Censorship

Censorship exists to some extent in all modern countries, including the U.S.A., the U.K., Germany, France, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. However, it is worse in some countries than in others. A government which censors the information available to its people, other than in a state of national emergency (e.g., a sudden attack by a hostile military force) is a government which seeks to keep the people in a state of ignorance, and should not complain if the people have no loyalty to it.


The Bill of Rights

From the first article of the Bill of Rights

Void where prohibited Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. — The first article of the Bill of Rights


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The full text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is also available (along with the U.N. Convention on Genocide and other human rights documents) at the on-line version of COMMON RIGHTS & EXPECTATIONS.

But in 2005 the UN adopted a resolution including A Universal Ban On Revisionism, in violation of its own Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Censorship in the United States

This is a huge topic. Here we only touch upon it. Americans know little about censorship in America partly because of censorship in America and partly because they mostly don't care to know.

Put briefly, the "official version" of reality in America is a product manufactured by the U.S. government and the U.S. mainstream media, and fed to a (to some extent) unsuspecting public which (mostly) consumes it uncritically (since most people "educated" in the U.S. have never been taught to think critically), thereby making things easier for the ruling elite (easier, that is, for them to pursue their plans for global domination and enslavement of all human beings on the Earth). The successful promulgation of the official version of reality requires the suppression (censorship) of alternative versions.

For an example of a critical assessment of one part of current U.S. official reality, and the defense of an alternative view (never discussed seriously in any government-controlled newspaper or magazine, even those, such as The Nation, which purport to be critical of U.S. government policies), see The World Trade Center Demolition and the So-Called War on Terrorism.

Censorship in America works partly by ignoring whatever is inconsistent with the official story. For example, Michael Meacher, who was environment minister in the U.K. government from May 1997 to June 2003, published in The Guardian (UK) an article entitled "This War on Terrorism is Bogus". You'd think this would be of interest to many Americans, bombarded daily with messages from the Bush Administration about how nobly it is acting to defend Americans from those evil "terrorists" and their "Terror". But almost all Americans never had a chance to read Meacher's article because they never heard about it — it was totally ignored by the mainstream media in the US and in Canada (except for a brief mention in the Toronto Star). Readers of this website can read it here:

Michael Meacher: This War on Terrorism is Bogus



Censorship at Voice of America

Voice of America, a federally supported international broadcasting organization, decided not to air a story that included parts of a rare interview with the leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taleban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, officials said.

The decision came after Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and senior National Security Council officials told the organization's governors that it would be tantamount to granting a platform to terrorists. The governors then told employees to kill the story.

The Taleban had offered the organization an opportunity to interview Mr. Omar, which was done before the governors' orders.

"I was stunned, absolutely stunned," said an agency journalist who asked not to be named. "It goes against every principle of journalistic ethics."

— "Taleban Interview Suppressed", International Herald Tribune, 2001-09-24, p.6.

Perhaps the governors should request an interview with Richard Armitage about his trafficking in heroin (on behalf of the CIA) with warlord Khun Sa in the Golden Triangle (see Bo Gritz Letter to George Bush). Listeners to VOA would no doubt find this very interesting, if they were permitted to hear it.


Censorship of UFO reports

... is the story of how elements of the U.S. government, using standard methods of censorship and propaganda, as well as covert ties to well-known news organizations, attempted to hide the existence and activities of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) from the American public. ...

The author reviews the history of the UFO controversy for evidence of standard censorship methods and shows that, indeed, most of the same censorship techniques employed during other national crises have been applied to managing information about UFOs. This censorship, whether the result of a centrally orchestrated campaign or a remarkable series of coincidences, has made it possible for false and misleading information about UFOs to be foisted on the American public.

The Missing Times : News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-up


A variety of censorship occurs when a "news" source claims to provide information about some subject but actually ignores the important information and presents instead disinformation. A good example of this is the ABC program on UFOs that was aired in March 2005. Read more about this in Dr Steven M. Greer's Peter Jennings Defrauding: Inside the ABC News UFO Documentary Hoax. This is basically the way the US mainstream media works: providing sophisticated (or blatant) disinfo to hide what is really the case.


Self-Censorship in authoritarian societies

One important insight is how hierarchical authoritarian social systems function. Top down directives and commands, especially if they carry the weight of threats of censorship and punishment serve to keep any dissent in check. There is a great deal of self-censorship operating in all institutions in the United States. It is also important to recognize the role of a shared ideology among the decision makers, or perhaps more specifically the role of what social psychologists, in studies of organizational behavior, call "groupthink." Groupthink is decision making characterized by uncritical acceptance of and conformity with the prevailing view. Thus, the will of a few key persons can be spread within and across government agencies.

