"The smear campaign by author @kevinroose who claims my videos among others radicalised a man, are defamatory lies, and I have the receipts. The NYT said my videos radicalised a man to hate muslims and immigrants. It listed three of my anti-war videos among them, seemingly unaware that I am a muslim immigrant. I spoke with the man they claim I radicalised, and he said i had nothing to do with it and he barely watched my videos. So whose really behind this censorship campaign?"
Access to the Internet to be informed, to inform others, and to express one's own opinion, is considered by most to be a basic human right in the 21st Century. Yet, this basic human right has now been taken away from Julian Assange by the Ecuadorian government. Wikileaks Publisher, Julian Assange, could be compared with Martin Luther, who used the printing press to challenge a corrupt Roman Catholic empire. In Assange's case, he used of the internet to challenge the corrupt, oppressive, warmongering global regime headed by the United States. We all live under this regime, but we have almost no media through which to question its dark sway. Assange provided that media through Wikileaks. The Ecuadorian Government must be recognised for having given Assange asylum as a political refugee for many years, when his own country, Australia, so shamefully turned its back on him, and on the international crimes he exposed. This granting of asylum by the Ecuadorian Government was the only thing that prevented the Swedish Government and the British Government from handing Assange over to the United States Government. The US has threatened to try Assange for espionage even though he is (a) not a US citizen and (b) has performed an heroic service to the world in exposing the US government's illegal actions against prisoners of war, as well as its multiple illegal surveillance of ordinary citizens. In fact, such a trial would present the rogue US government with much embarrassment because it would throw more light on the secrets that Wikileaks exposed. It is thus correct to fear that Assange would not be tried, but simply imprisoned without a public trial. Assange has also exposed many similar crimes to the US's that have been carried out by other governments. Recently he tweeted an opinion on the independence movement in Catalonia. The Ecuadorian Government, his long-term asylum hosts, who have recently also become his country of citizenship, have claimed that this tweet caused them embarrassment. The upshot has been that his internet access has been removed by his new country and asylum-giver. Assange's only contact with the world and with witnesses to his frightening imprisonment by global conspiracy is via the internet. Without internet contact, he may as well be in a dungeon in Ecuador's London embassy. This seems like a terrible punishment for a solitary tweet. Some might question his judgement for tweeting something politically compromising for Ecuador in the light of his dependence on its goodwill. Many others would defend the world's need to open access to information about the Catalan problems. The situation is intolerably difficult, morally, politically and humanly. However, what we most hope for is that Julian Assange, a once-citizen of Australia who we are so sorry to have lost to this country, will be granted access to the internet and also that he will saved from the imprisonment that the United Nations has deemed to be illegal and unjust.
A Reuter's press release published in the Australian ABC in an article entitled, "Julian Assange has internet access cut off by Ecuador's Government," summarises, "Relations between Mr Assange and his host nation have often grown prickly. Ecuador suspended his internet access in 2016 after a WikiLeaks dump targeting Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign." However, it adds, "Former president Rafael Correa hailed Mr Assange's work but the nation's current head of state has called him a hacker and warned him not to meddle in politics," which context makes Assange's situation sound as if it has overall worsened.
History of Assange's wrongful imprisonment by the United Kingdom
On 12 June 2012, Julian Assange, threatened with extradition to Sweden for questioning over allegations - not even formal charges - that he had raped two Swedish women, sought and received political asylum in the London embassy of the Republic of Ecuador.
Assange feared that once inside Sweden, he would be extradited to the United States, to face the same imprisonment and torture that Chelsea Manning, another whistleblower, was enduring at the time. The US has considered trying him for espionage under the circa World War 1 Espionage Act.
Had the Swedish government given Assange a guarantee to deny any request for extradition by the United States, there can be little doubt that Assange would have gone to Sweden and the whole issue whould have been expedited and finalised very quickly.
As the Swedish government refused for years to even come to London to conduct interviews with Assange, there can be little doubt that the allegations of rape were no more than a cynical ploy by the supposedly neutral Swedish government in complicity with the United States' government, to arrest Assange, make an example of him and reduce the ability of Wikileaks to inform the world of the nefarious actions of the United States and its allies.
