Dictator Sisi, resign, Egyptians say

This June 2014 video from the USA is called Egypt Has A New Dictator.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 23 June 2018:

In Egypt, hundreds of thousands of people on Twitter have called on President Sisi to leave. At the beginning of the afternoon nearly 300,000 people had already asked for his resignation. Some 50,000 others expressed support for the dictator.

The hashtag ‘Sisi_Leave‘ came up after new price increases, which were announced during the Sugar Festival, the end of Ramadan. Apparently the government hoped with his timing that this would limit the discontent.

But the authorities did not count on the frustration caused by the elimination of the Egyptian football team at the World Cup. The Egyptian national football team was bound to go home after two games, after defeats against Uruguay and Russia, while expectations were high because Egypt has the star player Mohammed Salah. After the second defeat of Egypt things suddenly went fast with the hashtag calling on Sisi to resign.

The protests on Twitter are remarkable. Since Sisi is in power, street protests are being suppressed and there is also censorship on the Internet, where hundreds of websites have been removed from cyberspace.

The government has been cutting back for years. In the hope of giving life to the moribund economy, subsidies on fuel, food, water and electricity are reduced.


Sisi as the army leader put an end to the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, which came to power in 2011 after democratic elections, but since then seemed to be heading for an authoritarian regime. …

After a constitutional amendment, Sisi was elected president in 2014. Despite the semblance of democracy, he rules as a dictator and has jailed thousands of critics of his regime, not just Islamists, but also liberals, socialists and other secular opponents.

Sisi has called on the population to endure the hardships. “If we want to become a real nation, we have to endure the pain and misery, and we have to pay the price together.” In a country where income differences are large and large parts of the population are dependent on food subsidies, that is a difficult message.


More government Internet censorship in Britain

This video says about itself:

‘Enemy of the Internet’ – UK accused of mass surveillance & censorship

5 April 2014

Reporters Without Borders have branded the UK an ‘Enemy of the Internet’ for their mass surveillance and censorship programmes, the first time they have appeared on the list. Appearing alongside countries such as China, Iran and North Korea, the UK was criticised for mass surveillance of nearly a quarter of the world’s communications. And the report also said they confused journalists with terrorists.

By Simon Whelan in Britain:

British government extends censorship of online activity

16 June 2018

One year on from the June 2017 attack by Islamist terrorists at London Bridge, Conservative Home Secretary Sajid Javid used the anniversary to announce new authoritarian and anti-democratic “counter-terrorism” powers.

The measures incorporate “the lessons learnt from the attacks in 2017 and our responses to them,” he said. One of the key lessons learnt, he said, was that the authorities could “do better” in sharing information more widely and locally.

The WSWS has noted the intense collusion between British security services and Islamist terror groups. What is clear from the evidence that emerged in the aftermath of last year’s terror attacks is that the reason they were not prevented from their brutal assault was not due to “intelligence” failures.

Rather, there is evidence that the British security services were entirely aware of the activity of the terror cell who carried out the London bridge attack. In the case of the suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, British intelligence knew the bomber and his immediate relatives as members of a Libyan Islamist group they backed to depose the Gaddafi regime in Tripoli.

The real target of Javid’s measures are the democratic rights of working people.

In order to share information, the home secretary announced that local authorities, community police forces and probation officers will be allowed—for the first time—to see declassified intelligence about terror suspects in a pilot scheme to be run initially in London, the West Midlands and Manchester.

Javid declared these new and intrusive measures—whereby the British state accrues ever more dictatorial domestic and international powers—would be used to tackle the dangers presented simultaneously by Islamic terrorism, far-right terrorism and the Russian state.

“The threat to the UK today remains at severe—meaning an attack is highly likely” Javid announced ominously in the speech. The terror attacks in Manchester and at London Bridge, the slaying of Labour MP Jo Cox … together with the alleged nerve gas attack by Russian actors upon Sergei and Yulia Skripal, were meshed together in order to stampede public opinion behind the further erosion of democratic rights.