September 11th And The Bush Administration

See also the book Into the Buzzsaw: "Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press"


Censorship of criticism of Israel

Those who deny (in the words of Robert Fisk) "that the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israel, its use of extrajudicial executions against Palestinian gunmen, the Israeli gunning down of schoolboy stone-throwers, the wholesale theft of Arab land to build homes for Jews, is in some way wrong" would like all criticism of Israel to be labelled as "antisemitic" thus branding the critic's statements as heinous and unworthy of consideration. This is a tactic designed to derail criticism of the actions of a state whose violations of the human rights of Palestinians have made it contemptible in the eyes of the world. Supporters of Israel, unable to refute such criticism, are now trying to make it illegal.

[A proposed] amendment to Title VI of the Higher Education Act ... [whose purpose is] to require denial of federal funds to any university whose faculty or students, perhaps even guest lecturers, make statements that are in any way critical of Israel ... is an echo of Nazi, Communist and other totalitarian forms of censorship. — Terrell E. Arnold: Against The Law To Criticize Israel?

Some claim that the U.S. government has been subverted to serve the interests of Israel.

On October 16, 2004 President Bush signed into law the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act. It establishes a special department within the U.S. State Department to monitor global anti-Semitism, reporting annually to Congress. ...

Here is a list of beliefs or activities the U.S. government now considers anti-Semitic:

1. Any assertion "that the Jewish community controls government, the media, international business and the financial world" is anti-Semitic.

2. "Strong anti-Israel sentiment" is anti-Semitic.

...

14. Alleging that Mossad was behind the 9/11 attack is anti-Semitic.

— Rev. Ted, The Real Motive Behind 'Dept Of Global Anti-Semitism'

See also: The Secret Relationship Between Israel and Oil: What the US Media Hides
But it seems this site has been "disappeared"; read this article here.

Some people (could they be Jews?) want to suppress not only any criticism of Israel, but also any mention of Israel. A philosophy professor has been fired for, among other things, allowing the students in his World Religions class to ask any questions they wish and for permitting discussion of Zionism. Unbelievable? Read about it here.

As noted elsewhere, censorship can be accomplished by suppression of any mention. A blatant example of suppression in the U.S. of unflattering news about Israel is the following. On September 11, 2013 (the 12th anniversary of 9/11), The Guardian (UK) published this article (and, no, the date of publication is not a "coincidence"):

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel

The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals. Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.

News? You betcha! Incredible! Amazing! But do we find any mention of this in two of the major U.S. newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times? Examining the online version of The New York Times for September 11, 12 and 13 reveals no mention of this, and a search for "NSA Israel" (from their home page) does not turn up anything. When we turn to The Washington Post for the same dates there is also no mention of this on their home page. But when we do the same search (from their home page) we find an article, The NSA is sharing data with Israel. Before filtering out Americans’ information.. This in the Technology Section. But not mentioned in the Business Section, despite the high probability that Israel is scanning the unfiltered NSA data for information it can use to compete against U.S. businesses. But since this is unflattering information about Israel, neither of these supposedly prestigious U.S. newspapers sees fit to mention it on their home page.

Further remarks concerning Israel may be found in the section on Zionism.


Censorship of reports of torture

Military autopsy reports provide indisputable proof that detainees are being tortured to death while in US military custody. Yet the US corporate media are covering it with the seriousness of a garage sale for the local Baptist Church. ... Anthony Romero, Executive Director of ACLU stated, "There is no question that US interrogations have resulted in deaths." ACLU attorney Amrit Sing adds, "These documents [in the ACLU report] present irrefutable evidence that US operatives tortured detainees to death during interrogations." ... A Nexus-Lexus search November 30, 2005 of the major papers in the US using the word torture turned up over 1,000 stories in the last 30 days. None of these included the ACLU report as supporting documentation on the issue. — Peter Phillips, Hard Evidence of US Torturing Prisoners to Death Ignored by Corporate Media