Since then the British government concocted another excuse to arrest Assange on behalf the United States.
Assange is charged with skipping bail for seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, even though the original fabricated rape charges upon which the extradition of Assange was sought have been dropped by the Swedish government.
Why the United Nations classifies Assange's situation as a case of illegal imprisonment
Years ago Australian journalist Julian Assange was found, by the United Nations, to have been illegally imprisoned by the British Government in the Ecuadorian embassy. See https://www.justice4assange.com/UN-Working-Group-on-Arbitrary.html We have reproduced most of the text of this UN page below:
UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
On Friday 5 February 2016, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) announced its decision finding that the detention of Julian Assange is unlawful. The United Nations Working Group has ordered that he be released immediately and compensated by Sweden and the United Kingdom. Julian Assange’s petition was filed in September 2014.
- #READ">Read the decision
- #WGAD">What is the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD)?
- #MADS">Interview with former WGAD Chair Mads Andenas on the Assange decision
- #DECISION">What is the decision about?
- #RESULT">What happens next?
- #LAW">What treaties and international law direct WGAD investigations?
- #CASES">Which other important cases has the WGAD decided?
- #WHO">Who are the members of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention?
- #LAWYERS">Who submitted the complaint on Julian Assange’s behalf?
- #PR">Press Contacts
Read the Working Group on Arbitrary Decision in Assange vs Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Interview with former UNWGAD Chair and Norwegian international Law Prof. Mads Andenæs
The Norwegian lawyer, Professor Mads Andenæs, is a legal academic and the UN Special Rapporteur on arbitrary detention was, since 2009 a chair of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, an expert panel which called on the Swedish and British authorities to end Julian Assange’s deprivation of liberty, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and afford him the right to compensation.
Professor Andenæs, who presents in this interview his opinion about the mainstream media coverage regarding to Assange case, too, is a professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Oslo, the former Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London and the former Director of the Centre of European Law at King’s College, University of London. He is also a Research Fellow of the Institute of European and Comparative Law, University of Oxford and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
He has been the General Editor of the International and Comparative Law Quarterly (Cambridge University Press), the General Editor of European Business Law Review (Kluwer Law International) and on the editorial boards of ten other law journals and book series, including the Nijhoff Series on International Trade Law.
He is an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Legal Studies (UK), a Fellow of the International Academy of Commercial and Consumer Law (where he is a member of the board), an Honorary Fellow of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, and a Fellow of the The Royal Society of the Arts.
He was the Secretary General of the Fédération Internationale de Droit Européen 2000-2002, the Hon Secretary of the UK Association of European Law 1997-2008 and the Hon Secretary of the UK Committee of Comparative Law 1999-2005. He was the Chair, Association of Human Rights Institutes in 2008.
Please tell us about your job at Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), during the initial part of Julian Assange case before the United Nations (UN)?
I was chair of the UN Working Group when the complaint was received, and the exchanges between the UN and the parties took place. I did not take part in the discussions of the Working Group leading up to the opinion in the Assange case. My term ran out in July 2015, and the decision was published in February 2016.
Why do you advocate for Mr. Assange?
I have spoken out in support of the opinion of the UN Working Group. Mr. Assange is in arbitrary detention and the UK and Sweden should abide by the UN ruling against them and take the steps that are necessary to bring his detention to an end.
Please specify the accusations against Julian Assange, and who accuses him.
The current case about the extradition to Sweden concerns allegations of sexual misconduct. Of course, the allegations relating to Wikileaks involves a strong interest of the security apparatus in many countries.
The fear is that the latter is allowed to influence the process and outcomes in the first case.
How do you see Washington’s allegation that Assange has threatened US security?
That are allegations that usually are fielded against use of the right to provide information and the freedom of speech. There is every reason to be sceptical to such assertions.
How do you see the UN’ decision to free Mr. Assange?
It is very clear. The UN WGAD had to decide two questions. First, whether there was a ’deprivation of liberty’ as opposed to a ’restriction of liberty’. Secondly, whether that deprivation of liberty was ’arbitrary’.
