All posts filed under: free speech

Lift the ban on communications! Free Julian Assange!

by James Coga, via WSWS June 6 will mark 10 weeks since the Ecuadorian government blocked all communication by WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange with the outside world, including personal visitors. Assange has been trapped inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, when Quito granted him asylum in the face of a legal witch-hunt by the governments of the United States, Britain and Sweden. Britain was moving to extradite Assange to Sweden on trumped-up allegations of sexual abuse as the first step in transferring him to the US to face charges of espionage, which carry a possible death sentence. Washington had vowed to punish Assange for having exposed before the world war crimes committed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as US intrigues against other countries. In remarks last Wednesday, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno attempted to defend the silencing of Assange. He sought to deny—unconvincingly—that this action was the outcome of his government’s capitulation to pressure and threats by the United States. Moreno put forward an Orwellian conception of freedom of speech …

Propornot 2 — Setting Up the Atlantic Council for Lawsuits

by George H. Elias, Donbass Early in 2018, I pulled back the veil Propornot hid behind and disclosed the groups behind the smear site.  Propornot is a product of the Atlantic Council’s backers.  It is a symptom of the ongoing Information War.  People in the groups behind it are waging to destroy Press Freedom in the US by branding dissenting voices as objects of ridicule at best and enemies of the state at the worst. Below, you’ll see the results of yet another website scan, as well as circumstantial evidence showing the InterpreterMag and the Atlantic Council, are responsible for Propornot. The lawsuits are starting and because of the damage Propornot’s lists have done, will trickle down to the InterpreterMag staff,  the Atlantic Council, and their backers at some point. For those that don’t know, the Atlantic Council is brought to you by the Central and Eastern European Coalition (CEEC), the Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America (UCCA), and the Ukrainian World Congress(UWC). Between these three organizations, there is a constituency of 20 million voting ultranationalist …

Media on Trial event banned

Media on Trial has released the following statement: Today, on World Press Freedom Day, Leeds City Museum, a city council owned and operated venue, cancelled the Media on Trial’s booking for the event we had planned for 27 May. The fact that the event was cancelled is perhaps bad enough. What became clear as the day has progressed, though, is that Leeds City Museum appear to have informed the press and media of the cancellation before they informed Media on Trial organisers. Indeed they waited for the Media on Trial representative to arrive at the venue for a planned meeting following a four hour train journey before giving us the news. They seem to have taken this decision on the basis of misinformed assumptions about the content of the event, and offered no right of reply to Media on Trial. Leeds City Museum has cancelled an event that threatened mainstream media and UK Government narratives that have enabled another regime change war to be waged against Syria, financed by British taxpayers contributions. The cancellation of …

The Death of Academic Freedom: Professor James Tracy Denied First Amendment Rights by Federal Court

by Vivian Lee James Tracy, former tenured professor at Florida Atlantic University, rose to some notoriety after his website, The Memory Hole Blog, began exploring claims being made in various quarters that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a fake event in which no children died. Although Tracy himself never specifically endorsed this view his website was effectively shut down in 2015 and, shortly after, he was dismissed from his post at the university. Since then he has been fighting for his reinstatement. This month he lost his legal battle On December 11, 2017, in a serious miscarriage of justice, a jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled unanimously in favor of Florida Atlantic University and against former Media Studies Professor James Tracy, who was suing for reinstatement after his firing in 2016. jury found that Tracy’s “controversial” articles on Memory Hole Blog were not a “motivating factor” in his firing, the only question they were required to consider. Of course, Tracy’s posts at “his conspiracy theory blog” were indeed the reason he was fired, …

Google hiring 10,000 reviewers to censor YouTube content

by Zaida Green, via WSWS Google is escalating its campaign of internet censorship, announcing that it will expand its workforce of human censors to over 10,000, the internet giant announced on December 4. The censors’ primary focus will be videos and other content on YouTube, its video-sharing platform, but will work across Google to censor content and train its automated systems, which remove videos at a rate four times faster than its human employees. Human censors have already reviewed over 2 million videos since June. YouTube has already removed over 150,000 videos, 50 percent of which were removed within two hours of upload. The company is working to accelerate the rate of takedown through machine-learning from manual censorship, according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in an official blog post. The hiring drive by Google is yet another advance in the campaign against any expression of political opposition. Other social media giants have implemented measures against “fake news”; Facebook has altered its algorithms to reduce the visibility of certain news stories, and Twitter has banned the Russian-funded media …

