British government’s Internet censor in child abuse scandal

This video says about itself:

A Simple Question: Internet censorship in the West

10 January 2014

Despite its historic and international reputation for heralding free speech, the United Kingdom has the second strictest censorship of the internet in the European Union.

The UK has a number of laws and policies that restrict the way information can be made public, including some that make it illegal to report on information that the government or corporations are trying to keep secret.

During the London riots, David Cameron ordered the censorship of social networking sites, and his censorship plans have been applauded by China.

Western governments are attempting to put forward laws that further restrict the freedoms of internet usage such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

These are all argued to be internet filtering systems and policies on a national and international level that stifle the ability of internet users to discuss, question and critique and risks the internet becoming a tool of political and economic power for the ruling elite.

In this edition of the show we talk to British public about the Freedom of Information in the West and ask; why do you think Western governments engage in censorship and make it illegal for the public to share certain information?

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Cameron aide arrested over allegations relating to child abuse images

Patrick Rock resigned as deputy head of Downing Street‘s policy last month on day before arrest

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent

Tuesday 4 March 2014

A senior aide to David Cameron resigned from Downing Street last month the day before being arrested on allegations relating to child abuse images.

Patrick Rock, who was involved in drawing up the government’s policy for the large internet firms on online pornography filters, resigned after No 10 was alerted to the allegations.

Rock was arrested at his west London flat the next morning. Officers from the National Crime Agency subsequently examined computers and offices used in Downing Street by Rock, the deputy director of No 10′s policy unit, according to the Daily Mail, which disclosed news of his arrest.

No 10 confirmed on Monday evening that Rock had been arrested. A spokesman: “On the evening of 12 February, Downing Street was first made aware of a potential offence relating to child abuse imagery. It was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency (CEOP).

“The prime minister was immediately informed and kept updated throughout. Patrick Rock was arrested at his home in the early hours of 13 February, a few hours after Downing Street had reported the matter. Subsequently, we arranged for officers to come into No 10 and have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant.

“This is an ongoing investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further, but the prime minister believes that child abuse imagery is abhorrent and that anyone involved with it should be properly dealt with under the law.”

The arrest of Rock, 62, who had been tipped for a Tory peerage, will have come as a severe shock to the PM and the Tory establishment.

Cameron and Rock worked together as special advisers to Michael Howard in his time as home secretary in the mid 1990s. Rock later worked for Lord Patten alongside Cameron’s chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, during his time as a European commissioner in Brussels.

Rock was never a member of Cameron’s innermost circle, whose members are closer to the prime minister’s age. But he was a respected and trusted figure who shared Cameron’s sense of humour.

The Daily Telegraph columnist Benedict Brogan recalled in 2011, when Rock started working in No 10, that he and Cameron repaired to the Two Chairmen pub on the day John Smith died in 1994.

“We both agreed that Blair coming meant that we would be fucked,” he was quoted as saying. Brogan also wrote that Rock coined the phrase: “Cows moo, dogs bark, Labour put up taxes.”

Rock helped to draw up government policy which led to the deal with the internet giants on online filters. Under the deal, all households connected to the internet will be contacted to be asked if they would like the filters installed.

Rock faced embarrassment last year when he was photographed walking up Downing Street clutching a document outlining progress on hundreds of pledges made by the coalition. Ed Miliband said the document, which admitted that some of the 399 pledges had not been met, was an “audit of coalition broken promises“.

Patrick Rock: hard-nosed, influential member of Tory party establishment. The 62-year-old, who has been arrested over allegations relating to child abuse images, was deputy director of policy for No 10: here.

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Australian government censorship about torture

This video from Australia says about itself:

Australia deports Tamil torture victim back to Sri Lanka

2 Aug 2012

On July 26, Tamil refugee Dayan Anthony (formerly known as “Mr X” in Australia in an attempt to protect his identity from Sri Lankan authorities), was deported from Australia. He was handed over to the Sri Lankan intelligence forces – who had held Mr Anthony in custody for years, and had tortured him.