The UN WGAD clearly accepted the argument that Assange’s conditions are not ’self-imposed’, that is, if he stepped into the street, he would be arrested. There was also a ’substantial failure’ of the authorities ’to exercise due diligence’ in the ’performance of criminal administration’ (par. 98).
The line between a ’restriction of liberty’ and ’deprivation of liberty’ is finely drawn in European human rights jurisprudence. Liberty deprivation doesn’t consist only in the easily recognizable conditions of state detention. You must consider the length of time that Assange has remained in the Ecuadorian embassy, and his ongoing circumstances.
Liberty must be capable of being realized in actuality. Where the exercise of such liberty would have significantly coercive results, such as further deprivations of liberty or putting other rights at risk, this cannot be described as liberty in practice. The fact that Assange is resisting arrest doesn’t resolve this issue, as this would be to argue that liberty is a right contingent on his co-operation.
Assange is not free to leave he Ecuadorian Embassy of his own will. He fears extradition to the US and prosecution for his involvement in Wikileaks. The Swedish authorities have refused to provide assurances of non-refoulment which respond to this fear. Assange’s deprivation is ’arbitrary’. One ground is that it is disproportionate.
There are other, less restrictive ways of proceeding. Before issuing a EAW, the Swedish authorities could have followed the normal practice of interviewing Assange in a British police interview room.
After Assange took residence in the Ecuadorian embassy they could have relied on ’mutual assistance’ protocols, questioned Assange by video link, and given him the chance to respond to the allegations against him.
Please clarify ’deprivation of liberty’.
The UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights prohibit arbitrary deprivations of liberty in Articles 9. That is something more than a "restriction on liberty". It includes house arrest.
How do you evaluate the United Kingdom (UK) and Sweden’s decision of not respecting UN’ decision?
Rulings by the UN WGAD are not always followed by states, but rarely do they result in such personal attacks as made by UK politicians after the Assange opinion.
I know that the words used by the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister were not the ones provided by the the civil servants advising on human rights and international law. The UK politicians aimed at weakening the authority of the UN body for short term opportunistic gain.
I fear that these politicians have weakened the international community’s possibility to protect some of the most vulnerable victims of human rights violations.
Their words have circulated among the states responsible for the worst human rights violations. The words of these UK politicians will cost life and human suffering.
The UK may lobby for some support when the matter is reported to the UN Human Rights Council, but the UK will certainly be criticised by other states for its response, and clearly deserve that.
The damage done to the UK in the UN and its moral authority in human rights issues is another matter, but there is no doubt about the damage done to the authority of the UK.
Professor Andenæs, comment the current status of the ’preliminary’ investigation in Sweden, and US ’pending prosecution’ against WikiLeaks.
Also those who are convinced that Mr. Assange is guilty of rape, whether or not you think he is a self-publicist deliberately resisting arrest (and I do not), the fact remains that the authorities could use less restrictive means without compromising the initial investigation into the allegations regarding his sexual conduct in Sweden.
It is timely to remind ourselves that Assange has not been found guilty of rape: at this stage the prosecutor and courts in Sweden has held that there are probable grounds. Professor Andrew Ashworth, Oxford, stated in an Expert Opinion from 2011 that Assange’s team has made reference to, that "I do not consider that any of the incidents alleged in box of the EAW (that are the allegations cited in the arrest warrant) is sufficient of itself to constitute any offence under English law".
The Swedish Supreme Court Vice President has reminded us that the accused is presumed innocent until found guilty (video below), and that when there are contradictory statements, it is for the courts to decide whether there the requirements for a conviction are satisfied. (See video)
The Swedish courts, also the majority in the Swedish Supreme Court, the Vice President was not on that panel, expressed that the arrest warrant even if it could not be executed against Assange, limited his liberty in a way that was relevant to question whether it remains proportional. The majority noted with approval that steps were now taken to interview Assange in London.