Immediately after telling the public they cannot be protected from an attack by terrorists, Javid revealed, “Our security and intelligence agencies are, right now, handling over 500 live operations, they have 3,000 ‘subjects of interest.’ And there are a further 20,000 people who have previously been investigated, so they may still pose a threat.”

The personal information held by MI5 on 20,000 British “suspected” citizens is to be declassified and shared with local authorities, police “and others.”

About the thousands of additional suspects, Javid said, “This is not about people who are the hardened attack planners, out there plotting or being active right now,” before adding, “That will remain predominantly the preserve of the intelligence services and the specialist policing.”

Who are these 20,000 people? What exactly are they meant to have done? Why they are they being targeted? Upon whose say so? Upon what evidence? Exactly where and when are declassified details about the 20,000, and the personal information held on them, to be shared with local authorities, police “and others”?

In addition to creating a new layer of state surveillance, the government expects to increase their cooperation even further with the private sector. As is de rigueur ministerial custom, Javid fawned over big business and their role in censoring the Internet, stating, “As someone with a private sector background myself, I understand that government cannot deal with these kinds of challenges alone. I’m committed to improving how we work with businesses across a range of issues.”

Consequently, the role and responsibilities of technology companies to police the Internet and social media will increase even further. The giant tech corporations will be granted greater responsibility to tackle cases of whatever is deemed as “extremist” online activity, either by the state or increasingly by the self-imposed censorship of the technology corporations.

Javid also called for greater cooperation with small businesses to identify what he described as “worrying buying-patterns.” In addition to increasing the powers of the state and big business to monitor the online activities of all, the government is recruiting small businesses, such as car and van hire companies and various shops, to pitch in and report any assorted petty suspicions they may have.

The response from government for more teachers, nurses and ambulance crews are met with a constant refrain of “there is no money.” Nevertheless, there is an open spigot of funding for the security services to employ vast numbers of spooks to spy on the British public.

Javid said, “In the 2015 Spending Review, this government committed to spending more than £2 billion on counter-terrorism each year. We’re giving counter-terrorism policing a £50 million increase in funding this year—to over three quarters of a billion pounds. And we’re recruiting over 1,900 additional staff across the security and intelligence agencies to improve our response still further.”

Javid also used the opportunity to reaffirm the government’s support for the reactionary and widely despised “Prevent” programme, which criminalises students’ opposition to militarism and makes teachers and lecturers akin to spies in their day-to-day employment. MI5 will apparently warn teachers and police about those it deems suspected “child militants.”

Under the changes proposed by the home secretary, the offence of possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist—the parameters of which have been deliberately left open—would be extended to apply to material viewed online three or more times. The maximum penalty for this offence would be increased from 10 to 15 years in prison.

Certain material freely available to view online will be reclassified as illegal on government say so. Anyone viewing it can be punished under the crude and arbitrary “three strikes & you’re out” policy.

The scope to extend these measures beyond what the government currently deems subversive and politically dangerous is wide open to future redefinition.

In October 2017, MI5 head Andrew Parker grossly exaggerated the threat posed by Islamist terrorism when he claimed that threats were “at the highest tempo I have seen in my 34-year career.” Likewise, the military/intelligence complex and the government are exploiting the actions of a handful of known Islamist extremists and right-wing thugs to strengthen the state in anticipation of an eruption of the class struggle.

The press release issued by the government to accompany Javid’s speech stated, “Responding to the recommendations of MI5 and the counter-terrorism police Operational Improvement Review into the 2017 terrorist attacks,” “new multi-agency approaches—initially in London, Manchester and the West Midlands—involve MI5 and the police using and sharing information more widely, working with partners such as local authorities to improve our understanding of those at risk of involvement in terrorism and enable a wider range of interventions” (emphasis added).

Trump’s Big Bother anti-immigrant witch-hunt

This video from the USA says about itself:

ICE Teams Up With Big Brother

7 June 2018

ICE is watching you. Ana Kasparian, Kim Horcher, and Mark Thompson, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has signed a $2.4 million contract with a little-known surveillance company that mines communications data and provides “real-time” tracking.