After 16 hours in custody, paraded in front of the media by his captors, he recanted all allegations of torture – despite suffering in Australia from post-traumtic stress found to be from torture, and having suffered a broken back as a result of torture.

Melbourne refugee activists and the Tamil community outline the horror of the Australian government sending a torture victim back to their oppressor – and the battle against such deportations. Get involved with or the refugee action group in your state.

By Mike Head in Australia:

Witch-hunt against Australian ABC escalates over refugee torture allegations

8 February 2014

As evidence continues to emerge indicating that the Australian navy may have assaulted refugees, deliberately causing burns, during operations to force them back to Indonesia, the government is intensifying its witch-hunt of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for reporting the accusations.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday demanded that the ABC apologise for broadcasting video footage of the refugees’ badly burned hands and for suggesting that the injuries supported the allegations initially made by asylum seekers to Indonesian police last month. Abbott accused the ABC for its reporting “in ways that were extremely damaging to the professionalism of our military personnel.”

Defence Minister David Johnston went further yesterday, saying he was “absolutely sick to the stomach that this iconic Australian news agency would attack the navy in the way that it has.” Describing naval personnel as “heroes,” he called for an inquiry into the ABC. At the same time he reiterated the government’s refusal to investigate the mounting evidence. In an extraordinary outburst pointing to the xenophobic nature of the government’s campaign, Johnston told the Australian newspaper that the refugees making the complaints were not “even Australian” and were “desperate people.”

The government’s campaign is aimed at defending its “Operation Sovereign Borders” policy, which is in blatant violation of refugees’ right under international law to flee persecution and oppression. More broadly, Abbott and his colleagues are attempting to bully and threaten anyone who dares call into question the use of the military to trample over fundamental legal and democratic rights.

According to the Australian’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan, the Abbott government has “internalised several lessons” from the October 2001 “children overboard” scandal, in which the previous Liberal-National government of John Howard was exposed, by leaks from sailors themselves, after it falsely claimed that refugees had thrown children into the ocean to force the navy to rescue them. The truth was that the navy, under the government’s order, had fired shots toward their boat, which sank the following day, throwing its passengers into the water (see: “Australian navy opens fire on refugee boat”).

The “children overboard” accusations, which were fully backed by the Labor Party, became a turning point in the demonisation of refugees in the lead-up to the 2001 federal election. However the lies unravelled after the election, severely discrediting Howard’s government. Sheridan said the main political lesson drawn by the Liberal Party was that “everybody started leaking” to the media—a practice that had to stop.

Backed by the corporate media, the government is creating an atmosphere of wartime-like censorship in which any criticism of the military is to be forbidden.

The government’s threats to the ABC have been directly facilitated by figures within the broadcaster itself, most notably Paul Barry, the presenter of ABC TV’s “Media Watch” program. On Monday night, Barry proclaimed that the ABC had “got it wrong” and “over-reached” by “essentially endorsing the allegations of Navy mistreatment.”

Barry’s pronouncement reflects the rightward evolution of a layer of erstwhile liberals, who previously opposed the harsh treatment of refugees. They fell into line with the previous former Gillard Labor government which cynically justified its ramped-up “border protection” regime as a humanitarian policy to prevent people dying while trying to reach Australia’s shores. Now these elements are lurching further to the right.

Barry previously acquired something of a reputation for exposing the machinations of the corporate media, writing books on former media proprietors, Alan Bond and James Packer. Now he has aligned himself with a witch-hunt orchestrated by the same forces.

Fairfax Media, a traditional small “l” liberal platform, also weighed in. A Sydney Morning Herald editorial on January 30 declared that “the ABC’s handling of the ‘burnt hands’ claims was at times boosterish” and “damaged Australia’s reputation in the region.”