Over time, the Swedish Supreme Court may well grow sympathetic to the dissenting judgment of Justice Svante Johansson, that the conditions of the investigation are now disproportionate (a view presented by Anne Ramberg, head of Sweden’s Bar Association and Judge Charlotte Edvardsson, the reporting staff judge in the Supreme Court, in her (public) proposal to the court in the case).
Certainly, Former Legal Counsel to the United Nations and Legal Adviser to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hans Corell, has stated that he ’does not understand why the prosecutor had not questioned Julian Assange during all the years he has been at the Ecuadorian Embassy’.
Reasonable and judicial minds have differed on many of these issues. No doubt they have been coloured by views on the integrity of Assange himself. But human rights are not meant to favour the popular amongst us; they are meant to favour us all.
Why do you think the UK is acting so strongly according to US interests in this case?
Wikileaks has made very important contributions to our knowledge about the diplomatic and political process. It has changed my perception of major events and institutions. Wikileaks makes it much more difficult to manipulate us.
The so-called intelligence community base itself on working methods that are cloaked in secrecy. There are strong institutional forces that want to put an end to Mr. Assange’s activities. That go for very many countries.
How do you see Ecuador government regarding Mr. Assange, and the importance of world solidarity with him not only by other governments, but also by activists and civilians in general, Professor Andenæs?
Ecuador’s government has made a very important contribution to the protection of an international public sphere, and to the protection of freedom of information, freedom of expression and accountability for human rights violations. The expressions of solidarity for him not only by other governments, but also by activists and others around the world arre very important.
How do evaluate the mainstream media approach regarding to WikiLeaks revelations, especially involving Assange judgement?
I had expected a more muscular defence of the right to provide information and the freedom of speech. But media in all countries operate in a complex interaction with governments and take account of the state interest in different ways. In my view, in this case with too much respect for the perceived state interest.
How do you evaluate recent WikiLeaks revelations of US spying on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a private climate change strategy meeting in Berlim, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)?
They reveal wholly unacceptable practices. They also justify the work of Wikileaks.
Interview by Edu Montesanti
WHAT IS THE UN WORKING GROUP ON ARBITRARY DETENTION (WGAD)?
Under the authority of the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, the WGAD was established in 1991 to investigate and adjudicate whether states are in compliance with their international human rights obligations. It receives submissions from the individual complainant and the respondents (the states), and decides whether the case amounts to arbitrary (that is to say unlawful, or prohibited) detention. The European Court of Human Rights draws on judgments of the WGAD in cases concerning deprivation of liberty (violations against Article 5).
WHAT IS THE DECISION ABOUT?
The WGAD decides, according to pre-defined criteria:
- Whether a person is ’detained’
- Whether that detention is ’arbitrary’ (unlawful)
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found that Julian Assange is arbitrarily detained. The UK and Sweden must immediately release and compensate him. The decision is binding, as the UN Office of the Hight Commissioner for Human Rights has explained.
WHAT TREATIES AND INTERNATIONAL LAW DIRECT WGAD INVESTIGATIONS?
The international laws looked to by the WGAD include:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the most universally-ratified human rights treaty;
- The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;
- The UN Declaration on Human Rights;
- The European Convention on Human Rights.
WHICH OTHER IMPORTANT CASES HAS THE UN WGAD DECIDED?
Against Myanmar: WGAD found that Aung San Suu Kyi (2007) had been arbitrarily detained while under house arrest. The regime released her in 2010. Last year her party won 86% of the vote in democratic elections.
Iran: (December 2015) for arbitrarily imprisoning Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian. Iran released him on 16 January 2016.
Maldives (October 2015) for illegally imprisoning former pro-democracy president Mohamed Nasheed, who was promptly released. On 23 January 2016 Nasheed visited 10 Downing Street with his lawyers Amal Clooney and Ben Emerson QC.
Malaysia: for the arbitrary imprisonment of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in a politically motivated sodomy case.
Egypt (April 2014) for arbitrarily imprisoning former president Mohamed Morsi, deposed by current President al-Sisi. He has not been released.
WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE UN WORKING GROUP ON ARBITRARY DETENTION?
