Each day at just after midnight Eastern, a post like this one is created for contributors and readers of this site to upload news links and video links on the issues that concern this site. Most notably, Islam and its effects on Classical Civilization, and various forms of leftism from Soviet era communism, to postmodernism and all the flavours of galloping statism and totalitarianism such as Nazism and Fascism which are increasingly snuffing out the classical liberalism which created our near, miraculous civilization the West has been building since the time of Socrates.
This document was written around the time this site was created, for those who wish to understand what this site is about. And while our understanding of the world and events has grown since then, the basic ideas remain sound and true to the purpose.
So please post all links, thoughts and ideas that you feel will benefit the readers of this site to the comments under this post each day. And thank you all for your contributions.
This is the new Samizdat. We muse use it while we can.
De Niro Threatens Republicans: ‘We’re Not Gonna Forget’ You Supported Trump
Speaking in a “Hollywood Reporter in Studio” interview, actor Robert De Niro, who has repeatedly stated his hatred for President Trump, enlarged his target to include Republicans in general, threatening, “We’re not gonna forget” that they supported Trump. De Niro also warned that if the Mueller report didn’t eventually give leftists what they wanted, “There’s going to be a lot of mass demonstrations, a lot of protests.”
Read the rest of the article at
video at site
Richard: The scary thing is that there are so many people across the nation who believe the same way he does, they don’t need evidence the accusation is enough for them to want an immediate execution of who ever the Dems accuses of anything. These are the people who will start the civil wars and who will continue them despite their losing personal and public support. During the era of the Red Brigades the left lost a lot of support because of the terror attacks but this didn’t stop the left from providing support for the terrorists. History is about to repeat itself.
EU’s Collusion with Iran
by Judith Bergman
April 13, 2019 at 5:00 am
On January 31, Britain, France and Germany announced a new payment mechanism known as the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). It was designed to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, after the US left the deal in May 2018 and reinstated — as well as broadened — US sanctions on the country in November 2018. The main purpose of INSTEX is to ensure that Europe — and potentially third countries – can continue doing business with the mullahs in Iran without risking US penalties for contravening US sanctions.
“INSTEX will support legitimate European trade with Iran, focusing initially on the sectors most essential to the Iranian population — such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and agri-food goods,” the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France said in a joint statement. In the longer term, INSTEX aims to be open to other countries wanting to trade with Iran, the statement said. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, said INSTEX was “essential for the continued full implementation of the nuclear deal”.
“INSTEX will support legitimate European trade with Iran…”
Right up to the moment when Tehran lobs a nuke into that hive of unbelieving scum and villainy called the Vatican. It certainly does not help that Francis the Talking (Culturally Marxist drug) Mule is bending over
forwardsbackwards to accommodate his Islamic bumchums.
the guardian –Steve Bannon ‘told Italy’s populist leader: Pope Francis is the enemy’
Trump’s ex-strategist advised Matteo Salvini ‘to target pontiff’s stance on plight of refugees’
Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon advised Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini to attack the pope over the issue of migration, according to sources close to the Italian far right.
During a meeting in Washington in April 2016, Bannon – who would within a few months take up his role as head of Trump’s presidential campaign – suggested the leader of Italy’s anti-immigration League party should start openly targeting Pope Francis, who has made the plight of refugees a cornerstone of his papacy.
“Bannon advised Salvini himself that the actual pope is a sort of enemy. He suggested for sure to attack, frontally,” said a senior League insider with knowledge of the meeting in an interview with the website SourceMaterial.
After the meeting, Salvini became more outspoken against the pope, claiming that conservatives in the Vatican were on his side. One tweet from Salvini’s account, in May 2016, said: “The pope says migrants are not a danger. Whatever!” On 6 May 2016, Salvini, after the pope’s plea for compassion towards migrants, stated: “Uncontrolled immigration, an organised and financed invasion, brings chaos and problems, not peace.”