Is net neutrality a scam?

by James Corbett at the International Forecaster In this article from March 2015, James Corbett suggests net neutrality, while fine in principle, has been used as a cover for covert control of the internet. For a different perspective see here Everything is marketing. Observe: Want to overturn basic protections from unlawful government searches and seizures? Just write some new laws and bundle them up in something called the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.” The media will universally and unquestioningly refer to it as the USA PATRIOT Act and you can paint any would-be detractors as disloyal terrorists. Bingo. Done. Want to do damage control after the illegal surveillance activities of your National Security Agency have been revealed to the general public? Simple. Get some of the agency’s biggest critics in the House to forward a bill that promises to protect everyone from the illegal surveillance. Call it the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring Act” …

Protests Planned Nationwide as Vote on FCC’s ‘Catastrophic’ Plan to Kill Net Neutrality Looms

by Jake Johnson, from CommonDreams.org With the FCC set to vote on chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to kill neutrality in just over a week, a diverse coalition — ranging from consumer protection organizations to progressive lawmakers to Harvard professors — is denouncing the FCC’s proposals and scheduling nationwide protests to combat the agency’s move to let massive telecom companies “cash in on the internet” at the expense of consumers. Ajit Pai may be owned by Verizon, but he has to answer to Congress, and lawmakers have to answer to us, their constituents.”Evan Greer, Fight for the Future This is the free speech fight of our generation and internet users are pissed off and paying attention,” Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said in a statement. “Ajit Pai may be owned by Verizon, but he has to answer to Congress, and lawmakers have to answer to us, their constituents.” Since Pai revealed his plan to gut net neutrality rules just before Thanksgiving, public outrage has continued to grow—even as corporate media outlets have …

Google’s New Search Engine Bias is No Accident

by Jonathan Cook, October 1, 2017, via Dissident Voice Alternet has gone public with concerns about the way Google and Facebook have limited traffic to its website and, more generally, undermined access to progressive and independent media. Its traffic from web searches has dropped precipitously – by 40 per cent – since Google introduced new algorithms in the summer. Other big progressive sites have reported similar, or worse, falls. More anecdotally, and less significantly, I have noticed on both my own website and Facebook page a sharp drop in views and shares in recent weeks. Alternet is appealing for financial help, justifiably afraid that the drop in traffic will impact its revenues and threaten its future. Nonetheless, there is something deeply misguided, even dangerous, about its description of what is happening. Here is how its executive editor, Don Hazen, describes Alternet’s problems: Little did we know that Google had decided, perhaps with bad advice or wrong-headed thinking, that media like AlterNet—dedicated to fighting white supremacy, misogyny, racism, Donald Trump, and fake news—would be clobbered by Google …

US Left, You Have Been Duped

by Richard Hugus, via Dissident Voice On August 19, a week after a heavily publicized clash over a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, an estimated 8,000 people converged on Boston Common to protest a speaking event organized by a group calling itself the Boston Free Speech Movement. Who are the Boston Free Speech Movement and what do they stand for? We’ll never know because antifascists, leftists, anti-racists, and progressives of Boston prevented them from even speaking. Some might say this was a good thing — no one wants to hear from bigots (if that’s who they were) — but, in fact, the left in all its self-righteousness was duped into an assault on the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees the right of free speech, for everyone. The left have been the pawns of much more powerful forces who, if they aren’t organizing these news events and provocations outright, are certainly happy to see precedents set for publicly shutting down free speech by the use of force. First it will …

Why is the media promoting Antifa?

by Gabriel Black, for WSWS Over the past week, the anarchist affiliation Antifa (“Anti-fascist”) has received widespread and favorable coverage in the establishment media. On August 18, the New York Times, the main newspaper voice for the Democratic Party, published a major front-page feature article, “Antifa Grows as Left-Wing Faction Set to, Literally, Fight the Far Right.” The piece, written by Thomas Fuller, Alan Feuer, and Serge F. Kovaleski, showcased the views of the movement with interviews of its members. The article presents Antifa as a serious force for fighting fascism, all but inviting readers to sign up. “Unlike most of the counterdemonstrators in Charlottesville and elsewhere,” the Times reports, “members of Antifa have shown no qualms about using their fists, sticks or canisters of pepper spray to meet an array of right-wing antagonists whom they call a fascist threat to American democracy.” The newspaper interviewed several members of the affiliation, who, the Timesstates, believe “the ascendant new right in the country requires a physical response.” The quotes are all presented favorably, including one from a self-identified member of …