Sètondji Adjovi (Benin, Second Vice-Chair)
Adjovi, an academic and practitioner specialising in international criminal procedure and judicial reform, worked at the International Criminal Court and at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda before his appointment to the UN WGAD.
Mads Andenas (Norway, Chair and member until mid-2015)
Chair of UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention until mid-2015. Has previously held positions as Director of the Centre of European Law at King’s College, University of London and Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London. Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Oslo.
Mr. José Guevara (Mexico, First Vice-Chair)
Guevara is a legal academic and practitioner who focuses on Human Rights Protection and International Criminal Law. Prior to joining the WGAD, worked in the NGO sector, Mexico City’s Ombudsman’s office and in government in the area of human rights. Guevara is the recipient of the Open Society Foundation’s New Executives Fund leading the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights.
Seong-Phil Hong (Chair-Rapporteur, Republic of Korea)
An expert member of the Asian Council of Jurists of the Asia Pacific Forum and legal academic, Seong-Phil Hong has specialised in the case for reparations regarding Japan’s Enforced Sex Slavery during the Second World War and accountability for human rights violations by the North Korean regime.
Vladimir Tochilovsky (Ukraine)
A legal academic and practitioner whose expertise lies in international criminal justice and procedure. Tochilovsky was part of the Preparatory Committee and Commission that drafted the guidelines on criminal procedure for the International Criminal Court.
Leigh Toomey (Australia)
An expert in the UN Human Rights system, Toomey has taught at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and has served as a UN human rights expert both in the capacity as an NGO representative and as a representative for Australia at the UN General Assembly and Commission for Human Rights.
WHO SUBMITTED THE COMPLAINT ON JULIAN ASSANGE’S BEHALF?
On behalf of Julian Assange’s international legal team:
- Baltasar Garzon (ILOCAD SL, Spain)
- John Jones, QC (Doughty Street Chambers, UK)
- Melinda Taylor (External Defence Counsel, ICC, The Hague
Julian Assange submitted a complaint against Sweden and the United Kingdom to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 12 September 2014. For press inquiries, contact Julian Assange’s legal team:
Melinda Taylor (The Hague) - +31 611566009 (mobile) [email protected]
John Jones QC, Doughty St. Chambers +44 20 7404 1313 [email protected]
Jennifer Robinson (UK) - [email protected]
Carey Shenkman (US) - [email protected]
Spanish: Baltasar Garzon, ILOCAD (Spain)
French: Christophe Marchand, Jus Cogens (Belgium)
US Congress Quietly Passes Bill Targeting “Russian Propaganda” Websites By Tyler Durden, Global Research, December 03, 2016, Zero Hedge 2 December 2016. On November 30, one week after the Washington Post launched its witch hunt against “Russian propaganda fake news”, with 390 votes for, the House quietly passed “H.R. 6393, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017“, sponsored by California Republican Devin Nunes (whose third largest donor in 2016 is Google parent Alphabet, Inc), a bill which deals with a number of intelligence-related issues, including Russian propaganda, or what the government calls propaganda, and hints at a potential crackdown on “offenders.”
A quick skim of the bill reveals “Title V—Matters relating to foreign countries”, whose Section 501 calls for the government to “counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence … carried out in coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly.”
The section lists the following definitions of media manipulation:
- Establishment or funding of a front group.
- Covert broadcasting.
- Media manipulation.
- Disinformation and forgeries.
- Funding agents of influence.
- Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
- Terrorist acts.
As ActivistPost correctly notes, it is easy to see how this law, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, could be used to target, threaten, or eliminate so-called “fake news” websites, a list which has been used to arbitrarily define any website, or blog, that does not share the mainstream media’s proclivity to serve as the Public Relations arm of a given administration.
Read more of Tyler Durdan's article here: US Congress Quietly Passes Bill Targeting “Russian Propaganda” Websites
Video and transcript below: SOPA stands for "Stop Online Piracy Act". "Just as the printing press led to the widespread publication of the Bible in the vernacular and ultimately to the Reformation which forever transformed the power structure in European society, so too has the internet allowed the public to receive, correlate and distribute information that challenges official government narratives." This threatens the powerbases of our self-appointed masters and they will do anything to stop it.