Data published on the U.S. government’s spending website shows the Department of Homeland Security contracted Pen-Link Ltd. (PenLink), a software company that develops communications surveillance collection systems, on June 4 with ICE listed as the contracting subagency.

PenLink provides software that allows enforcement bodies to collect and analyze “massive amounts of social media and internet communications data”, as well as collect wiretap intercepts “in real-time” for “tracking” and “live monitoring”, according to its website.

Julian Sanchez, a privacy and surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, said the company appears to specialize in telephone data analysis and geolocation data mining and tracking that could potentially determine where people are “within a block” of a cell tower.”

Read more here.

On Tuesday, some 200 agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) carried out Gestapo-style raids on two workplaces in northern Ohio. The heavily armed border agents arrested 114 people, including children and US citizens. Shocked and outraged co-workers shouted at the border police to let the arrested workers go, to no avail. By a single act of mass terror, the US government shattered the lives of hundreds of parents, children, spouses and siblings: here.

French President Macron’s Internet censorship plans

This 18 June 2017 video is called Theresa May & Emmanuel Macron Scheme To Censor Internet.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Anti-“fake news” bill gives French state unchecked Internet censorship powers

8 June 2018

On Thursday, the National Assembly began debating French President Emmanuel Macron’s draconian bill empowering the state to censor the Internet during the three months prior to any national election. The bill marks a vast new attack on freedom of speech, amid a wave of threats to Internet freedom worldwide based on the pretext of fighting “fake news”.

The bill would allow candidates and political parties to take articles and Internet statements to court, where judges could force Internet service providers to censor material by declaring that they believed it to be “fake news”. Due to the French president’s broad powers to name and control the promotion of top magistrates, the French judiciary is widely acknowledged to be dependent on the executive. The bill thus places enormous power over the Internet in the hands of the president.

The bill defines “fake news” not as information that is false, but as “any allegation or implying of a fact without providing verifiable information that makes it plausible.”

This anti-democratic definition poses vast dangers to legitimate journalism and political activity by removing any obligation on the state to prove that a statement is, in fact, false and harmful before taking legal action to suppress it. It lets judges order that legally protected speech be censored simply by asserting that they personally do not believe it to be convincing. It also allows judges to censor any article based on confidential sources such as whistleblowers on the grounds that the information contained in the article is not “verifiable.”

The bill grants the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) powers to censor and suspend television stations that are “controlled by a foreign state or under its influence.” This paves the way for the banning of media outlets such as the Russian state-backed RT and Sputnik.

While the bill purports to limit its reach to the three months before elections, a press campaign is underway to demand that no time limit be placed on these powers. When asked by “20 Minutes” whether he supported the bill, Sorbonne Professor François Jost replied: “The real question is why would this law go into effect only during election campaigns… Claiming that you can just tell any old lie at a certain time but not at another is absurd.”

In France, opposition parties across the spectrum of official politics have criticized Macron’s bill, aware not only that censorship is unpopular, but also that Macron could turn it against them. … [French communist party] deputy Elsa Faucillon warned that it “set up the idea of an official truth.” Right-wing parliamentarian Christian Jacob said Macron was establishing “thought police.”

The bill moves France toward a situation where the state can censor the Internet at will. The justification advanced by Macron and his supporters in an attempt to give the bill a quasi-democratic veneer is the claim that Macron suffered intolerable damage to his reputation when his electoral rival in last year’s presidential run-off, Le Pen, alleged in a TV debate that Macron had a hidden offshore bank account in the Bahamas. This is a cynical pretext and political lie.

Le Pen’s allegation did not do significant damage to Macron. Voters largely shrugged it off and Macron won the election by a large margin. Now, however, broad sections of the press are trying to whip up outrage at the fact that a neo-fascist made an unsourced accusation to justify an attack on the freedom of expression of the entire population.

France does not need to pass a new law to make publishing false and defamatory statements illegal. An 1881 law already provides for heavy fines for making such statements.