The claims coincide with suggestions that Bannon’s pan-European populist project, the Movement, has stalled. Meanwhile, Salvini has announced that he wants to bring the far right from across Europe into an alliance. Last Monday in Milan, he unveiled his “vision of Europe for the next 50 years”, billing it as the launch of a new rightwing coalition for the European parliamentary elections on 23 May. Salvini unveiled his alliance only days after meeting Bannon in Rome in March. This led some to believe that Bannon has handpicked Salvini as the informal leader of Eurosceptic, populist forces in Europe.
The pair also met in Rome six months ago, prompting Mischaël Modrikamen, the Movement’s managing director, to tweet that Italy’s deputy prime minister “is in!”
Bannon, in an interview with NBC and SourceMaterial to be broadcast at 9pm eastern time in the US on Sundayon , also takes issue with the pope’s warnings over resurgent populist movements. “You can go around Europe and it’s [populism] catching fire and the pope is just dead wrong,” said Bannon.
Following the September 2016 meeting between Salvini and Bannon, the League leader was photographed holding up a T-shirt emblazoned with the words: “Benedict is my pope.”
The slogan refers to a Vatican version of the “birther” campaign waged by Trump against Barack Obama, claiming that Francis’s papacy is illegitimate and that his ultra-conservative predecessor Benedict XVI is in fact the true pontiff.
The League source also alleged that Salvini would have attacked the pope harder but was restrained by his own party, predominantly by Giancarlo Giorgetti, the deputy federal secretary of Lega Nord who is close to senior figures in the Vatican.
“[After the Bannon meeting] Salvini moved very tough and said: ‘We have to attack the Vatican, but the other guy said wait.’ Salvini thinks by himself and acts by himself … so he started to act [for example, by appearing with the ‘Benedict is my Pope’ T-shirt],” said the source.
Bannon has steadily been building opposition to Francis through his Dignitatis Humanae Institute, based in a 13th-century mountaintop monastery not far from Rome.
In January 2017, Bannon became a patron of the institute, whose honorary president is Cardinal Raymond Burke, an ultra-conservative who believes organised networks of homosexuals are spreading a “gay agenda” in the Vatican.
The institute’s chairman is former Italian MP Luca Volontè, on trial for corruption for accepting bribes from Azerbaijan . He has denied all charges.
Among the institute’s trustees is one of the pope’s most outspoken critics, Austin Ruse, a former contributor to rightwing news website Breitbart. Ruse runs C-FAM, an anti-abortion group whose founder was prone to antisemitic rants about population control and which has been termed a hate group by human rights campaigners. Like Volontè, Ruse is an official of the World Congress of Families, a gathering of far-right, anti-gay Christian groups backed by Konstantin Malofeev, a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin.
Other trustees include Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Conservative thinktank the Bow Group, who met Bannon in London last summer, alongside Raheem Kassam, the former UK editor of Breitbart. Bannon was a founding member of Breitbart’s board.
Bannon was invited by the Observer to respond but at the time of publication had not yet replied.
UMKC Chancellor Responds To Assault On Daily Wire’s Knowles By Condemning Knowles, Praising Peaceful Protesters
At a Young America’s Foundation-sponsored event on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Thursday night, Michael Knowles, host of The Daily Wire’s “Michael Knowles Show” podcast, was sprayed by a protester with an unknown chemical substance as Knowles attempted to give a speech titled “Men Are Not Women.” The protester’s actions prompted police to subdue the assailant as the room erupted in chaos.
Ecuadorian Government Websites Hacked and Taken Offline Over Julian Assange Arrest
The Central bank of Ecuador, Ministry of Interior, Ecuadorian Assembly in UK and the Government of Ecuador’s websites were all knocked offline on Friday evening in response to the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
At least one Ecuadorian government subdomain was also hijacked with a photo of Assange and a quote from the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominated publisher.
US Designation of Revolutionary Guards Risks Escalation
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The US designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, and the Iranian response, has potentially put US military personnel in the region in harm’s way. The designation increases economic pressure on Iran because the IRGC is not only an army but also a commercial conglomerate – but it remains to be seen to what degree the sanctions will affect the IRGC.
The stakes in the Middle East couldn’t be higher.