Likewise, opposition leader Bill Shorten rushed to declare that the Labor Party supports the military, while criticising the government for making the navy’s job “tougher” by keeping its operations secret. Greens spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young took a similar line, complaining that the government’s secrecy was “tarnishing the navy’s reputation.”

The ABC already functions as a reliable conduit for the Australian corporate and political establishment. It initially declined to report the complaints of burns and torture, which first surfaced on Indonesian news sites on January 7, and were published by Agence France Presse the next day. It was only then that the ABC felt compelled to report them—accompanied by vehement denials by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison of any wrongdoing.

The ABC’s supposed “overreach” occurred on January 22, when it published video footage that it noted “appears to back asylum seekers’ claims of mistreatment by the Australian Navy.”

Following Barry’s “Media Watch” verdict, ABC managing director Mark Scott issued a grovelling statement, saying: “We regret if our reporting led anyone to mistakenly assume that the ABC supported the asylum seekers’ claims.” Head of ABC news content Gaven Morris issued an edict to staff, warning them not to “embellish” or add “any flourish” to claims of mistreatment by “Australian border protection forces.”

None of this satisfied the government or the Murdoch press, which want nothing less than the reduction of the ABC to a pure propaganda outfit, giving unquestioned backing to the military. When Abbott was asked whether the controversy had been ended with the ABC’s statement, he replied: “I wonder why sorry seems to be the hardest word for them.”

The government’s opposition to any investigation of the alleged crimes carried out by the Australian military underscores its readiness to abrogate the most basic democratic and legal rights. Behind a blanket of secrecy, what is happening in the waters off the Australian coast is that some of the most vulnerable members of the international working class are being subjected to military detention, physically abused and dumped at sea in flimsy craft.

This is a warning of the kind of reactionary political atmosphere and methods that the government and the entire media and political establishment are preparing against the working class as a whole. There is not one rule for asylum seekers and another for working people at home.

It is no accident that the other supposed “crime” committed by the ABC was to publish former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s documents. They reveal not just US-backed spying on the people and governments throughout the Asia-Pacific region, but also the police-state surveillance being carried out domestically, with the US and Australian intelligence networks monitoring the phones and social media activity of millions of people.

The Abbott government is drawing up far-reaching budget cuts to social spending and supporting sweeping attacks on jobs, wages and conditions. The brutal treatment of refugees is a warning of the methods that will be used in the future against the resistance of workers and youth to these attacks on living standards.

The author also recommends:

Australian government joins international witch-hunt of Edward Snowden
[3 February 2014]

In an interview with Sydney Morning Herald journalist Michael Bachelard published yesterday, Sudanese refugee Yousif Ibrahim Fasher provided a further eye-witness account detailing Australian naval personnel physically assaulting and punishing asylum seekers who were attempting to reach Australia by boat: here.

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Australian media threatened over Indonesia spying revelations

This video is called Indonesia condemns Australia’s attempt to spy on president.

By Will Morrow in Australia:

Australian public broadcaster threatened over Indonesia spying revelations

25 November 2013

A week after the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) published revelations of Australian spying on the Indonesian president, his wife and high-level government officials, the public broadcaster faces the threat of a witch-hunt similar to that waged in Britain against the Guardian. The newspaper’s offices were subjected to a police raid and its journalists threatened with arrest, after the British government denounced the publication of material leaked by former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Last Tuesday, the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott made a previously scheduled appearance before a Senate estimates hearing.

On behalf of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government, South Australian Liberal Senator Anne Ruston used the opportunity to challenge the broadcaster’s revelations that in 2009, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the equivalent of the NSA, illegally tapped the phones of several figures in Jakarta, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Ruston challenged Scott as to whether it was “a reasonable thing” to publish the story, given that the documents were labelled “top secret.”

