YouTube favouritism for Murdoch, other corporate media


This December 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

For Some Reason Nobody Trusts Corporate Media Anymore

A recent poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows that trust in corporate media has never been lower. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. …

From NBC News on that poll:

And, of course, there’s that particularly reviled group: The news media. Only a dismal 14 percent give the national media high marks, compared to 48 percent who said they have little or no faith in the Fourth Estate.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

YouTube wants to fight disinformation with
authoritative news sources

The video platform will highlight videos of media that it describes as “authoritative” in big news search results and on the front page. That concerns media that have signed up for the Google News platform, the function also works equally in the Netherlands. From screenshots that YouTube shared it can be seen that they mean the US, eg, CNN, Fox News and The New York Times.

So, YouTube is giving corporate Big Media an unfair advantage over news sites with less money (blogs, small news agencies, etc.).

While what YouTube calls ‘authoritative’ media very often have ‘fake news’; though usually in a different sense of the abuse of that term by Donald Trump, the United States Democratic party or the European Union.

CNN is supposedly ‘authoritative’. When the Bahraini absolute monarchy massacred its pro-democracy opponents, they had a correspondent in Bahrain who reported that. However, CNN is part of the United States establishment. The United States establishment is really chummy with the torturing royal dictatorship in Bahrain. So, CNN did self-censorship. They sacked their correspondent Amber Lyon for reporting about the crimes of the Bahraini autocracy. So CNN might be called ‘authoritarian’ instead of ‘authoritative’.

Fox News is supposedly ‘authoritative’ as well. Like the rest of the Rupert Murdoch empire, they so often have fake news that they are called Faux News. And I am not even mentioning their incitement to racist violence, their sexual abuse scandals and their anti-Semitism.

And then, the ‘authoritative’ New York Times. When the George W Bush administration was preparing their war on Iraq, and lied at least 935 times to justify that war, the New York Times gave Bush a helping hand by publishing completely fake reports on Iraq supposedly importing uranium from Niger to make ‘weapons of mass destruction‘, nuclear weapons.

So, this is part of censorship of critical voices on the Internet, practiced not just by YouTube, but also by its parent corporation Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and other Internet corporations, working hand in hand with governments undermining free speech.

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Saudi woman flees persecution for ‘immodest’ dress


This video says about itself:

Saudi TV presenter flees after probe into ‘indecent clothes’

“We have referred a TV presenter to investigation after a video capturing her reporting on women driving in the kingdom went viral. In it, she appeared wearing immodest clothes, which violates the kingdom’s rules.”

The UAE-based presenter – who works for Al Aan TV – has since been identified as Shireen Al-Rifai. She appeared in the footage wearing a white abaya (floor length garment) and a loose head veil.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday, June 29, 2018

Reporter flees official probe for wearing ‘indecent’ attire

A SAUDI TV presenter fled the country yesterday after authorities started investigating her for wearing “indecent” clothing on air.

Shireen al-Rifaie was reporting in Riyadh about the end of a ban on women driving when her full-length abaya robe caught the wind and revealed the clothes she was wearing underneath.

Strictly enforced dress codes in Saudi Arabia previously required women to wear the full abaya in public along with a headscarf if they are Muslim.

But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appeared to suggest in March that women did not need to wear the abaya, although they should dress modestly.

“The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Sharia that women like men wear decent, respectful clothing”, he said at the time, adding: “This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya or black head cover.

“The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear.”

But the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media confirmed that Ms Rifai is being investigated “for violating regulations and instructions” by “wearing indecent clothing” during the news report.

Ms Rifaie, who has returned to the United Arab Emirates, denied any wrongdoing.

“I was wearing decent clothes and God will reveal the truth of what has been said to me”, she said.

The decades-long ban on female drivers was officially lifted earlier this month with authorities issuing the first licences to women.

However, Riyadh has clamped down on those campaigning for the right to drive, with at least eight women facing long prison sentences [and possibly the death penalty] for their activism.