Suspicion that the US’s intent is to change the regime in Tehran rather than its officially stated goal of forcing Iran to curb its ballistic missile program and support for militias in Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen was heightened with last week’s decision to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.
This marks the first time the US labeled a branch of a foreign government a terrorist entity, particularly one that affects millions of Iranian citizens who get conscripted into the military and for whom the IRGC is an option.
“Today’s unprecedented move to designate the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization demonstrates our commitment to maximize pressure on the Iranian regime until it ceases using terrorism as tool of statecraft,” tweeted President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton.
Trump Checkmates the Open Borders Left
Tucker: Trump calls Democrats’ bluff on illegal immigrants
Germany: Countries that want sovereignty are EU’s enemies- German minister
Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection of Germany Katarina Barley said that those EU countries that “want to become nation states again” are the enemies of the EU, speaking to RT in Berlin on Thursday.
She was later criticised by leading German news outlets such as Bild, Die Welt, Focus, and Handelsblatt for expressing her opinion to RT.
“Europe has external and internal enemies. These include all who seek to weaken it. First of all, of course these are the EU countries that want to become nation states again and stop cooperation with us in order to pursue their selfish national interests as well as those who want to divide the European Union,” she said.
She commented on Nord Stream 2 project saying that the German government “does not interfere” in such private enterprises.
Barley also commented on the Germany-Russia relations. The minister said Russian is still the country Germany “maintains close ties with”, although there are some issues like “Crimea annexation” which she believes are “a natural part of any relationship.”
( 7 min 28 )
Mark Levin on why Obama may have been spying on Trump
I think it’s permissible to say that when Levin declares himself to be a “Constitutional Conservative”, the term “Rule of Law” can be readily substituted for “Constitutional”. Of course, that’s merely an inspired guess upon my part… carry on.
APRIL 06 2019 – TOULOUSE
Plane mutiny rapist is back on our streets: Convicted Somalian is living in Wales as lawyers fight his extradition – after victim revealed her rage at the passengers who kept him in UK (dailymail, Apr 13, 2019)
“A RAPIST whose deportation was halted when airline passengers staged a mutiny is back on the streets after being released on bail, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Yaqub Ahmed, who should have been deported to his native Somalia last October, was released on bail four weeks ago.
He is now living in the North West as his legal team continue to fight his deportation.
Ahmed, 29, was convicted and jailed with three other men for the sickening gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in 2007.
News of his release comes a week after his victim bravely spoke of her fear and anger that her attacker remains in the UK.
Hannah – not her real name – last night reacted with horror to news that Ahmed is no longer behind bars. ‘It’s just disgusting and it adds pressure on to me,’ she said.
‘He should be in a detention centre where he is kept away from the public.
‘He has done something heinous and he was meant to be deported for it and now he is still roaming about – it’s absolutely ridiculous.
‘Knowing that he is roaming around doesn’t make me feel any safer. It just gets worse.’
The deportation of Ahmed, who was given a nine-year jail term, was abandoned shortly before the aircraft was due to leave London for Turkey after a group of passengers – who were unaware of his crime – took pity on him and intervened…”
Jihadi bride stitched suicide vests: In chilling briefing to Prime Minister, spy chiefs reveal how Shamima Begum helped terrorists prepare for attacks (dailymail, Apr 13, 2019)
“Jihadi bride Shamima Begum stitched suicide bombers into explosive vests, spy chiefs have told Theresa May and Sajid Javid…”
Muslim children are being wrongly reported as terrorists by their teachers, as expert reveals a FOUR-YEAR-OLD was reported for drawing a ‘bomb’ that turned out to be a cucumber (dailymail, Apr 13, 2019)
“Muslim children, some as young as four-years-old, are being wrongly reported as terrorists by their teachers.
Teachers across Australia are being trained to spot extremist behaviour in their students as a way to tackle radicalisation in schools.
But experts are concerned about the effectiveness of this technique as teachers are not being properly trained to pick up on extremist behaviour, and are misreporting children.
The Australian Government defines violent extremism as the beliefs and actions of people who support or use violence to achieve ideological, religious or political goals.