Censorship of criticism of the American Diabetes Association

[Steven Cooksey's] website, Diabetes-warrior.net, features several nutritional recommendations as well as many pointed critiques about the ADA’s policies. In a recent post, he rips the ADA and details how he maintained a steady blood sugar without following any of the agency’s guidelines. ... It was that unwavering disdain for the ADA that likely earned him the censor-happy attention of the organization. Earlier this year, Cooksey spoke out against an ADA supporter at a diabetes seminar and, if his website is any indication, it’s not hard to imagine he probably didn’t mince his words. Shortly after the event, though, he received a notice from the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition informing him that, because he was blogging about his positive experience with the Paleo diet and offering up advice to readers and acquaintances, he was illegally giving dietary advice without a proper license. — Drew Bowling, Censored Blogger: "People Need to Know the Truth"


A conspiracy of lies, manipulation and disinformation

At this time in history, it is incomprehensible how a nation can enjoy the benefit of the most sophisticated communications technology in world history and remain so uninformed ... or dumbed down. The policies being carried out by the US government that are destructive, both domestically and around the world, are being conducted under a veil of secrecy. The only possible way this dumbing down or control of information could occur is that it has been socially constructed. It is a conspiracy of lies, manipulation and disinformation which increasing numbers of Americans are aware of and should be calling it treason. — Leuren Morat, THE KISS OF DEATH — NUCLEAR WEAPONS STEALTH TAKEOVER


Censorship of the Report of the League of Arab States Mission to Syria

Or more fully, censorship of the "Report of the Head of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria for the period from 24 December 2011 to 18 January 2012".

An anonymous commentor wrote: "We are being repeatedly lied to about the situation in Syria by our wonderful liberal media. The Arab League Monitors' Report was deliberately not translated into English for fear we might obtain an alternative view." Actually it was translated into English but the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) prevented publication on the Arab League's website and the complicit Western media made no mention of an English translation, effecting censorship by the usual method of simply ignoring what is to be censored.

But it was leaked. Click on this link for the English translation of the Report of the League of Arab States Mission to Syria (a 194 KB PDF file).

In Exposed: The Arab agenda in Syria Pepe Escobar says:

Essentially, the GCC created an Arab League group to monitor what's going on in Syria. The Syrian National Council — based in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries Turkey and France — enthusiastically supported it. ... When the over 160 monitors, after one month of enquiries, issued their report ... surprise! The report did not follow the official GCC line — which is that the "evil" Bashar al-Assad government is indiscriminately, and unilaterally, killing its own people, and so regime change is in order. ...

So the report was either ignored (by Western corporate media) or mercilessly destroyed — by Arab media, virtually all of it financed by either the House of Saud or Qatar [the dominant members of the GCC]. ...

The report is adamant. There was no organized, lethal repression by the Syrian government against peaceful protesters. Instead, the report points to shady armed gangs as responsible for hundreds of deaths among Syrian civilians, and over one thousand among the Syrian army, using lethal tactics such as bombing of civilian buses, bombing of trains carrying diesel oil, bombing of police buses and bombing of bridges and pipelines.

Once again, the official NATO-GCC version of Syria is of a popular uprising smashed by bullets and tanks. Instead, BRICS members Russia and China, and large swathes of the developing world see it as the Syrian government fighting heavily armed foreign mercenaries. The report largely confirms these suspicions.

In early February 2012 the "slaughter" in Syria was usually the lead story on BBC TV. Lies and more lies. The BBC is basically a propaganda and disinformation outlet for the Western imperialist powers.


Further reading:


Censorship in Australia

Those Australians are such an amusing lot.  Can you believe — they allow their government to decide what they are allowed to read!  As if they were children!  Go here to find the details of eight books which are banned in Australia (and there are lots more than these eight).  If I were Australian I'd be pretty pissed off that someone, whether acting with the "authority" (ha!ha!) of the Australian government or not, would try to tell me what books I could or could not read.

The Australian government also bans films — can you believe it?  How pathetic!

The Australian Office of Film & Literature Classification, which is responsible for deciding which books and films should be banned, presents itself as

Informing your choices

Huh? "Informing your Choices"!? A good example of government deception. If the Australian government bans a book or a film then Australians do not have an informed choice as to whether to read that book or see that film, they have no choice, because the government has already chosen to ban it. "Informing your Choices" here really means: "We (your rulers) will choose for you as to whether you should read this book or see this film. Leave it (kiddies) to us. We know what is best for you."

If you wish to read how the Australian government attempts to justify its role as censor then you can read their Publications Guidelines, which states:

The matters to be taken into account in making a decision on the classification of a publication include:
(a) the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults;

Who decides what "a reasonable adult" is? Who decides what these supposed "standards" are? That pathetic excuse for a prime minister, John Howard? Or perhaps some faceless bureaucrat with a psychological problem, afraid of anything which challenges his (or her) concept of "morality"? And these "standards" are then to be imposed upon everyone in Australian society.