What is driving Macron’s moves to censor the Internet is not outrage at a few statements by Le Pen or RT, but fear of the growth of social anger and anti-war sentiment. Ruling circles want to dictate the political views to which masses of workers have access. This drive to remove oppositional information and opinions from social media and the Internet has taken its most virulent form in the collaboration of US tech firms such as Google and Facebook with the US government.

On April 25 of last year, Google publicly announced that it would implement an algorithm to exclude “fake news” from its search results and then blacklisted socialist and anti-war web sites, including the World Socialist Web Site. It refused to respond to press inquiries, including from the New York Times, as to whether it was deliberately targeting the WSWS, whose traffic coming from Google searches plummeted. However, later that year Google executives publicly boasted that they aimed to “improve” search results by blocking material from RT and Sputnik News.

At the beginning of 2018, Facebook announced that it would de-prioritize political news on its user feeds in favor of “personal moments.” It said this would make Facebook “good for your well-being and for society.”

French officials planning mass Internet censorship are no less terrified of public opinion. As Macron was preparing his censorship bill earlier this year, a press campaign erupted denouncing the French people for believing in “conspiracy theories”. The so-called “conspiracy theory” that angered the press the most was the belief that NATO governments, including that of France, work with the Islamist networks that carried out terror attacks in Paris in 2015 and elsewhere in Europe since then.

That US and European intelligence agencies have poured billions of dollars into the arming of Islamist militias that serve as proxies in their war for regime-change in Syria is, however, not a paranoid “conspiracy theory” or “fake news” produced by “Kremlin trolls”, but a widely-reported fact.

Official circles are concerned that broader and broader layers of the public are concluding that the “war on terror” and the French state of emergency imposed after the terror attacks are based on lies. Mass protests erupted in Barcelona last year shortly after the terror attack there, in which demonstrators denounced Madrid’s complicity with the terrorists.

Macron’s moves to censor the Internet are directly bound up with this growth of political opposition and a revival of class struggle. Mass strikes have broken out against Macron’s austerity policies among rail, airline and energy workers … . Strikes are breaking out across Europe, from teachers and rail workers in Britain to airline workers in Spain and metal and autoworkers in Germany and Turkey.

The United States has seen a wave of teachers’ strikes and protests organized by rank-and-file educators …

Fifty years after the May-June 1968 general strike brought French capitalism to the verge of collapse, the ruling class again lives in fear. Macron is well aware of the findings of the European Union’s “Generation What” poll. It showed that after a decade of austerity, over 60 percent of youth in Europe are ready to participate in a “mass uprising” against the established order. Moreover, two thirds of the French population say the class struggle is a daily reality of life—20 percent more than on the eve of the 1968 general strike.

Under such conditions, imperialist policy makers and strategists increasingly view public opinion in military terms. One EU strategist wrote four years ago that since “the percentage of the population who [are] poor and frustrated will continue to be very high, the tensions between this world and the world of the rich [will] continue to increase, with corresponding consequences. Since we will hardly be able to overcome the origin of this problem… i.e., the functional defects of society, we will have to protect ourselves more strongly.”

Macron’s attempt to censor the Internet in the guise of fighting “fake news” is a key part of the desperate, anti-democratic maneuvers of the ruling elite as it seeks to save itself from the growing threat of social revolution.

The author also recommends:

Amid state censorship campaign, French media denounce “conspiracy theories”
[21 January 2018]

Despite rising social opposition after both houses of parliament voted to privatize the French National Railways (SNCF), French President Emmanuel Macron plans to intensify austerity and develop closer ties with the far right. This is what emerged from Macron’s speech to French health insurers in Montpellier on Wednesday and then during a trip to Vendée to meet far-right royalist politician Philippe de Villiers: here.

Facebook censoring non-corporate media voices

This Sky News TV video says about itself:

Facebook Vietnam War Photo Censorship

9 September 2016

The row began when the social media site deleted the iconic Vietnam War photo because it contained nudity. Many Norwegians re-posted the photo in protest. And when the Prime Minister joined in, Facebook deleted that too within hours.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

Facebook security officer: Not all speech is “created equal

5 June 2018

Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, presented an overview of the Orwellian censorship regime implemented by the world’s largest social media company last week at an annual military conference in Tallinn, Estonia.