This includes terrorism and other forms of politically motivated and communal violence.
A Year 12 Canberra student who was one week away from his exams was confronted by two Australian Federal Police officers for his essay about Muslim terrorists and western intervention, The Age reported.
The Muslim student had also travelled to the Horn of Africa to donate sporting equipment to children in need.
His teacher had informed police saying there was fear that he might be radicalised.
The teenager was questioned but was not charged. This left him scarred and affected his grades.
Dr Clarke Jones, a criminologist from the Australian National University said he read the Muslim student’s essay and said there was nothing indicating that he was radicalised.
He said teachers are not trained well enough and lack the expertise to be able to identify whether or not students are at risk of being radicalised.
‘When a person is confronted by police it automatically creates this thinking: “What have I done wrong? This is embarrassing, who has seen the police come to the door? Am I in trouble? Will I go to jail?”.’
Dr Jones revealed another student in Melbourne did not receive his university placement because he was reported to the police by his teacher for having a ceremonial sword in a car, the publication reported.
He stresses teachers should be helping the ‘resilience in students’.
According to the publication, an eight-year-old Muslim boy in Sydney’s south was confronted by his principal for wearing his backpack across his chest and allegedly telling his classmate that he was carrying a bomb.
The young child rejected the claim and following a further investigation, the school found there was no evidence that he said he was carrying a bomb.
Dr Susie Latham, an adjunct post-doctoral fellow at Curtin University, researched a similar program in the UK and revealed it is impossible to have such programs in a society where Islamophobia is on the rise.
‘Children have been reported for using common Arabic phrases, wearing Islamic clothing, receiving toy guns from their parents and one four-year-old was reported for drawing a cooker bomb that was later found to be a cucumber,’ she told the publication.”
Protected species or what?The book that impels them to murder is the thing that should be investigated.
Scientists and skeptics challenge the carbon tax propaganda | Sheila Gunn Reid
Ingraham on Dems furious over Trump’s sanctuary city proposal
Sources: Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok Could Face Serious Charges
Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok could face ‘serious’ charges for his involvement and actions in the bureau’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send classified emails, as well as the FBI’s investigation into President Trump’s campaign, multiple sources with knowledge of Strzok’s actions told SaraACarter.com.
Further, sources contend that the nearly year long investigation by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, will reveal explosive information and shed light on alleged malfeasance by FBI and DOJ officials directly involved in the Russia investigation. The Inspector General’s report may be completed as early as May or June, according to testimony provided this week by Attorney General William Barr.
Tunisia Freezes Bank Accounts of 102 Terror Suspects (aawsat, Apr 13, 2019)
“Tunisia’s National Counter-Terrorism Commission issued Saturday the third batch of decisions on freezing funds and economic resources against 39 terror suspects.
The orders include freezing funds, bank accounts and assets of Tunisian individuals, organizations and entities suspected of involvement in terror-related activities.
In this context, the Commission’s President, Mokhtar Ben Nasr, confirmed that these measures were imposed against 102 individuals and one terrorist organization since November 2018.
The decisions fall within the framework of the Commission’s ongoing work to address terrorism finance and to prosecute suspects, who are involved in terror-related activities or in contact with terrorist organizations.
Its work comes in line with what had been stipulated in Tunisia’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) / Counter-Terrorist Financing (CFT) law, ratified in 2015, as well as the government’s order to control the implementation of resolutions issued by relevant UN bodies on the prevention of terrorism financing and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Meanwhile, security forces in Kasserine Governorate announced arresting a 15-year-old man on charges of contacting terrorist elements and providing assistance to terrorist organizations hiding in mountains near Kasserine.
Security sources affirmed seizing remnants of mobile phones and wires held by the accused, indicating contacts with terrorist organizations, adding that further security investigations are to be carried out.
On the other hand, a trial court in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, gave jail terms that varied between six and 10 years to 15 suspects accused of providing medical and food aid and sheltering members of a terror cell accused of attacking and killing security and army servicemen.
Security investigations showed that the 15 who assisted the terrorist cell did not embrace extremist ideology but sought to obtain money by providing logistical assistance to terrorists holed up in mountainous areas.