Different people, all of them "reasonable adults", may have widely different interests and values. This is a clear case of "the tyranny of the majority" — or actually a tyranny of a minority, since in a pluralistic society no set of "standards" is likely to be those of anything but some minority of the population, which, by means of the Office of Film & Literature Classification, is then able to impose its "standards" on everyone else. So much for freedom in Australia.


Increasingly governments are attempting to prevent public criticism of government policy, even when that criticism is based on scientific evidence. The Australian government is no exception.

Minister denies gagging scientists


Australia, as other Western countries, suffers from a pervasive censorship-by-silence, whereby what is shameful about the country or its government is simply never mentioned in the mainstream media or in polite society. The Australian government's treatment of Australia's original inhabitants, the Aborigines, is shameful. More, it is disgraceful. (The brutality of some thugs in the Australian police force toward aborigines, which I have personally witnessed in the center of Perth in full view of the public, is particularly disgusting.) John Pilger exposed this disgrace in a speech he gave on the occasion of his receiving Australia's human rights prize, the Sydney Peace Prize:

Breaking the Australian Silence


Australian Senate Approves Net Censorship Plan

On 1999-05-26 the Australian Senate approved The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Bill to block information on the Internet. The Australian authorities seem to produce more than their fair share of stupidity. Is it something in the water over there? The fluoride perhaps?

Here is the GILC Member Statement opposing proposal. See also the EF Australia campaign pages.


It took them ten years, but they're finally back:


Censorship of Historian David Irving

Australian Government Denies Right of Expression

The Australian government has refused three times to grant a visa to historian David Irving. Some people in Australia (could they be Jews?) are afraid that if he visits Australia some Australians may hear him speak. With what consequences? Some might begin to think. Oh, horror!

In accordance with the principles of libertarianism enunciated by John Stuart Mill every person has a right to express themselves in public to any others who care to listen to them, provided only that that expression is not an incitement to violence. David Irving's claims that the number of Jews killed by the Nazis has been grossly exaggerated (see also Norman Finkelstein on The Holocaust Industry) is a historical claim, and clearly is not an incitement to violence. Therefore he has a right to speak. By denying him a visa the Australian government is denying him this right, in effect censoring his words before he even has a chance to utter them.

For further details about this matter see: Documents on Free Speech in Australia, and the country's Ban on David Irving. In late 2003 David Irving was finally granted permission to visit Australia to give public talks in defense of his views.

In November 2005 David Irving was arrested in Austria. For links to documents relating to the subsequent 2006 show trial of David Irving in Austria click here. And on the same page are links concerning attempted censorship of any criticism of the official story of "The Holocaust".


Censorship in the United Kingdom

Not many know that in the UK they have the Official Secrets Act. By that Act, the London government has the power, throughout the UK, to order that certain subjects are absolutely forbidden to be discussed. Currently, the forbidden subject is any discussion of possible foul play in the death of Princess Diana and her intended husband Dodi Fayed.

Further than that, any discussion is forbidden about how the Official Secrets Act exactly works. When there is a subject that an editor, publisher, or station manager believes would be covered by the Official Secrets Act, they must immediately inform the London government. And if the London government issues what they call a "D Notice," then these media outlets throughout the UK are not only forbidden to go forward with any story that they're working on; but also, the D Notice serves as a potential seizure: it authorizes the UK, through their various operatives, to immediately seize and close down any printing plant that is in the process of printing such a story, any radio station, or any radio or TV transmitter. They are immediately seized by the London government, closed down, and the publisher, the editor, and the key personnel (including the writer of the story) are immediately put under arrest.

And the worst part of it is, the rest of the media is not even allowed to mention that these people have been arrested and their publishing and transmitting facilities seized. In other words, it is forbidden to discuss the D Notice and also forbidden to discuss the technical operation of the Official Secrets Act. So, there is censorship regarding the instruments of censorship.

— Sherman Skolnick: U.K., French, Journalists Confide: "PRINCESS DIANA WAS ASSASSINATED."

For more on this subject see: The D Notice

Other relevant documents:

The D-notice apparently is used also in Australia.

Censorship is not only practised by governments and other organizations. Individuals in a position to affect what the public hears also sometimes attempt to suppress free speech. A recent example is the attempt to prevent David Icke from publicly expressing his views in Canada and in the U.K. regarding a conspiracy of reptilian aliens attempting to control the world. Weird, bizarre, yes. True? You decide. But you can do so (in an informed and intelligent manner) only if you are first permitted to hear what he has to say.