Speaking before an audience of generals, intelligence agents and US-aligned Eastern European politicians, Stamos warned that millions of “people who feel they have been ignored or oppressed” are using Facebook to “push for radical politics.”

David Levine comments on the Andre Damon article:

“Facebook is targeting groups of ‘people who feel they have been ignored or oppressed‘, whose ‘goal’ is to ‘push for radical politics‘, he said.”

In other words, in case you feel like you’ve been ignored or oppressed, Facebook will see to it that you are, in fact, ignored and oppressed.

The Andre Damon article continues:

The speech was an account of how the company is partnering with the US and other governments throughout the world to control public discourse online, with the primary but unstated aim of suppressing access to left-wing, anti-war and socialist viewpoints.

Photo of two men, censored by Facebook

On 1 June 2018, this photo of two men on the Facebook account of the Groningen branch of the ‘center left’ Dutch PvdA party, was removed by Facebook homophobic censorship. The PvdA asked Facebook why, but did not get any reply. Only after this became a national media scandal causing much public indignation, Facebook restored the photo; without explanation.

Facebook anti-feminist censorship: here. Facebook censorship on women’s reproductive rights: here. Facebook censorship helping Turkish regime invade northern Syria: here. Facebook censorship of Turkish Dutch MP, a critic of the Erdogan regime: here. Facebook censorship helping the Myanmar regime in its genocide of Rohingya: here. Facebook censorship of striking teachers in the USA: here. Facebook censorship of British striking workers: here. Facebook whitewashing of Pentagon Vietnam war atrocities, by censoring the (conservative) prime minister of Norway: here. Facebook censorship of 19th century art: here.

Meanwhile, the Dutch neonazi party Nederlandse Volks-Unie can spout as much racism and whitewashing of Adolf Hitler on their Facebook account as they want.

The Andre Damon article continues:

Stamos was speaking at CyCon, a conference sponsored by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on cyberwar and psychological operations. The very presence of a social media company at such an event, just a few hundred miles from NATO’s heavily-militarized border with Russia, makes clear the extent to which the US technology giants have been integrated into the US military-intelligence apparatus and its international operations.

Stamos began by pointing to a map of the social connections facilitated by Facebook. “As the people who have drawn those lines, and given folks the ability to make those connections”, Stamos said, Facebook has the “responsibility to understand and to mitigate” the risks that its platform might be “used for bad,” which he called an attack “against the ideals of Facebook.”

First, Stamos said Facebook is seeking to combat “fake news” through “changes in the news feed that surface this content to people.”

But instead of seeking to determine if a piece of news is “fake”, Facebook is carrying out mass profiling of news sources by “Look[ing] to metadata around the people who have created the account, the news site that’s running it”, to evaluate whether it is “trustworthy.” Through this Orwellian censorship regime, Facebook segregates news organizations into categories and determines how many people are able to view their postings on that basis.

Facebook’s ‘trustworthy’ sources are the corporate media. Including the Rupert Murdoch empire, with its racism, transphobia, warmongering, phone hacking, bribing police, lies on the Hillsborough football spectators tragedy, etc. Including the German Axel Caesar Springer empire, with its definitely fake racist anti-refugee reports. Including the New York Times, involved in the Plamegate scandal with its definitely fake reports on Iraq supposedly importing uranium for ‘weapons of mass destruction‘, thus lending the United States Bush administration a helping hand in starting the Iraq war.

In other words, the company’s evaluation of whether a piece of news is “fake” is determined not by whether it is accurate, factually grounded or verifiable, but rather by who posts it. The logical implication is that if one of Facebook’s “partners” in the establishment media posts a story, no matter how inaccurate, biased, or poorly sourced, the company will still promote it as “trustworthy.”

Facebook’s policy on “fake news”, in other words, is political blacklisting.