Apparently, the 15 were paid between 200 and 400 Tunisian dinars ($ 66- $ 133) for aid per operation.”
Amnesty: Saudi uses death penalty to crush opposition (memo, Apr 13, 2019)
“Saudi Arabia systematically uses the death penalty to crush opposition figures, Amnesty International has said, noting that the country’s Public Prosecution is planning to execute more activists.
Saudi’s Public Prosecution is planning more executions of those who call for freedom of expression, the rights group said, noting that prominent preacher Sheikh Salman Al-Owdeh is one of those targeted for execution, Al-Sharq reported yesterday.
According to Amnesty, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and Iran topped its list of countries which carry out executions, which has increased 75 per cent compared to last year. Four new activists are facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia over their participation in protests calling for reform in the country’s Eastern Province.
Saudi Arabia has carried out a new campaign against activists, bringing the number of those in prison to 14. All of these activists are male, with the exception of two females, one of whom is pregnant. Two of these latest prisoners hold US passports. Though most are not prominent opposition figures, they have expressed their support for women’s rights and other reforms which has led to their detention.
Many prisoners inside Saudi facilities were arrested without charge but have since faced extortion, with some asked to pass part of their properties to the Kingdom or face long prison terms.
Some of these prisoners are members of the Saudi royal family, such as multi-billionaire businessman Al-Walid Bin Talal who was released after conceding a portion of his property to the Kingdom.”
No outcry it might damage the arms trade,speak the truth about islam and get jailed
Iraqi militias reject U.S. naming of Iran’s Guards as terrorist group (reuters, Apr 14, 2019)
“A group of Iraq’s Shi’ite militia groups said on Saturday that they strongly rejected the designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) as a terrorist organization by the United States…”
Every country in the world has a terrorist force within it ,it is called the police,the final argument of kings,who terrorise their own people with gusto,and as we have seen from france,smiling gendarmes really enjoy it.
Spanish Police Arrest Moroccan on French Warrant for Drug Trafficking (moroccoworldnews, Apr 13, 2019)
“Spanish police have arrested a 38-year-old Moroccan in Tarifa, southern Spain, who was the subject of a European warrant.
French authorities, according to Europa Press, issued a European arrest warrant for the Moroccan who is suspected of committing “crimes of drug trafficking and participation in a criminal network.”
The network, according to Spanish media, is suspected of trafficking cannabis between Morocco and European countries, such as France, Spain, and Belgium, by bus.
La Vanguardia reported that the suspect was stopped by the police when he was planning to leave Spain for Morocco. The port of Tarifa operates daily ferries to Morocco.
The police said in a statement that the suspect could receive a sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted, for crimes of trafficking drugs and for a connection with a criminal network…”
In the sixties you could walk through Gibraltar’s customs with a carrier bag ,with leaves hanging out the top.This has been the case for decades that the marocs bring their kiff over to Europe,why the panic now?
Working with Islamabad to crack down on illegal matchmaking centres: Beijing (tribune, Apr 13, 2019)
“Following reports of illegal matchmaking centers brokering marriages between Chinese and Pakistani citizens, Beijing has come out saying that their government is working with law enforcement agencies to crack down on this.
The Chinese embassy in Islamabad released a statement after a female lawmaker voiced her concerns over the the issue in parliament.
Reports surfaced from Lahore and parts of Southern Punjab that Pakistani women were being illegally trafficked on the false pretext of marriage and then their organs were sold in China.
“Both China and Pakistan adopt rule of law and firmly oppose human trafficking and sales of human organs,” the statement read.
Beijing termed the reports about the sale of organs “misleading and groundless”.
“We notice that recently some unlawful matchmaking centers made illegal profits from brokering cross-national marriages,” the Chinese embassy’s statement said.
The communique added that Chinese laws and regulations strictly prohibited cross-national matchmaking centers, adding that both Chinese and Pakistani youths were being exploited by illegal agents.
“We hope that the public does not believe in misleading information and work together to safeguard China-Pakistan friendship,” it added.”