September 28, 2000

NEW VENUE FOR CANCELLED BIRMINGHAM EVENT

A new venue has been secured for the all-day talk by David Icke in Birmingham, England. It will now take place on Sunday, October 22nd [2000].

This follows the banning of David Icke by the local council from speaking at the original venue at Stourbridge Town Hall, where, ironically, he has spoken before with no problem. The difference this time, of course, is that a diatribe of abuse sent by Richard Warman of the Canadian "Greens" can make a council pull an event and deny the freedom of the people they are paid to represent from making their own choice.

— from David Icke's website

And, of course, the BBC practices censorship by suppressing or distorting news which is not to the liking of the UK and US governments. A good example is the way the BBC pussyfooted around the American use of white phosphorus (a chemical weapon when used against people) in the attack on Fallujah. For further information see:

And the way the BBC reports the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a textbook example of disinformation.

It does the same for the Iraq War.

The BBC does not primarily "report the news"; rather it attempts to control the minds of its listeners by spinning its reports and whitewashing the crimes of the US and the UK.

You've heard how big bad China censors requests for pages on Wikipedia, right? Did you know that the UK does the same?

The U.S., British, Australian, Iranian and Chinese governments (and others) are moving toward a degree of control over the Internet such that they can make "disappear" anything they dislike, and what they dislike most is any information which will reduce their control over the thoughts and actions of the common people.


Censorship in Germany

Publicly challenging Jewish "Holocaust" claims will lead to a prison sentence in most Western countries. And truth is no defense. The mere revealing of the lies and their machinations is deemed antiSemitic, you see. In fact, attempting to defend oneself against these charges in court, once one is charged in some countries, such as Germany, will result in fresh charges being filed. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Repeating the offensive statements in court is a separate offense! — Edgar J. Steele, The Truth Shall Make You Mad

Steele is not making this up. The lawyer of a person on trial in Germany for the "crime" of denying that six million Jews were killed during WW II cannot defend his client without himself being subject to prosecution under the same law. This is the case with the retrial of Frederick Toben. The judge in this case (Judge Adam) refuses to accept the defendant's choice of lawyer (Horst Mahler) but has ordered another lawyer (Michael Rosenthal) to act as defense lawyer. Mr Rosenthal has said that if forced to do so he would simply sit in the courtroom and say nothing, since to say anything in defense of his client would make him liable for prosecution.

For more on this topic see Ernst Zündel and the Zündel Heresy Trial.

Articles on other websites concerning censorship in Germany:


Censorship in France


Serendipity banned at Wikipedia

If you try to add a link on any page of Wikipedia to any page on this website you will receive this message:
"http://www.serendipity.li
... is currently blocked."
It is so amusing to discover that Serendipity is banned at Wikipedia. Hilarious! What are the administrators there afraid of? Are they afraid of the revelation of the Truth About Wikipedia, namely, that it is no more than a propaganda machine cunningly disguised (with the unwitting help of thousands of well-meaning ordinary editors) as an online encyclopedia?

Or perhaps Wikipedia is run by Zionists, who dislike Serendipity's page on Zionism or its page on Israel as a Terrorist State. Or perhaps, since most of Wikipedia's administrators are Americans, they dislike Serendipity's characterization of the U.S.A. [also as] a Terrorist State. Or perhaps, since Wikipedia's administrators are shills for the official story of 9/11, they don't like it that Serendipity exposes the events of 9/11 as a hoax and as an inside job, thus making them look like the liars and fools that they are.

Serendipity has over 1100 web pages, and the administrators at Wikipedia have not only used their god-like powers to ban all of them (regardless of how relevant they may be to pages at Wikipedia) but have also banned any web page which may ever be published on this site. Of course, the author of this website is not the only person whose writings have been censored at Wikipedia. There are several others (probably very many), as you can read at Censorship at Wikipedia.

As an amusing exercise try adding a link to this website at Wikipedia's Serendipity (disambiguation) page. Serendipity, a website with many users, loved by some, hated by others, is apparently less 'notable' in the eyes of Wikipedia's administrators than an episode of some TV series. That disambiguation page, of course, only lists articles on Wikipedia. But some websites have articles about them, for example, Cryptome. Try creating an article about this website and see how far you get.