Charlottesville 2

by Paul Craig Roberts, August 16, 2017 What the liberal/progressive/left is trying to do with Charlottesville is to associate Trump supporters with White Supremacists and in this way demonize Trump supporters so that they will not have a voice when Trump is overthrown in a coup. Or it can be put in a different way: Charlottesville is being used by someone to discredit Trump and the people who elected him in order to pave the way for a coup, and the liberal/progressive/left is enabling the plot. Upon reflection, I think that for most of the liberal/progressive/left the denunciations and one-sided interpretation of Charlottesville are just the ingrained knee-jerk reaction of people brought up in Identity Politics.  In Identity Politics, everyone is a White Hat except racist, sexist, homophobic, gun-nut white males. The only tolerable white males are those who accept this characterization of themselves. All others are “white supremacists” or “nazis.” From what I read on progressive websites, those imbued with Identity Politics are letting the emotionalism of the politics run away with them. My …

How Jeremy Hammond Missed the Bigger Picture on Cyberterrorism

by Carla, therightsideoftruth.com For years, cyberterrorism has been on the periphery of our vision. While most know what the phrase means, the alarm surrounding the issue is minimal. On the other hand, freedom of speech and the right to an uncensored internet has become an increasingly common rhetoric in most alternative media channels. Guardian writer, Jeremy Hammond, spearheaded this exact opinion in an article last year. After Sony had fallen victim to North Korea-based hackers, he presented a view that shunned any repercussive fear. His theory: government officials are exaggerating the threat for their own financial gain. As is common in the MSM, his article grossly oversimplifies the topic. Cyberterrorism vs. Cybercrime Before even discussing the potential threat, it’s important to correctly identify what we mean by cyberterrorism, as opposed to cybercrime. Hammond, clearly unable to make the distinction, stated: Despite the apocalyptic hype, the Sony hack was not fundamentally different from any other high-profile breach in recent years.” While it is true the Sony hack presented itself like many other well-known infiltrations, the essential …

Online Freedom: Are We Past the Point of No Return?

by Carla, therightsideoftruth.com, via The Sleuth Journal Internet freedom is on the decline. It has been ever since companies began centralizing control over where users congregate, and things have only gotten worse with ever increasing government intervention. Some might see said claims as alarmist and will say things aren’t “that bad,” citing dictatorships such as North Korea as examples of true restriction of internet freedom. But this comparison doesn’t do justice to the extent to which online freedom is being limited. Truly, the enemy is among us, and it has been for quite some time. Self-interested organizations including big record companies, movie studios and even the government have been slowing chipping away at individual freedom as they fear losing control over the economy and the people. Beyond that, government organizations continue to tighten their grip as internet freedom threatens the status quo. The real question we need to be asking, though, is this: Are we past the point of no return? The Patriot Act In the West, specifically in the US, the first serious threat …

Google now threatening Alt-News web-sites

Eric Zuesse I just happened to notice at one of my publishers, RINF, “Google’s Censorship Of Independent News – Rinf Becomes Latest Victim”, and the owner, Mick Meaney, described Google’s threat to him if he didn’t remove a news-article that was critical of the Israeli government. He promptly removed it. He continued: Then the next day, as I expected, I received another email telling me to delete a second article. This time it was an article about Donald Trump, written by Eric Zuesse.” He’s in a predicament: My choice is now; let Google dictate what information is acceptable, or significantly reduce the amount of time I spend devoted to RINF.” I used to be published at places such as Huffington Post, Salon, and Common Dreams, but the number of sites that are willing to publish me has gradually reduced as more and more of my articles came to expose the operations that control the U.S. federal government. None of those publishers explained to me why they were dropping me. But now I understand. And Google …

Google employs army of censors “quality raters” to combat horrid things on the web