Scott was also told to explain exactly when the ABC received the documents from the Guardian, which decided to jointly publish the ASD spying documents. This followed allegations issued by several right-wing media commentators that the ABC waited until the former Labor government lost office in the September 7 election before releasing the material. Scott denied this, stating that the NSA leaks were published within days of the ABC receiving them.

The next day, former Liberal Foreign Minister Alexander Downer furiously denounced the ABC and the Guardian in an op-ed in the Murdoch-owned Australian. He approvingly quoted the head of Britain’s MI6 spy agency saying that Al Qaeda was “lapping up” the Snowden revelations.

The British intelligence chief’s comments were particularly ominous given that the accusations fell under the extremely broad category of “assisting terrorism,” which the Obama administration claims provides it with the authority to illegally detain and assassinate any person. In an attempt to intimidate and criminalise all forms of political dissent, the White House orchestrated the sentencing of whistleblower Chelsea (Bradley) Manning to 35 years in jail for the release of WikiLeaks cables and Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and is seeking similar or worse sentences for Snowden and WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.

Abbott has pointedly refused to issue a public apology or explanation for the spying operations on the Indonesian president. In a carefully-worded statement to parliament last Tuesday, Abbott made it clear that he regarded the ABC-Guardian publications as the problem, not the spying itself. He declared that he “sincerely regret[s] any embarrassment that recent media reports have caused him [Yudhoyono].”

Right-wing media figures in the Murdoch press and other corporate stables have backed the government and urged it to go further. In the Fairfax-owned Australian Financial Review last Friday, Chris Joye denounced the leaking of “lawful communications intercepts programs, which we’ve been undertaking for 70 years” and suggested that the ABC violated Section 79 of the anti-democratic Australian Crimes Act, under which individuals face up to seven years’ imprisonment for publishing official secrets.

Andrew Bolt, radio “shock jock” and blogger with the Murdoch Herald Sun, responded to Joye’s article with the question: “Should Mark Scott and the Guardian Australia’s Katherine Viner not then be charged?… The media, not Abbott, have now damaged our relationship with Indonesia by revealing news against the national interest about activities that were in the national interest.”

The Australian’s Chris Kenny argued the ABC and the Guardian “breached national security for no good end,” while Rita Panahi for the Herald Sun declared that the public broadcaster was “unnecessarily antagonising the Indonesians” and demonstrated a “callous disregard” for the effect of its stories. Fairfax Media’s Miranda Devine declared that “the ABC recklessly provided cover for the Guardian on a story that has damaged Australia,” adding: “If the Abbott government can’t see that the ABC needs reining in now, it never will.”

West Australian Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi called for the ABC to be stripped of a government contract for the Australian Network international television broadcasting service. This demand was enthusiastically welcomed by the Murdoch press, which previously denounced the former Labor government for denying the contract to the part-Murdoch owned Sky News. Bernardi told the Australian: “Given the ABC’s preparedness to publish stolen top-secret documents that impact upon our national security, one needs to question whether they are a suitable organisation to be operating an important diplomatic outreach.”

The ABC responded to the government-media campaign with craven pleas that it had taken into account considerations of the “national interest” and “national security.” Head of policy Alan Sunderland insisted in comments to Crikey that the ABC “always needs to balance the need to publish and broadcast in the public interest with a range of other considerations, including national security.” Managing director Scott told the Senate committee that he had cleared the documents with “appropriate authorities” and redacted some of them in accordance with these authorities’ demands.

The threats against the ABC are intended to intimidate editors and publishers from releasing further documents detailing the criminal operations of the Australian state internationally. The furore over the Indonesian spying affair expresses the Australian ruling elite’s acute concern over the implications of the Snowden leaks for Australian imperialism, both domestically and internationally.

Indonesian President Yudhoyono recalled the country’s ambassador to Australia and formally suspended military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries. The diplomatic tensions have damaged the strategy of US and Australian imperialism to encircle China militarily as part of the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia. Indonesia is vital to these plans due to its possession of key naval shipping lanes that the Obama administration has identified as “choke points” for cutting off Chinese access to raw materials in the event of a war.