US Murdoch muppet Hannity’s stupid attack on Ocasio-Cortez


This 28 June 2018 video from the USA is called Clueless [Rupert Murdoch Fox News mouthpiece Sean] Hannity Attacks [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez [who just won a New York City primary election by beating a Clintonite corporate Democrat politician] By Citing Her Awesome Policies.

DROP-OFF VOTERS DIDN’T DROP OFF Data on the New York Democratic congressional primary win for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggests she was propelled to victory by the district’s gentrifying neighborhoods. [The Intercept]

HANNITY: BLAME DEMS Sean Hannity, the Fox TV entertainer and White House glove puppet, suggested that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) was somehow responsible for a shooting at the Capital Gazette earlier in the day. Online, members of the far-right, who bathe daily in the anti-media froth peddled by propagandists such as Hannity, celebrated the deaths of the five journalists gunned down in Annapolis. [HuffPost]

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has canceled events in Alabama and Texas scheduled for this weekend due to a “very serious death threats”.

‘I COULDN’T GIVE A…’ A Capital Gazette reporter responded to Trump’s tweet offering thoughts and prayers for the victims, telling CNN live on air: “I couldn’t give a f**k” about your prayers. Here are details of the five victims who lost their lives. [HuffPost]

TRUMP REFUSES FLAG REQUEST Trump has declined a request from the mayor of Annapolis that he order U.S. flags be flown at half-staff to honor the five newspaper employees shot dead in Maryland last week. [HuffPost]

Grenfell activist Delaney against London Review of Books smears


This 14 June 2018 video from Britain is called LOWKEY ft. KAIA – GHOSTS OF GRENFELL 2 (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO).

By Alice Summers in England:

Grenfell fire: Local resident Joe Delaney speaks out against attack by Andrew O’Hagan on those seeking justice

23 June 2018

In its June 7 edition, the London Review of Books published an almost 60,000- word article, “The Tower,” on last year’s Grenfell Tower inferno by journalist and novelist Andrew O’Hagan. The essay marked one year since the devastating fire that claimed 72 lives. It coincided with the opening days of the official inquiry during which fire survivors and relatives of those who died gave moving tributes to their loved ones.

O’Hagan’s piece is characterised by vicious and dishonest misrepresentations and inaccuracies. It demonizes local activists, residents and firefighters, while offering up hymns of praise to the local Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) council. World Socialist Web Site writer Alice Summers reviewed O’Hagan’s essay here.

The following is an interview conducted by Summers with Joe Delaney, who was one of the people interviewed by O’Hagan. Delaney is a local resident who, years before the Grenfell Tower fire, established a record of fighting for the right to decent and safe housing. He has sought justice for the victims and survivors of the Grenfell fire, earning him the respect of the entire local community in the North Kensington area of London. Having lived in a flat adjacent to Grenfell Tower, he was evacuated after the inferno that left behind a toxic and burned-out shell. Forced to live in hotel accommodation for months, he has only recently been temporarily rehoused by RBKC.

Alice Summers: O’Hagan’s piece came out almost exactly a year after the fire, and at the same time as the opening of the inquiry, where survivors and family members were giving moving tributes to their lost loved ones. What do you think of the timing of this essay?

Joe Delaney: I think the main issue with the article is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. It’s caught halfway between an article and a book. If this had been a series of articles, with the first one coming out at the start of the inquiry and being about the victims, that would have gone down quite well. Then I don’t think people would have felt so hurt about the subsequent parts had they come out in subsequent weeks.

O’Hagan seems to take the opinion of whomever he happens to be with at the time. It seems that, unfortunately for us, the last people he spoke to were the council workers. That’s the opinion he’s left with at the end, and that’s the opinion that seems to have framed his whole argument, the whole direction and tone of his piece.

I can give you a very good example [of O’Hagan’s bias towards the views expressed by the council staff]. In one part of O’Hagan’s article he writes about how those who had lived in the tower were receiving £5,000 in the period immediately after the fire, and those who lived nearby were receiving £500. One of the phone calls I shared with O’Hagan was from the chap who lived next door to me [on the Lancaster West estate, adjacent to Grenfell Tower]. He went to pick up his £500 and the council said to him that he would only get £270, because he was a single person and the £500 was only for families.