Internet Censorship

Many countries — including the UK — use filtering systems to limit access to outlawed material: in the UK the independent Internet Watch Foundation lists sites internet service providers (ISPs) are asked to block. The list is secret, and frequently updated.Google and Yahoo criticise Australia's 'heavy-handed' internet filter plans

Say NO to net censorship. In "Act Locally to Fight Net Censorship" Rich Burroughs interviews Jon Lebkowsky; an article from Cause for Alarm, May 1996.

If "act locally" becomes the net.activist's meme of choice in late 1996, it will be largely due to the efforts of Jon Lebkowsky, among others. ... Why is Lebkowsky all riled up? "The Exon bill, from which the CDA evolved, hit me pretty hard," he said. "I realized that ... repressive political groups were organizing effectively while progressives and civil libertarians were in disarray."

Another vocal defender of freedom of speech on the Internet is Declan McCullagh. Many of his articles are archived at the EFF "Declan McCullagh Publications" Archive. Notable among these is the article he wrote with Brock Meeks:

Keys to the Kingdom

Banned by Cyber Patrol This article, which won the top award for "Best Online Feature" from the Computer Press Association, exposes the hidden agendas of so-called blocking software programs. The CPA judges said that this article reveals:

that parental control software — which ostensibly filters out pornographic Internet sites — actually restricts access to all types of material both innocuous and important. Thus, software users unwittingly restrict their rights of free speech and access to information.

Global Internet Liberty Campaign Censorware: A Post-CDA Solution?

Barry Steinhardt: Open letter to the Internet community concerning the recent White House "Summit" on Internet content rating and filtering.

ACLU white paper: Fahrenheit 451.2: Is Cyberspace Burning?
How Rating and Blocking Proposals May Torch Free Speech on the Internet

Blacklisted by Cyber Patrol
A report from The Censorware Project.

Jonathan Wallace: The X-Stop Files
"Self-proclaimed library-friendly product blocks Quakers, free speech and gay sites."

Jonathan Wallace: Congress' Censorware Boondoggle

Nancy Willard: Filtering Software: The Religious Connection

The delegation of responsibility for making decisions about the appropriateness of information for students to filtering companies when there is evidence of affiliations with conservative religious organizations that may be affecting blocking decisions and when there is no mechanism in place to ensure the constitutional rights of students to access information are protected raises significant concerns that must be addressed.

Liz Burbank: The US "war on the internet"


SOPA: the Latest Attempt at Internet Censorship

SOPA is legislation currently (December 2011) working its way through the U.S. Congress, which would effectively enable anyone with a grudge against any website to attempt to have it shut down. See SOPA Is "Unconstitutional", Would "Criminalize" the Internet ... Modeled On China, from which the following is taken:

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe is one of the top constitutional experts in the country, and wrote one of the main treatises on the subject. Tribe wrote a letter [archived here] to Congress last week stating that SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) is unconstitutional.

As The Hill notes [Legal expert says online piracy bill is unconstitutional]:

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law expert at Harvard Law School, argues [SOPA] violates the First Amendment in a memo sent to members of Congress on Thursday.

The bill would empower the Justice Department and copyright holders to demand that search engines, Internet providers and payment processors cut ties with websites "dedicated" to copyright infringement.

Tribe argues the bill amounts to illegal "prior restraint" because it would suppress speech without a judicial hearing.


Censorship of Essay Against Genocide

One of the means whereby censorship occurs is the refusal by publishers to publish information and commentary which are embarrassing to the powers that be.  An example of this is the censorship of the essay against genocide written by John Bart Gerald.
I began submitting the essay in 1992. Through thirty-five years of submitting my writings for publication, and often of controversial material, I was never treated as badly. Submissions were returned unacknowledged, or with undated form letters, or "lost" requiring re-submission, or my submission was ignored until I telephoned and pressed for some response. Sequential submissions require a rapid reading for timely issues. Submissions to Harper's, for example, where my writings had previously appeared, took nearly eight months before the piece was rejected. Beyond my own chances to put food on the table, the shut out suggested a wider policy that would attempt to ignore the Convention on Genocide and its applicability to American actions.  — J. B. Gerald: Suppression of the Convention on Genocide: Personal Encounters


Illegal Information?