At the same time, the Australian ruling elite is acutely aware of the hostility within the Australian population to the electronic surveillance revelations and the widespread support for Snowden and other whistleblowers. Snowden revealed that Australia, as part of the “Five Eyes” alliance with the US, plays an integral role in the Washington-led illegal spying on ordinary people around the world.

Bahrain Internet censorship

This video is called Anonymous – Operation Bahrain #opBahrain.

From ProXPN:

Bahrain Joins the Fray of Countries Planning to Limit Internet Services

August 21, 2013

(PRWEB) August 21, 2013. In an article on July 3rd 2013:, Bahraini communications minister is quoted saying that the Kingdom was to study whether to restrict internet based telecom services.

In the report, Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed al-Khalifa claimed that the decision to study the VOIP was motivated by a variety of risks posed by the technology.

ProXPN has come out strongly in condemning such suggestions by the Bahraini government and others that may follow suit and has urged these governments to allow their citizenry to exercise their browsing liberties and make their own choices on the variety of internet technology services out there going further to call on users to take advantage of the VPN technology which does not allow any dictations on their browsing activities.

ProXPN offers a private internet subset exclusive to users, which comes at no charge through connecting to the internet via a secure ProXPN VPN where any user can access and enjoy a secure and exclusive, seamless online experience.

About proXPN:

Founded in 2009, ProXPN is a leading VPN provider. Unlike other services they offer free accounts. Unlike the SaaS standard practice of time-based free trials, a proXPN free VPN account lasts for life and is limited only by connection speed. proXPN Premium account users enjoy unlimited connection speeds as well as advanced features such as PPTP compatibility for mobile devices and VPN Guard™, proXPN’s method of cutting all data transfer should the VPN connection fail, ensuring all data is encrypted during transmission even if there’s a system error. ProXPN’s firm stance on the importance of individual privacy and security online mirrors public sentiment expressed during debates over SOPA and PIPA.

Read the full story at

Press freedom at risk in Bahrain too: here.

Turkish MPs endorse internet control law: here.

US spy chief to speak about internet security at Dutch conference: here.

Britain: David Cameron’s internet porn filter is the start of censorship creep | Laurie Penny: here.

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Bahrain regime’s Internet censorship

This video about Bahrain is called Zainab Al-Khawaja on Bahrain’s paid Internet trolls.

By Amira Al Hussaini:

New Regulations for Skype and Viber in Bahrain

Posted 25 June 2013 21:28 GMT

“Security considerations” are being cited as reasons behind new regulations which could put an end to the use of popular services such as Skype, WhatsApp, Viber and Tango in Bahrain.

Newspapers quoted Minister of State for Communication Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa as saying new regulations were being introduced for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications, which have become popular across the Gulf region, with millions of users exchanging news, views, photographs, and trivial jokes daily, as well as making free calls and connecting with friends and family. …

Bahrain seems to be taking the cue from Saudi Arabia, which has already banned the use of Viber in the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia blocked the instant messaging application on June 5, 2013, after it threatened to block encrypted communication software, unless it was allowed to spy on users. Other services the Saudi authorities are threatening to block include Skype and mobile messaging service WhatsApp. …

On March 12, the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, Reporters Without Borders named Bahrain as one of five state Enemies of the Internet – “spy states that conduct systematic online surveillance that results in serious human rights violations.”

From TradeArabia:

Minister of State for Communications Affairs Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa confirmed the procedures aimed to prevent breaches of the country’s “moral values and traditions” …

But news of the plan caused shockwaves on Bahrain’s social media websites yesterday with many people fearful that it could lead to their private conversations being monitored.

A Bahraini teenager has been given jail time for a tweet. Sara Yasin looks at how the country has pursued users of the popular social networking site: here.

Bahrain: An Oasis for Torture: here.