I spoke to the council about this, pointing out that on the council website it says that people will be getting £500. After telling me that giving only £270 was the new policy, I asked the council worker where this was written down. He responded that it wasn’t. I asked him if this “policy” perhaps had something to do with the fact that my neighbour doesn’t speak English very well, as I came to the council the same morning and got my £500 without problems. Other neighbours of mine who were also single people also got their £500. This smacked of equalities issues to me.

I had to browbeat the council worker into giving my neighbour the correct amount of money. I shared this call with O’Hagan specifically, as this confusion and arrogance typifies the council’s response. It even goes against what central government was telling them to do: the leader of the council [Nicholas Paget-Brown] was standing next to Prime Minister Theresa May when this policy was announced. It’s on their website that we get £500; it’s on the central government website that we get £500. But yet somebody in their finance department just decided that he wanted to do things differently.

You can even see it from the way council staff speak in O’Hagan’s piece; “Of course we care about these people, we’re not horrible”, etc. It’s this paternalistic and patronising attitude. “Just be quiet, we know what’s best, we care for you.” But they were never treating people as equals; they were always treating the local residents as people that had to be managed. That’s where the big problem is and that’s what all of us have had, and still have, issues with. That’s why the name of the Housing Management Group became the Tenant Management Organisation: originally it was an organisation managed by tenants, and in the end its design was to manage the tenants and keep them quiet.

AS: From reading O’Hagan’s account you would not get that impression of the council. On multiple occasions in his essay he writes about times when council staff went out of their way to help survivors and local residents. In “The Tower ” he writes that these staff received a lot of abuse and ingratitude. O’Hagan presents council officials as the real victims in this story. What do you think of O’Hagan’s portrayal of the interactions between local residents and council employees in the immediate relief effort?

JD: On the ground council staff weren’t the one’s being blamed. It wasn’t like there were lynch mobs when on the ground council staff were seen out and about. We have always understood that they are not the ones who make the decisions. It was organ grinders that we were interested in, not monkeys. O’Hagan makes out that there was this mob mentality, this mob rule that was dictating all of our decisions. It is completely unfair to us and totally mischaracterises the area. It makes all of us seem like we were just money grabbers looking for handouts.

People weren’t housed in hotels the first night. Many people had to bed down on the grass in that area. I was lucky as I was able to stay with a friend of mine. I had never seen the area that busy even during the [Notting Hill] Carnival. Another example of council mishandling is the fact that when it came to 5 p.m. that night [the day after the fire], all calls were handed over to a call centre in the North of England, which had no idea what it was doing when it came to Grenfell-related matters. They were dealing with people as standard homeless applications so many were told they didn’t qualify for help. They were just treated as standard homeless cases.

AS: O’Hagan ends his account with the stories of two former Grenfell residents who have now been successfully re-housed. But he neglects to mention the fact that more than half of those who were made homeless by the fire still haven’t been given permanent homes. What do you think of the fact that so many families still haven’t been properly re-housed a year after the fire and of the fact that O’Hagan completely ignores this?

JD: It’s just not the case [that the housing problem has been resolved]. If you are not in permanent housing, then there’s still no stability for you and there is always this nagging worry that’s always at the back of your mind. Are we going to be moved out any time soon? Where are we going to be moved to? When will it all finally be settled?

I was offered one place in all the time I was in the hotels. The first place I was offered is the one I’m in now; I took it straight away. I know that all the other survivors and local residents are like this too. After some people did accept offers it then turned out that the accommodation was substandard. Some properties have to be modified, decorated, or otherwise had to be brought up to decent home standards.

There were numerous other issues. For one person who moved into a new place, that place then burnt down. It was shown on the “Panorama” [BBC] piece that came out a few weeks ago. He had barely been in his place a week when it burnt down. The properties the council was offering us were hardly brilliant flats. The “luxury block” that was mentioned in the media had balconies that weren’t properly fitted: the panels were loose and in some places you could easily fit a child’s head through them.