“Both China and Pakistan adopt rule of law…”
And then the document spontaneously combusted.
1400 troops out post-July 2018 under FETÖ probe (hurriyetdailynews, Apr 13, 2019)
“Since last summer, the Turkish Armed Forces have dismissed over 1,400 personnel amid efforts to root out FETÖ infiltration, according to a data analysis by Anadolu Agency.
Since the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, Turkish institutions including the military have been working to find and expel elements of the FETÖ, the group behind the coup.
A two-year state of emergency following the coup was lifted on July 20, 2018, and since then the Turkish Armed Forces have dismissed 1,412 personnel, the analysis found.
Under National Defense Ministry direction, 795 personnel from the Turkish Land Forces have been dismissed, along with 242 personnel from the Turkish Naval Forces and 375 from the Turkish Air Forces.
In addition, 106 soldiers were reduced in rank.
The government declared the state of emergency following the July 15, 2016 defeated coup orchestrated by FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen, which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.”
remember what happened to joe stalin,he purged his army too with disasterous consequences.
Trump admin comes out on top over asylum battle at border
Melbourne mass shooting: Panic after four shot outside Prahran nightclub – Police on scene (express, Apr 13, 2019)
“MELBOURNE is on lockdown following a shooting outside a nightclub in Prahran, with four people shot, according to reports.
Emergency services scrambled to the Love Machine nightclub in Prahran, southeast of Melbourne, near Little Chapel Street and Malvern Road. The victims have been rushed to hospital for treatment and surgery. A 28-year-old and another unidentified man are in a critical condition and two others, one aged 29 and the other in his 50s are stable, Victoria Police have confirmed.
The gunman remains on the run following the drive-by shooting.
The Age reports a security guard was shot in the face, and another guard and a patron were wounded in the shooting involving a stolen black Porsche Cayenne.
People were urged to avoid to the area around the venue as police cordons remain in place.
No arrests have been made so far.
Victoria police have launched an official investigation into the attack.
People have been urged to avoid the area and that anyone with information or footage of the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Two of the victims are security guards, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Australia introduced strict gun laws after 35 people were killed in Tasmania in 1996.
Last year seven were killed in a murder-suicide in Western Australia.
The shooting comes just a month after the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand.
The terrorist attack killed 50 people including children at two mosques.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
A 28-year-old Australian man was arrested and charged with murder.”
“Reuters Propaganda Headline: “Man Arrested After Boy Falls from Balcony”?….”
by Sundance – April 13, 2019
Video: “Child thrown or pushed in MOA incident still hospitalized, suspect held on probable cause for attempted homicide”
KSTP – April 13, 2019 – 5:34PM
His Mom is asking for prayers.
Yes. Another article on the state of journalism, which is now Soviet style misinformation. Or is it disinformation. I always confuse those two. But I never confuse either one of them with information.
I meant to do a thing on that article myself as someone sent in a version of it this morning which carefully avoided saying anything that might bring you to any conclusion the government-media complex doesn’t want you to have.
Much like the story on the slave ring at the factory near Birmingham which was busted earlier today. Cant tell if its Gypsies, muslims, Sikhs or Chinese, but it was clearly a major slavery ring and was not indigenous British.
It may be one of their shock troop divisions.
1: troops especially suited and chosen for offensive work because of their high morale, training, and discipline.
2 : a group of people militant in pressing for a cause.
That poor Mother.
“You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.”
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
AJ interviews Bill Binney – 1:29:09 – 2:10:19
April 12, 2019
“CBS TV Show Advocates Using Political Violence”
Paul Joseph Watson – April 13, 2019
DAILY MAIL -ALAN RUSBRIDGER: Woman who was banned from Facebook for posting photo of Iranian volleyball team in 1970 and a recent one of them wearing hijabs shows chilling threat to your free speech
Alan Rusbridger is Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and former newspaper editor
He says he fears the end of the internet as we know it under Government plans
Raises the case of a woman banned from Facebook for posting two pictures
Every great advance in communication provokes an overreaction. No sooner had Johannes Gutenberg developed the art of mass printing in the 15th Century than there was widespread alarm at the sort of books and ideas that resulted from his invention.