Stop Senate Bill 1428

Lycaeum's home page has been blackened in protest of legislation currently working its way through the US Senate. The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999, led by Senators Hatch and Feinstein, would effectively end free speech on the Internet under the guise of protecting people from methamphetamine. Publishing drug information on the Internet would become a felony, punishable by up to ten years in federal prison. Simply linking to a web site containing drug information will also become a crime ... This is a misguided attempt to suppress the truth in a war where disinformation, censorship, and outright lies are too often the prohibitionists' main tools. If this bill becomes law, sites such as the Lycaeum and Erowid could disappear from the web entirely, and the door to further censorship on the Internet will be wide open. — http://crystalmeth.amphetamine.com


Operation Mockingbird


Project Censored

Censorship has been present in the U.S.A. for quite a while, but of course the mainstream media do not report it (since they collaborate in it). Project Censored (at Sonoma State University) has for several years given publicity to news stories of great interest to the American public which, for some strange reason, don't seem to get much attention in the mainstream press. See, for example:

The top 25 censored news stories in 1998:

#1: SECRET INTERNATIONAL TRADE AGREEMENT UNDERMINES THE SOVEREIGNTY OF NATIONS
#2: CHEMICAL CORPORATIONS PROFIT OFF BREAST CANCER
#3: MONSANTO'S GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEEDS THREATEN WORLD PRODUCTION
#4: RECYCLED RADIOACTIVE METALS MAY BE IN YOUR HOME
#5: U. S. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION LINKED TO THE DEATHS OF A HALF A MILLION CHILDREN
#6: UNITED STATES NUCLEAR PROGRAM SUBVERTS U.N.'S COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY
#7: GENE TRANSFERS LINKED TO DANGEROUS NEW DISEASES
#8: NO MERCY FOR WOMEN AS CATHOLIC HOSPITAL MERGERS
#9: U. S. TAX DOLLARS SUPPORT DEATH SQUADS IN CHIAPAS
#10: ENVIRONMENTAL STUDENT ACTIVISTS GUNNED DOWN ON CHEVRON OIL FACILITY IN NIGERIA

and The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003:

#1: The Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance
#2: Homeland Security Threatens Civil Liberty
#3: US Illegally Removes Pages from Iraq U.N. Report
#4: Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists
#5: The Effort to Make Unions Disappear
#6: Closing Access to Information Technology
#7: Treaty Busting by the United States
#8: US/British Forces Continue Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Despite Massive Evidence of Negative Health Effects
#9: In Afghanistan: Poverty, Women's Rights, and Civil Disruption Worse than Ever
#10: Africa Faces Threat of New Colonialism
#11: U.S. Implicated in Taliban Massacre
#12: Bush Administration Behind Failed Military Coup in Venezuela
#13: Corporate Personhood Challenged
#14: Unwanted Refugees a Global Problem
#15: U.S. Military's War on the Earth
#16: Plan Puebla-Panama and the FTAA
#17: Clear Channel Monopoly Draws Criticism
#18: Charter Forest Proposal Threatens Access to Public Lands
#19: U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro: Another Reason for the Invasion of Iraq
#20: Pentagon Increases Private Military Contracts
#21: Third World Austerity Policies: Coming Soon to a City Near You
#22: Welfare Reform Up For Reauthorization, but Still No Safety Net
#23: Argentina Crisis Sparks Cooperative Growth
#24: Aid to Israel Fuels Repressive Occupation in Palestine
#25: Convicted Corporations Receive Perks Instead of Punishment

Stephen Lendman: Reviewing Project Censored's Latest [2008-2009] Top 25 Censored Stories

#1: US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street
#2: US Schools Are More Segregated Today than in the 1950s
#3: Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates
#4: Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina
#5: Europe Blocks US Toxic Products
#6: Lobbyists Buy Congress
#7: Obama's Military Appointments Have Corrupted Pasts
#8: Bailed Out Banks and America's Wealthiest Cheat IRS Out of Billions
#9: US Arms Used for (Israel's) War Crimes in Gaza
#10: Ecuador Declares Foreign Debt Illegitimate
#11: Private Corporations Profit from the Occupation of Palestine
#12: Mysterious Death of Mike Connell — Karl Rove's Election Thief
#13: Katrina's Hidden Race War
#14: Congress Invested in Defense Contracts
#15: World Bank's Carbon Trade Fiasco
#16: US Repression of Haiti Continues
#17: The ICC Facilitates US Covert War in Sudan
#18: Ecuador's Constitutional Rights of Nature
#19: Bank Bailout Recipients Spent to Defeat Labor
#20: Secret Control of the Presidential Debates
#21: Recession Causes States to Cut Welfare
#22: Obama's Trilateral Commission Team
#23: Activists Slam World Water Forum as a Corporate-Driven Fraud
#24: Dollar Glut Finances US Military Expansion
#25: Fast Track Oil Exploitation in Western Amazon


For information about books which were banned (perhaps some still are) but which are now available online see:

BANNED BOOKS ON-LINE


Sex, Laws and Cyberspace

Book This is a low volume mailing list concerning free speech issues in cyberspace. It is produced by Jonathan Wallace and Mark Mangan, the authors of Sex, Laws, and Cyberspace (Holt, 1996) and the CDA pages.