AS: O’Hagan’s account turns reality on its head. He tries to make out that the real victims of the fire were the senior council members who ended up losing their jobs, rather than those who lost their homes, their family members or even their lives in the blaze. He speaks about council leader, Nicholas Paget-Brown, and deputy leader Rock Feilding-Mellen in glowing terms. What do you think of the contrast between the way he presents the senior councillors and the way he presents local residents and survivors?

JD: These are people who should have lost their jobs in the months and years preceding the fire, because of the way they were treating people in the local community. They ignored issues that the community raised. [Grenfell Action Group member] Edward Daffarn and I would not be in the position that we are now—where councillors will not dare to take part in an interview or discussion with us—if they didn’t know that we can bury them with facts.

I’m not just going to launch into a personal invective attack on these people; the worst I have done was jokingly compare a councillor to a character from Harry Potter—this is hardly serious or damaging, but they have not been so gracious towards us. We can prove that on certain dates they said that things would happen, but then in subsequent weeks and months that the complete opposite happened. Can they not see that it is this shoddy attitude towards public consultation that led to this disaster?

AS: O’Hagan is very critical of the Grenfell Action Group in particular. He tries to portray them as a lying and unpopular group. But he also mentions in his essay that the Grenfell Action Group didn’t raise concerns over the flammable cladding, only over other issues such as exposed gas pipes and the proximity of the new school to the tower. We know that these issues were also very significant in allowing the spread of the flames and the smoke and in inhibiting the firefighters’ rescue efforts. But O’Hagan tries to present the Grenfell Action Group’s safety concerns as paranoid complaints that had little relation to the actual disaster.

JD: When it is the council’s side of the story that he presents, he writes that they weren’t building experts so how could they possibly know that this fire was going to happen. But when it comes to the victims, he writes that they didn’t know what they were talking about because they didn’t predict exactly how the fire was going to happen. It’s a ridiculous contrast that is completely unbalanced. Anyone who was actually affected by the fire is presented as a screaming maniac for taking a risk-averse attitude, whereas when it comes to everyone who had the power to actually make the necessary change, it is completely understood why they risked the lives of their constituents.

But it is their jobs to know these things. The burden of proof, the burden of being absolutely right, the burden of due diligence of care, or even of just being risk adverse is all on the victims in O’Hagan’s view, not the council which has the resources and legal obligations to be so. When I’ve worked in the public sector, I often had troubleshooting roles or responsibilities as part of my job, but even when this isn’t the case, if it is clear that something will not work or go wrong then I would always speak out. I’m not an expert in social services or education, any more than I am an expert in building control or planning, but you still try and apply a logical head to these issues.

The Grenfell fire was a perfect storm of problems. They were warned that the lack of fire access was going to cause problems, and it did. They were warned that the way that the building works were being undertaken, leaving exposed gas pipes, was going to be an issue, and the gas pipes were. There were so many different issues; the cladding is just one part of it. Maybe if the cladding had been the only issue in that building, this wouldn’t have happened.

We were told that we couldn’t have sprinklers in Grenfell Tower because they’d be at risk of vandalism. So while we couldn’t have pipes of water exposed in the building, pipes of gas were perfectly acceptable. The impact and likelihood of risk wasn’t being properly considered; this is what GAG [Grenfell Action Group] and others were highlighting. The incentive behind the job to undertake risk assessment and due diligence was completely the wrong way ’round. It’s very easy to decide to take a chance of a risk if you’re not the one who is actually going to face the consequences of that decision.

AS: O’Hagan also blames the fire brigade for the causing of all those deaths on June 14 by not responding in an adequate way and by sticking to the “stay put” advice. But he ignores the fact that the “stay put” policy would have worked had there been working fire doors, had there been proper compartmentalisation in the building.

JD: O’Hagan claims he went into this with an open mind and wanted to present a fair and balanced argument, but that is neither fair nor balanced. The landlords had a legal responsibility to ensure that its doors were adequate and could survive the correct amount of time under the circumstances of a fire. But they blatantly did not. Who else’s fault is that? Also, could the firefighters on the ground decide to ignore “stay put” themselves? Blame those responsible for the policy, not those forced to implement it.