In order to block “foreign influence operators”, Stamos said, Facebook is carrying out “manual investigations of organized groups”, and it is using machine learning to find “bad actors” at “scale” across its billions of users.

However, he added, “The biggest growth category of information operations that we’re going to see over the next couple of years is domestic influence operations”—that is, political organizations who are seeking to “influence” politics in their own countries.

Facebook is targeting groups of “people who feel they have been ignored or oppressed”, whose “goal” is to “push for radical politics”, he said. These groups, he noted, can be “quite large”. As an example, Stamos mentioned Anonymous, a “hacktivist” group that supported the Occupy Wall Street protests against social inequality and was associated with support for the online journalism group WikiLeaks.

Numerically, however, the largest target of Facebook’s censorship measures consists of “individual participants”, who are often motivated by “legitimately held beliefs” to become “partners in information operations.” That is, millions of people who are not part of any organized political group, but who voice their agreement with the political views promoted by groups targeted by Facebook by sharing their content or voicing their support.

A “domestic operator”, he said, can have “thousands and thousands of people who believe in your cause.” The effect of “these people should not be understated”, he said.

To stifle the political statements of the broader public is open political censorship. For that reason, Facebook must be careful not to appear to stifle public discourse, but to block the “effectiveness” of the public in participating in “organized campaign[s].”

Stamos stated, “Our response here has to be very, very careful because part of free expression means that sometimes people are going to say stuff you don’t agree with, right? Part of freedom is the freedom for people individually to be wrong, and we have to allow people to be wrong and to say things that while they don’t fall afoul of our hate speech standards or standards meant to ensure safety, but that are considered inappropriate, those are the kinds of things that open societies have to accept. But we do want to implement product enhancements to make sure that we are reducing the effectiveness of these people to be part of, unwittingly part of, an organized campaign.”

These “product enhancements” include redirecting users to content that Facebook approves of and providing “educational cues” informing them that their views are “disputed.”

Under American law, Facebook is regulated like a communications utility, similar to a phone company or a package delivery service. It has neither the “responsibility” nor the right to impose its “ideals” onto its users.

In the company’s view, however, the fact that it acts as a communications platform gives it the paternalistic obligation to police what its users say and block their speech if the company disagrees with it.

The social content of these “ideals” is made clear by the military-intelligence audience Stamos was speaking before. Over the course of the past two years, Facebook has come under relentless pressure from the US government to serve as an agent of the state intelligence forces to censor and suppress oppositional views on its platform. Leading advocates of censorship, including Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, have made clear that the company will face intense regulatory and public pressure if it does not comply with their demands to stifle political opposition online.

In so doing, Facebook is acting as an agent of the American state, doing its dirty work to subvert the public’s constitutionally-protected freedoms of speech and assembly.

In perhaps his most ominous statement, Stamos concluded by calling for broader social changes in line with the measures Facebook has already taken. “Our societies overall are going to have to start to adapt to the idea that not all information is created equal”, he concluded. His conclusion harkens to the motto of the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

With the vast majority of written communication taking place online, Facebook’s actions, together with other technology companies, constitute the largest, most comprehensive regime of censorship in human history. Outside of and in contradiction to fundamental constitutional and human rights, Facebook claims the right to determine what hundreds of billions of people read and say.

The World Socialist Web Site is fighting to expose the effort by Facebook, Google and other technology giants to censor the internet, which is the spearhead of a drive to dismantle the freedoms of association and expression across the world. We urge all of those who want to take up this struggle to contact us.

FACEBOOK FOLLY Facebook’s new political ad policy is creating headaches for small businesses, news publishers, and other advertisers. [The New York Times]

Another Facebook privacy scandal

This video from the USA says about itself:

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says ‘you’re the product with Facebook and Google

9 April 2018

The tech giant tells us why he and some good friends are leaving Facebook.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Access to Data on Users and Friends

The company formed data-sharing partnerships with Apple, Samsung and dozens of other device makers, raising new concerns about its privacy protections.


JUNE 3, 2018

As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information.

Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books.

But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.