‘Something’ had to be done – and that something usually resulted in a form of censorship or regulation from above.
The same thing is happening today. We are barely a dozen years into the explosion of social media – with all that is glorious, liberating, creative, messy, menacing and hateful about it – and there are demands to clip its wings. Or even kill it off.
Just as in 1487 the Pope woke up to the dangers of mass communication and introduced censorship, so our own Government has produced a White Paper describing its intentions to crack down on what it calls ‘online harms’. To some, it is a proportionate enough response to the failure of the West Coast giants to clean up their own act.
To others, it spells the end of the internet as we’ve known it.
The White Paper is full of reasonable-sounding propositions. Its very first sentence pronounces: ‘The Government wants the UK to be the safest place in the world to go online.’
Those of us who work in universities are nervous of the language of ‘safe spaces’, knowing that – out there in the big bad world – there are no such thing as ‘safe spaces’ and that we do no favours to our students to prepare them for an environment which doesn’t exist.
How does the Government propose that the UK’s online space becomes the safest in the world? By introducing rules against ‘unacceptable’ content.
Like ‘safe spaces’, the word ‘unacceptable’ should ring alarm bells. Unacceptable to whom?
In future, internet users will not be allowed to ‘undermine our democratic values and principles’. Offenders will be punished with huge fines and by naming and shaming the senior management of offending companies.
Maybe this all sounds a little… Chinese? Or Russian? Saudi Arabia has a similar prejudice against people who voice ‘unacceptable’ opinions. Within a few pages of the executive summary, an average reader might begin asking some of the basic questions any would-be reporter is trained to ask in their first week at work in a newsroom: what, who, where, when and why? What is going to be regulated? The broad answer is bad stuff.
But ‘bad stuff’ encompasses a huge range of material from things that are already illegal (terrorism, hate speech, child pornography etc) to more nebulous concepts. These include ‘echo chambers’ and ‘filter bubbles’, for example – which mean individual web users meet only a narrow range of views – and online harms ‘which undermine our shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities to foster integration’. That’s a very broad gamut of potentially controversial content and gives rise to the Who question. Who decides whether material is likely to be considered harmful, and who gets to regulate the supposedly safest place in the world?
The answer seems to be a mixture of the companies themselves, who will have a new ‘statutory duty of care’, backed up by an independent regulator. In some cases, the Home Secretary will be required to sign off on some codes of practice, giving a politician the right to determine what is and isn’t acceptable.
Mail on Sunday readers will not need reminding that Jeremy Corbyn could be the next occupant of No10 Downing Street. And so might Boris Johnson, whose own relationship with the truth has sometimes been shaky. Right or Left, politicians shouldn’t be the judges of what a free society allows people to say, write or think.
Where? Well, the regulator will be based on these shores. But it has not escaped the attention of the White Paper authors that many of the largest and most successful social media companies are headquartered on the other side of the planet.
There is vague talk of powers to ‘enable the regulator to disrupt the business activities of a non-compliant company, measures to impose liability on individual members of senior management, and measures to block non-compliant services’.
This is Whitehall as King Canute, the Faceless against Facebook. There are, of course, countries which have successfully banned Google or switched off Twitter. They may even think of themselves as ‘safe’ online places. Whether the average Brit would want to go and live in such places must be open to doubt.
When? Well, the White Paper is proposing that social media companies move very quickly – within 24 hours – to remove offending material. Something like this has recently been tried in Germany with mixed results.
The threat of enormous fines has led to a culture of ‘senior management’ playing safe and some frankly bizarre examples of speech being censored.
There are now numerous examples of people being banned for satire, parody or causing offence. In March last year, a user was banned after joking: ‘Muslim men are taking a second wife. To finance their lives, Germans are taking a second job.’
The same month a woman received a month’s ban from Facebook for posting two pictures: one showed the 1970s Iranian women’s national volleyball team, wearing T-shirts and shorts; the current Iranian team was shown wearing hijabs and clothes that covered arms and legs.