There were also many times that the council was told that the [Kensington and Chelsea] Tenant Management Organisation [KCTMO] were doing things in such a slipshod manner that their reports saying that the building was safe clearly can’t be trusted. What due diligence did the council undertake to verify the information they were being given? Where there should have been decisions by the council to err on the side of caution, if it wasn’t politically or ideologically convenient to do so, then they were sure as hell not going to do that.

AS: O’Hagan’s article took him a year to write. Why do you think he dedicated so much time to slandering the North Kensington residents and exonerating the local council of any guilt?

JD: Like I said earlier, he has a very fair weather attitude: his opinion is the opinion of the last person he spoke to. It’s disappointing. This piece is going to be remembered for a very long time. I certainly would not want my name to be associated with authoring it. I wouldn’t have wanted to pre-empt things in the way O’Hagan has. It also contradicts the government’s own findings.

Even the Grenfell Taskforce has condemned the council. And that’s not a party/political matter; it was written by civil servants. The report from London Councils is even more scathing. Besides, it was a Conservative government that hung a Conservative council out to dry. What does that say about your bedfellows if that’s what they do to you when you’re under hassle?

The truth will start to really come out, about the way facts were ignored at the council, the way they didn’t follow up on issues, corners were cut and decisions were taken about gentrifying the entire area. It’s the same problem everywhere. And it’s not just a Conservative issue. Gentrification and [lack of] affordable housing are a Labour and Conservative issue. That’s why I have condemned both sides.

AS: O’Hagan himself makes reference to the fact that, like the Conservative-run Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Labour-run councils have also made cuts, have reduced their stock of social housing and have used the same cladding that was used on Grenfell Tower. But he turns this around to suggest that because other councils are also similarly criminal, it somehow reduces the guilt of the RBKC council.

JD: “What-aboutism” is no justification for what happened. It’s a ridiculous argument to put forward: “everyone was doing it at the time so it’s not fair that we are the ones who are punished.” It’s the “tobacco argument”: “it was legal to sell so we did so and we had no duty to consider or publish proving that it causes cancer.”

There were loads of issues raised regarding building standards. Even the standard terms and conditions of contracts that RBKC gets suppliers to sign state that contractors are under obligation to follow the law, and that any decisions where there is any kind of risk should be brought to the council’s attention so they can decide an appropriate course of action. They can’t now say that it wasn’t their fault. Either their procedures were inadequate then or they’re lying now. Either way, it’s self-serving: it always suits the narrative they want to serve.

For RBKC to wail that it is not fair for them to be punished for this when councils everywhere did the same is utterly contemptible. No pun intended but RBKC are the ones who got their fingers burnt first. There’s no use crying now.

O’Hagan clearly says he’s not an expert on these matters, but neither are we. But locals, especially GAG, were still right about what was going to happen and the extent of damage that would occur. Just because he didn’t like the message, the way it was presented, or by whom, is not a justification or reasonable excuse to shoot the messenger. Since the fire, I have often felt guilty because I wonder if events might have been different if I had complained louder or longer beforehand; I know others have felt the same way. Goodness knows how guilty we would feel if we hadn’t even tried to put a stop to these problems given the tragedy that occurred.

The way O’Hagan tries to present local residents, it’s as if being seen as too ignorant means you’re not allowed a position and therefore not allowed to argue back, but equally if you seem articulate and educated you’re not supposed to be there so you shouldn’t have a position and don’t have the right to argue back. It seems to me that his real motive is that he just doesn’t want people to argue at all. It’s a paternalistic and patronising attitude: “We know best, so just hush. You let the grown-ups do the talking and be grateful for what’s dished out to you.”

This attitude suits the council very well as they can use it to avoid scrutiny and remain unaccountable. Either locals are a feral mob who are too aggressive and uncouth to engage, or they are “agitators” from privileged backgrounds who have a wider agenda, which is served by unfairly bashing the council.

The fact that O’Hagan refers to me as “a politician” in his piece shows this attitude clearly. I grew up on a council estate in that area, don’t have a university education, and come from an Irish Traveller background—the most “political” I have ever been is voting, and my only agenda is to see the facts of this issue come to light to protect others and so those civilly and criminally liable are held properly accountable.