Beyond SOPA: The Past, Present and Future of Internet Censorship
By James Corbett
29 January, 2012
(Originally published on the Corbett Report at http://www.corbettreport.com/beyond-sopa-the-past-present-and-future-of-internet-censorship/.)
When legislators in the US abandoned their support of SOPA and PIPA in the wake of mass popular protest earlier this month, many of those who had been mobilized by the legislation–which would have granted the US government almost total power to block access to foreign websites accused of so much as linking to copyrighted material–did not have long to enjoy their “victory.” The very next day the New Zealand police swooped in to the million-dollar estate of MegaUpload.com founder Kim Dotcom, arresting him and three others at the US government’s request for alleged racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. The Department of Justice is now seeking the MegaUpload CEO’s extradition to the US.
Some amongst those who had been campaigning against SOPA and PIPA did not know that the US government already had the authority to shut down entire websites and in fact has exercised that authority on numerous occasions. What many are now learning is that, far from some potential future threat, internet censorship already exists in a variety of legislation that is already on the books in the United States and in nations around the world.
Although most commonly associated with China, which has implemented strict internet filters that prevent its citizens from finding politically sensitive material, various internet censorship programs have already been implemented by countries around the globe.
In 2010, Japan passed amendments to its copyright law making it illegal to download copyrighted material. The move has yet to curtail file-sharing in the country, so the Japanese government recently announced that they are going to begin putting fake copies of popular tv dramas on file-sharing websites that, when opened, remind users that it is illegal to download such material.
In July of 2010, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized the domains of 8 websites that it accused of hosting illegal copies of copyrighted material as part of an investigation dubbed Operation In Our Sites. The seizures came before any trial took place, and six of the websites did not actually host any of the copyrighted material in question, only linking to it. That November, ICE acted once again, this time seizing 82 domains. In December of 2011, over one year later, the agency returned one of the domains, Dajaz1.com, to its owner, after admitting that it had not in fact breached any laws.
In May of last year, the US Justice Department began seeking the extradition of one of the website’s operators, Richard O’Dwyer, from the UK. O’Dwyer is a British citizen who established TVShack.net in December of 2007. The DOJ is hoping to bring O’Dwyer to the US under the Extradition Act of 2003 to face charges of copyright infringement in the Southern District of New York.
Late last year, a number of nations signed a new global copyright agreement known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement or ACTA. Signatories include the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and, as of this past week, 22 member states of the European Union.
Purported to be a treaty against counterfeit goods, generic drugs and copyright, it threatens to fundamentally alter the internet as it has so far existed.
When the Polish government announced its intention to sign earlier this month, protests sprang up around the country.
While the public is only beginning to understand the implications of ACTA, which has already been signed by a number of countries, others are pointing to these types of agreements as only the thin edge of the wedge for the implementation of outright totalitarian control over the internet as a whole. Indeed, perhaps even more worrying than the existing legislation and agreements for internet censorship are the numerous proposals for even more restrictive measures that have been made time and again by political leaders in a variety of contexts.
In October of 2008, the Labor government in Australia proposed a mandatory filter for the entire Australian internet. The proposal, dubbed “Clean Feed” would ostensibly block any content deemed to break Australia’s media regulations. When a list of the websites supposed to be banned under the scheme was released in early 2009, it included the websites of numerous innocuous Australian businesses, as well as overtly political websites that had no illegal or offending material. The current government has said they would not vote for any such legislation, and the proposal would be unlikely to reach parliament until 2013.
In 2010 the UK passed the Digital Economy Act, which theoretically allows for the UK government to ban copyright violators from the Internet. In August of 2011, parts of the legislation proposing the blocking of sites believed to be linking to copyrighted material was declared to be unenforceable and were dropped from the legislation.
In March of 2009, Senator Jay Rockefeller opined during a subcommittee hearing that the internet is proving to be such a threat to America’s national security that it would have been better if it had never existed.
In June of 2010, Senator Joe Lieberman stated that he believed the US needed the same ability to shut down the internet as China currently has.
