult anyone but to give you all an exact idea of what were speaking about. I wouldn't wish anyone to symphasize for Lehto without knowing what he's really for. Anyway, I removed the old post and here's a censored version (if there's still something that should beremoved, please let me know):


Ok, just one example to give you an idea of what Seppos "filth-blogs" are about:

http://mattivanhanen.blogspot.com/

Matti Vanhanen is the Prime Minister of Finland. Even if you don't understand Finnish, just checking through the images in the blog tells a lot (the woman in many pictures is an ex-lover of the Prime Minister who gave out a kiss-and-tell-book about their relationship after they broke up and led to a scandal and even justice process).

If the pictures are not enough, here's one free translation of the poetry of Mr. Lehto:
"Ei tule maan johtamisesta mitään kun pyörii neekeripillut pääministeri Matti Vanhasen mielessä. Suomalainen sutjakka vaaleanpunainen liha on rasismia, ympärileikattua neekerivittua se olla pitää, jotta hallituspaikka säilyy" = "The leading of the country can't come off as the n*r p*s are rolling on the mind of Prime Minister M.V. The finnish, pretty pink flesh is racism, circumcised n*r p*y is what keeps you in the government."

Even if that doesn't seem to make any sense, the translation is quite exact and the original does not make any more sense. And this was just one single example, the general grade of the stream of consciousness of Lehto is not any better. Actually this quote was still pretty mild, often Lehtos obscenities reach a level far beyond recognition.

In the trial protocols of Lehto more than 40 internet-sites by Lehto were listed and this is just the top of the mountain, the real amount of his contributions to the internet is much, much more.

latté island said...

T.Y.: Excellent! Thanks for your cooperation. I probably should've researched the subject myself anyway, but I was lazy.

Baron Bodissey said...

Saharians --

Gates of Vienna's rules about comments require that they be civil, temperate, on-topic, and show decorum. Your comment violated the second and the last of these rules. We keep a PG-13 blog, and exclude foul language, explicit descriptions, and epithets.

But this is only part of why I deleted your comment. It was also quite intemperate. Talk like that could cause Blogger to shut us down.

By "intemperate" I mean: "No exhortations to commit violence or foment insurrection, etc."

Saharians said...

My apologies, Baron, it was not my intention to get the site in trouble. I simply want to motivate patriots to hit the Multi-Cult, and its non-white foot soldiers, hard. We have seen how effective the regime is at achieving political ends through the use of the threat of violence, and actual violence. We are in a shooting war, after all, and I think it would be useful to communicate with one another, to boost morale, to share ideas, and to inspire.

Zenster said...

Just between you, me and the virtual fencepost ...

Does anyone else see a similarity here? Lionheart shines a spotlight on area law enforcement's refusal to crack down on local Muslim drug dealers and gets pulled in for hate speech proceedings.

Seppo Lehto makes some extremely nasty comments about his country's political leadership and finds himself on the other end of hate speech charges.

Something tells me that this is more about official abuse of power than any actual moral issue. The real problem is that these politicians also are contaminated by Multiculturalism and have added that to their agenda as well.

In the long run, this is more about government abuse of office to impose warped personal vision and has little or nothing to do with morality.

Ironically, these Multicultural b@stards are flooding their lands with some of the most immoral people imaginable. Islam's terrorism, misogyny and brutality make it one of the most immoral groups on earth.

Proud Infidel said...

As The Baron says, the lights are going out in Europe. We can expect the pace of prosecutions of people with opinions the EUSSR doesn't like to intensify. They will try to pin the "racial hatred or incitement" bit to any critic of the Islamic Colonization of Europe or of the Multiculturalist Reich so they can prosecute them.

Rough times are ahead for freedom of speech in Europe. And if Obama the Messiah wins the Presidency of the US, expect that kind of stuff to start happening here. Scary times ahead, folks.

Saharians said...

This indeed is scary stuff. We watch, and make pithy comments, as the situation deteriorates. Like spectators at a sports event.

I think about it another way. Personally I want the situation to deteriorate fast. The more brutal the regime is, the more incentive nationalists will have to band together and act, in unity. A real, true opposition can form. We can stop pretending that we live in a normal state, where normal rules apply.

The old morality--the morality that gets "offended" at Lehto content--will have become irrelevant.

Gregory said...

why won't the 'visual verification' word show up on a FireFox browser? I had to go to Internet explorer to see the visual verification word.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Working fine for me. Have you got adblock installed? You might have accidentally blocked something.

Tuan Jim said...

As far as a spokesperson for those convicted for "free speech" issues, Brigitte Bardot is (was) a lot easier on the eyes ;p

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

According to certain people, who I shall not name, holding unpopular opinions is enough to justify disregarding the entire free speech argument in individual cases. *rolls eyes*

Olavi Lehto said...

Total prisonery is 2 years + 4 four months + privious 3 months = 2 years 7 months

Seppo Lehto is victim of idiotic niggerism and islam influent slaves in our society

Muhammed caricaturist
Seppo Lehto Tampere
Suomi Finland

Henry Blogfeld said...

Theres some disturbing things about the sentence : usually this kind of sentence length in Finland is given for much harsher crimes, like rape or manslaughter under some circumstances.

Also the prosecutor Mika Illman choose the plaintiffs from his personal friends and politicans; ordinary citizens and less known people who were also critisized in Lehto's blogs were not accepted as plaintiffs in court.

The amount of fines is also amazing in Finnish standards. Lehto has to pay total of nearly 65,000 euros, which is average working mans 2 or 3 years salary. Usually the fine amounts are ten times less that in such court cases.

(i actually am not sure if plaintiff is the right word, by that word i mean the persons who were supposedly insulted and are in court against Lehto, seeking penalty for him)