AS: At one point in his essay O’Hagan compares Grenfell Tower to Dickensian England: “In the eyes of some, the tower blocks are the continuation of the old habit of keeping minorities poorly housed. But, as always, it depends how you measure it. If the yardstick is the white people’s mansions on Elgin Crescent, then yes. If it’s Victorian pigsties, however, then improvement has definitely occured [sic], albeit too slowly and for too few.” What do you think of that?

JD: Exactly. “You’re better off than people were 150 years ago, so what are you complaining about?” It beggars belief. Instead of looking at the gap between the rich and the poor, we should actually be looking at the gap between the poor and the really poor instead—and those at the bottom are inconvenient, ungrateful and unreasonable if they dare do otherwise.

This attitude is ridiculous and leads to inequalities not just of wealth, but in other areas too—we’re back to the deserving and undeserving poor described by Dickens. This attitude was evident when the risk posed to the people who lived in Grenfell Tower was decided by ideology and convenience rather than reason or safety, and decided by people who would no doubt have demanded far higher standards had they lived in Grenfell Tower themselves as they “deserved” better.

German sexist couch potatoes attack female football reporter


This German TV video is about the 2016 European football championship. Austria scores a goal against Iceland.

Special in this report is the reporter. She is Claudia Neumann. She is a woman. Most football reporters in Germany and elsewhere are male.

However, German sexist couch potato ‘football fans’, probably voters of the 90% nazi AfD party or the 100% nazi NPD party hate listening to a female football reporter. They have started an anti-Claudia Neumann witch-hunt on the Internet.

As the extreme right AfD is not only anti-Semitic. As not only their party leader Alexander Gauland is racist against African German national team footballer Boateng: the far right hates women as well.

An example is this tweet by a German far right couch potato calling himself Emperor Wilhelm II. It says that the only work Ms Neumann should be allowed to do at German ZDF TV is cleaning the floors; but never reporting.

This sexist has chosen a rather fitting pseudonym. Emperor Wilhelm II was a warmonger (AfD fuehrer Alexander Gauland is an admirer of Philipp Friedrich Alexander, Prince of Eulenburg and Hertefeld, Count von Sandels, 1847-1921, far-right anti-Semitic important adviser of Emperor Wilhelm II in his militarist policies). Emperor Wilhelm II was an anti-Semite. And Emperor Wilhelm II hated outspoken women: so he banned the work of anti-establishment and anti-war visual artist Käthe Kollwitz.

According to Dutch NOS TV today (translated):

Two years ago during the European Championships in France, Neumann also had a hard time. “If someone does not want to hear any woman’s voice at a football commentary, then a neutral assessment is hardly possible”, she said at the time. “I do not see it as criticism, I only see it as insults.”

The first female German football commentator gets a lot of support on Twitter. Many people take her side and say it refreshing to hear that a woman comments on the competition.

Racist AfD wants Turkish German players Özil and Gündogan sacked from national team, blaming them for the whole team failing at the 2018 World Cup: here.

From Britain today:

Vicki Sparks made history today as she became the first woman to commentate on a World Cup game on British TV

It was a historic moment for sports broadcasting and for Vicki Sparks. She was joined by Martin Keown on co-commentary for the Morocco vs Portugal match earlier today in which Portugal emerged the victors courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo header.

It apparently wasn’t to everybody’s tastes though, notably John Terry. The former Chelsea captain came under fire after uploading a photo to his Instagram story with the caption “having to watch this game with no volume”.

World Cup Reporter Sexually Harassed During Live Broadcast: 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]

Riots broke out in several suburbs of Nantes, 385 kilometres west of Paris, on the night of Sunday to Monday after paramilitary police shot and killed a 22-year-old man. Multiple witnesses to the killing, including journalists, asserted that police shot the victim in cold blood at point-blank range in his car, even though he posed no threat to them. Facebook, however, is censoring videos that witnesses to the police murder are trying to post online, and the French government is brazenly advancing a totally different account of events: here.