While these proposals are sometimes couched in business-friendly rhetoric about protecting intellectual property, sometimes as a national security question about defending cyber infrastructure from foreign enemies and sometimes as attempts to protect children or stop the spread of child pornography, the proponents of internet censorship are becoming increasingly honest about their real worry: the free spread of ideas amongst a public that is allowed to choose for themselves what information to believe and what to discard.
Last year, Bill Clinton advocated the idea that the US government create an agency for “fact-checking” websites on the internet.
Earlier this month, Evgeny Morozov of Stanford, who previously served as a Fellow of George Soros’ Open Society Institute, wrote an article calling on Google and other search engines to use banners to warn users about websites that are deemed to be pseudoscientific or conspiratorial. Perhaps realizing that the proposal sounds drastic, Morozov concludes:
“such a move might trigger conspiracy theories of its own—e.g. is Google shilling for Big Pharma or for Al Gore?—but this is a risk worth taking as long as it can help thwart the growth of fringe movements.”
Here we see the real danger of the internet for those who seek to control the spread of information. The internet, like every other medium that has come before it, changes not just the way in which people create, distribute and receive information, but the information itself. Just as the printing press led to the widespread publication of the Bible in the vernacular and ultimately to the Reformation which forever transformed the power structure in European society, so too has the internet allowed the public to receive, correlate and distribute information that challenges official government narratives in a way that threatens to transform the power structure of our society. And as the traditional media has begun to bleed away the remains of its increasingly dissatisfied customer base, self-immolated on the fantastic failure to challenge the status quo on issues like Saddam’s WMD or the growing apparatus of the police state or the never-ending bailouts of the too-big-to-fails, a new, independent media has arisen to take its place, empowered by technologies that allow for the instantaneous and nearly costless transmission of ideas to the farthest corners of the globe.
When situated in this context, the recent struggle over the SOPA and PIPA bills are seen for what they are: one battle in a much larger war for internet freedom, and ultimately, the cognitive liberty of the American public. But it is possible to win the battle and yet lose the war, as the millions of MegaUpload users who just had all of their files seized by the FBI found out the hard way. The only hope is that the movement that has arisen to face this, the greatest threat to the rise of this new era of mental independence, does not wane in the wake of the SOPA and PIPA “victory,” but instead rises to meet the even greater internet clampdown that awaits. After all, all the authorities are waiting for is for the public to fall back asleep.
Mmmm, smells of public communications consultant speak!
This latest Ruddism could possibly become broadest claim of the 21st Century thus far. Could thy Rudd-speak imply anything beyond banning child porn? Could it in fact imply that any website critical of Rudd and Ruddism be instantly labelled 'not Rudd suitable' and so excommunicated by his holiness?
Check out today's ABC news 'Greenlight for internet filter plans' 15th December 2009.
So when can I but my brown shirt and leather sash, Herr Rudd?
Das Goebbels speak is said to save our innocent children from harmful overseas sites which contain criminal content, including child sex abuse and sexual violence.
Sounds noble enough, but Rudd's censorship powers will be in their detail.
Is the Ruddnet being cast wide across a realm he fears he cannot otherwise control -the Internet and Blogosphere? Our Rudd is known for his clandestine flights to Afghanistan, but has he in the wee hours taken off to Fiji to get direct dictator advice on censorship from from neighbouring Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama or even Robert Mugabe?
Father Rudd is unprecedentedly stepping into the role of parental responsibility if people accept the spin that it is only about protecting children. To claim "the Government believes that parents want assistance to reduce the risk of children being exposed to such material" sounds no more than moralistic spin. But it could be read that parents have been found irresponsible and its time government took over parental responsibility!
Is Rudd capitialising on spin of noble child protection while extending Federal censorship to anyone online daring to criticise Rudd, Rudd Policy, Ruddnomics and any Ruddism? Are we about to witness unprecented government censorship on any opposition akin to what Howard and Bush did.
What you can do: Attend an Anti-Internet Censorship meeting (see facebook). When: Monday 21 Dec 09, 7:30 PM; Where: Brisbane Square Library – Community Meeting Room