To subscribe send email to Jonathan Wallace, jw@bway.net.

See also Jonathan Wallace's analysis of the CDA decision:

EXTINGUISHING THE CDA FIRE:
The Supreme Court's Masterful Reno v. ACLU Opinion


The CIA and the Attempted
Suppression of "The Crimes of Mena"

The CIA has an active censorship program. See:

An attempt was made to suppress the publication in the Washington Post of an article by Sally Denton and Roger Morris called "The Crimes of Mena". This article concerned a CIA agent by the name of Barry Seal who was murdered in 1986 by agents of the Medellin drug cartel. Seal smuggled tons of cocaine into Mena, Arkansas, and had close links to the CIA. Someone did not want this story published.

The attempt at suppression of this article did not succeed — indeed it simply drew more attention to it. It was published in Penthouse magazine, and it is now available here on Serendipity:


The Fight Censorship Mailing List

This is a mailing list maintained by Declan McCullagh. The following appeared in June 1997 in a discussion of a sensationalist anti-net article in the New York Times:


Very few 'pro internet' stories deal with the REAL benefits of the Internet
— the breakup of the media monopoly, the 'everyone is a reader, everyone
is a writer' concept, the building of communities of interest rather than
coincidence. We all know about children meeting Evil Predators on the net
— why not stories about children meeting mentors, teachers, or counselors?
Rather than "My wife left me for her cyberlover!", why not "I met my wife
thanks to our shared interest in barbed-wire collecting"?

Let's look at that drug story. Why not write it like this?
====================================================
"After decades of getting only one side of the story from teachers,
government, and a lapdog media, teenagers are now able to easily access
both pro- and anti- drug information on the Internet, and chat with each
other about their drug experiences in secure anonymity, permitting them to
make up their own minds on this complex issue.

Because Internet access is so inexpensive, people do not need the support
of advertisers or subscribers to post any information they wish — so views
outside the mainstream, which would never be aired in traditional forums,
can reach anyone with a modem, anywhere in the world. Further, the
interactive nature of the net makes it easy for people on all sides of a
debate to fire off points and counterpoints, so that the audience (who can
become participants at will) can make up their own minds, ask questions,
and raise issues that neither side might choose to raise on their own.

"It's wonderful for kids", says Mr. Fictional, teacher at Utopia Public
School. "We don't want them to 'Say No to Drugs' out of fear or ignorance,
but out of a reasoned understanding of the harm drugs can do to them — and
that means they need to get the facts, not a lot of scare tactics. The
government would never let us teach the 'straight dope', if you will, but
we can turn kids on to the net and let them learn for themselves."
====================================================

There. There's all the "facts" — but a very different spin, no?


Pastor Niemöller Quote

The following is reproduced here because of its relevance to this critical moment in history. This is adapted from a statement by a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps (Pastor Martin Niemöller).

First they came for the hackers.
But I never did anything illegal with my computer, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the pornographers.
But I thought there was too much smut on the Internet anyway, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the anonymous remailers.
But a lot of nasty stuff gets sent from anon.penet.fi, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the encryption users.
But I could never figure out how to work PGP anyway, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

— Alara Rogers, Aleph Press


In September 1996 anon.penet.fi ceased operations (as a result of attempts by the Scientology organization to force the operator to reveal the identity of people who had posted anonymously certain documents concerning that organization).


Censorship and the "War on Terrorism"

In response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon President George W. Bush announced a "war on terrorism" and told the American people that they have to sacrifice their civil liberties in support of his "war", which most people seem willing, sheep-like, to do. A tidal wave of jingoism has engulfed the U.S., and any criticism of the President or the U.S. is deemed "unpatriotic" and is often punished by loss of employment.

But a war requires an identifiable enemy.  A war is a war between two or more opposing sides.  A "war" in which one side is invisible, such as this "war on terrorism", is a fantasy — a pretext to restrict civil liberties, to impose censorship and to engage in other activities not acceptable in a democratic society in peacetime.


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