British journalist Dorothy Hartley


This video from Britain says about itself:

BBC Four documentary on Dorothy Hartley at Ermysted’s Grammar School – 2012

Food in England: The Lost World of Dorothy Hartley. Lucy Worsley journeys across England and Wales in search of Dorothy Hartley, the writer of what is now considered to be a masterpiece of food writing, Food in England.

First broadcast: 6 November 2012 Dorothy was the daughter of Ermysted’s headmaster, Edward Hartley and was born at the school in Skipton. Historian Lucy Worsley came to EGS in 2012 to film with former Head of History Doug Grant as well as some of the current boys.

The copyright in this recording is held by the BBC; this short extract from the programme is shared here for historical/educational purposes. All rights reserved.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

My fond memories of Dorothy Hartley

PETER FROST on one of his journalistic heroes, a woman who inspired his own Ramblings

Dorothy Rosaman Hartley wrote some of the best books on traditional English food, country crafts, rural traditions and much else beside. As well as books, many of which became definitive masterpieces, she also wrote a weekly column for the Daily Sketch between 1933 and 1936.

The Sketch may have been a low Tory paper but Hartley’s columns could be relied on to speak with the voice of the working women and men who were deeply engaged in the day to day feeding, farming and the many crafts of the countryside.

Now there is a chance to read many of her original Sketch columns in a book.

Hartley was born on October 4 1893 at the grammar school, Skipton, Yorkshire, where her father the Reverend Edward Tomson Hartley was owner and headmaster.

His wife, Amy Lucy Eddy, came from Froncysylltau, near Llangollen in north Wales, where her well-to-do family owned quarries. Amy it seems actually did most of the running of the school as well as teaching and catering.

Dorothy went to a convent school in Skipton until 1904, when her father retired through failing sight and became a country rector at Rempstone on the Nottinghamshire Leicestershire borders.

She then went to Loughborough High School and afterwards to Nottingham Art School until her education was interrupted by the first world war.

Like thousands of other women she went to working in the munitions factories.

When peace came she entered the Regent Street Polytechnic in London where she was a prize pupil, then taught at Nottingham Art School between 1920-22 and then in London.

It was at this time she took up writing and published a number of works on medieval life.

She wrote and illustrated her six-volume Life and Work of the Peoples of England and the Old Book, a medieval compilation.

Medieval Costume and Life not only recreated the clothes of peasants depicted in old manuscripts, but used photographs of herself wearing the garments.

In 1931 Hartley set off to travel by car across Africa — from Cairo to the Congo — and the photographs which she took on her journey were exhibited in London.

Between 1932 and 1936 Hartley toured the British Isles by bicycle and car, with pen, pencil and camera, writing weekly articles for the Daily Sketch on country people and their trades.

The articles covered such diverse subjects as horse-ploughing, crab fishing, thatching, bread making, and clog making. Many of the columns referred back to the 16th-century agricultural writer and poet Thomas Tusser with whom she would develop a lifetime fascination.

Till the end of her life if interrupted by an unwanted phone call she would answer “Go away, I’m in the 14th century.”

Medieval culture always held a particular fascination for her and she toured Ireland in the footsteps of the 12th-century prelate Gerald of Wales. This led to her 1938 book An Irish Holiday.

In 1933 Hartley made her home in a cottage at Froncysylltau and this remained her base for the rest of her life. Despite the long residence in Wales — and apart from one book on her Irish trip — she dealt almost exclusively with life in England.

During the second world war she wrote for publications of the United Nations and began work on her best book Food in England.

First published in 1954 it has has never been out of print. The detail of text and her charming illustrations made it accessible to a wide public.

In the post-war years she also taught at University College and Goldsmiths’ College in London, performed on television with Philip Harben and advised on the BBC Archers programmes.

Hartley died at Fron House, Froncysylltau in 1985. I still have most of her books on my shelf and refer to them more often than any other author. She never married but does occasionally mention the love of her life, a man she met in Africa.

In 2011 BBC4 broadcast a wonderful documentary presented by Lucy Worsley which is now easily available on Youtube. Now many of her original Daily Sketch articles have been collected and published recently in a book, Lost World, (Prospect Books). They are still worth reading.