It seems the unofficial Minitrue we predicted in yesterday’s piece is already here. Google’s “Quality raters” will, from Tuesday, be combing the net with fresh vigour looking for “upsetting-offensive” things and making sure we never get to see them. The article in the Guardian covering this new development highlights its use against the usual suspect – “Holocaust denial”, which is of course the thinnest and most entirely acceptable end of the wedge. The one they always use as a poster child for censorship of any kind. But we would have to be cosmically naive to believe Google’s anonymous and entirely unaccountable “10,000-strong army of independent contractors” will stop there. We should also remain a little sceptical about Google’s vaguely worded claim that these new guidelines will not effectively remove certain opinions from the web. The only way the quality control can work is through promoting some sites while suppressing others. We might not be concerned when white supremacists sites are being targeted for such suppression, but what about alternative health sites? Truther sites? Or indeed …

is Europhysics News announcing it will censor science papers on political grounds? – follow up to Jones et al

A few months back, Europhysics News, the science journal that published the new study “On the Physics of High Rise Building Collapse”, by Jones et al (republished here on OffG), published an interesting range of follow up letters to the editor. Less widely publicised has been an announcement in the same edition from its editors that reads like a declaration of political censorship. The small collection of “letters to the editor” published in a recent edition of Europhysics News as a follow-up to the Jones et al paper “On the Physics of High Rise Building Collapse” is revelatory on several levels. Not only for the range of views expressed, but also, and perhaps most significantly, as a statement on the level of censorship and self-censorhip currently deemed acceptable in academia. The letter that received most attention in the alt media is from a “member of the NIST technical staff during the period 1997 – 2011,” and alleging “the more I investigated, the more apparent it became that NIST had reached a predetermined conclusion by ignoring, …

In a society of “believers” & “deniers” we all become Inquisitors

The “collision of opinion” so endorsed by enlightenment thinkers, is not currently encouraged. If someone says something stupid or blatantly false our first response is no longer to try to prove them wrong – it’s to silence them. To quote Jonathan Pie we focus on “stopping debates instead of winning them.”

CLOUD and climate change: an opinion or two

by Norman Pilon As a person who is neither a scientist nor well-versed in the minutia of climatology, it is interesting to survey the field of contentions over AGW, but in particular, how, on the one hand, the IPCC (sold to the public as a body of bona fide climate scientists solidly united in a singular consensus) publicly professes 95% certainty on the issue of AGW, while, on the other hand, measured observations and disagreements between highly credentialed climatologists belie both the professed ‘certitude’ of and the ‘consensus’ over ‘anthropogenic global warming.’ The imputations of deviousness leveled by the faithful of either side of the debate against the blasphemies of the other are also interesting: those who either deny or question AGW are accused of being in league with Big Oil or other such business interests. And those who ardently affirm the AGW hypothesis are accused of being extortionists who understand how to use fear to exact funds from terrified publics. Each side is right and each side is wrong, of course: some who deny …

King Coal and the Nuclear Heartland, Hand in Hand in Cumbria

by Marianne Birkby at Radiation Free Lakeland The “nuclear heartland” is how Cumbria, home to Sellafield, the nuclear industry’s rear end is described. Cumbrians are told that new nuclear is ‘necessary to combat climate change’ even if that means tens of billions of tax payers money. Because the nuclear industry is “low carbon” (it isn’t). At the same time, Cumbrians are urged to welcome the reopening of the Whitehaven coalmine ‘ to produce steel for wind turbines.’ Radiation Free Lakeland, a local nuclear safety group are raising the alarm “Any deep mining in the vicinity of Sellafield should be forfeit, any plan which has the potential to increase seismic activity in the Sellafield area is reckless beyond belief. We hope others will voice their opposition” Is Cumbria Being Frogmarched into Nuclear AND Coal? The plan to reopen the Whitehaven coal mine under the Irish Sea has been rumbling along for a few years with no raised eyebrows. Why are alarm bells not ringing out loud and clear? This nasty plan will go before Cumbria County …

The decline of the American Left in 2 pictures

UC Berkeley has a proud tradition as centre of protest and speaking truth to power. In the early to mid sixties the campus was the site of a string of protests. Civil Rights marches supporting the Black Americans’ right to vote, anti-Vietnam and pro-peace protests, and the FSM. That’s the Free Speech Movement. Here is a photo of one of their protests: And, in one of life’s tragic ironies, here is an anti-Trump protester at a campus clash with a pro-Trump rally yesterday: These are people who, notionally, stand for “love not hate”, who “go high when they go low”. Are they truly the spiritual successors to MLK or RFK? Do they see themselves as such? This is how far the left, and political discourse in general, have fallen in America. This article is published in our “questions of free speech” section. If you would like to submit an article on the subject of campus censorship please send it to submissions@off-guardian.org with the subject line “free speech:campus censorship”.