Both posts might cause a degree of offence, but does a ‘safe’ online space rule out any humour?
In any event, there are now several German sites which are only too willing to repost any material which alarms Facebook or Twitter.
Then comes the Why? The instinct for such a crackdown on the internet is an understandable one. There is material in cyberspace – lots of it – which has no place in a decent society. It is entirely right to be looking for ways of protecting children and the vulnerable from things that could harm them. But unless it can answer the basic questions – not forgetting the How? – then the danger is that Britain will snuff out a precious flame.
There are lots of reasons to dislike the West Coast giants. I wish they were more transparent; less driven by profit, more driven by public service.
The Google algorithm, for example, is one of the most powerful economic tools on the planet, yet how it works is a complete mystery to all its billions of users.
I don’t like them behaving like monopolies. I wish they would pay a fair share of tax on the enormous revenues they are scooping up. Some of them could undoubtedly afford to comply with the sort of stringent regime of regulation imagined in this report. But what about the smaller community websites? Or newspapers, struggling to deal with the dramatic loss of revenues as advertising is remorselessly sucked away by new players and new technologies?
What about the millions who have, in the past dozen or so years, found a voice and a freedom to communicate in this messy, brave and sometimes ugly new world?
What kind of example would we be setting to countries where dissidents rely on the ability to post ‘unacceptable’ thoughts?
It’s easy to demand instant answers to difficult problems. We won’t solve the very real challenges of the internet by creating half-baked regulators on the back of a White Paper that asks many right questions, but comes up with an equal number of wrong answers.
Five hundred years ago, Gutenberg’s invention led to convulsive revolutions in religion, science, business, education and much more. One writer has claimed the German printer ‘forged the key that would open the doors of knowledge to all mankind’.
We are at a similar moment in history. Let’s not waste it.
Fundamentally ,what “right”does the ADMINISTRATION have to tell me what I might say,believe or communicate to another,this reverses the relationship between the people and the administration that they elected in all good conscience to administer the affairs of the people,no one votes to be jailed for words that their “representatives”disaprove of,this is not on any manifesto,parliament is not my master,it is my servant,though judging from britains 17.4 million non votes,they have forgotten this.
Trudeau visits Vancouver Sikh temple after gov’t removes reference to Sikh extremism
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted the strength and contributions of Canada’s Sikh community as he celebrated the religion’s holy day of Vaisakhi in Vancouver.
“As we celebrate Vaisakhi, let us also celebrate all the incredible contributions of this community,” he said in a speech after he walked in a parade Saturday organized by the Khalsa Diwan Society. The society formed in 1902 and built the first Sikh Gurdwara in Canada several years later, according to its website.
Trudeau joined other politicians and community members in walking amongst floats and performers. On the sidelines, people handed out free food along the route, including snacks and full meals to passersby.
Sikhs have helped to build Canada for more than 120 years, Trudeau said, adding there are now Sikh entrepreneurs, politicians, artists and true leaders in every field.
He said the values celebrated during the holy day, like equality and social justice, are values that make Canada stronger.
Before the parade, Trudeau visited one of the largest Sikh temples in the country, Vancouver’s Ross Street Gurdwara, where he delivered a speech with similar sentiments. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also attended the festivities.
Attendees at the morning ceremony sat on the floor, many of them in colourful turbans, as speeches by several political leaders were broadcast on two massive screens.
His morning speech came just hours after the federal government agreed to remove a reference to Sikh extremism from a report on terrorism.
The language was changed late Friday to remove any mention of religion, instead discussing the threat posed by “extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India.”
The 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada drew the ire of the Sikh community when it was released in December.
For the first time, the report listed Sikh extremism as one of the top five extremist threats in Canada.
Although the objections were largely about the inclusion of Sikhs at all, because of the report’s lack of evidence to back it up, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he would at least ask for a review of the language the report used.
He said entire religions should never be equated with terrorism.
There are roughly half a million Canadians who identify as Sikh, most of them in the Greater Toronto Area and suburban Vancouver.
In the uk there are four proscribed Sikh terrorist organisations.
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