United States censorship of Women’s March photos

This 19 January 2020 video from the USA is called National Archives apologize for blurring images critical of Trump.

In the Soviet Union in the 1930s, a photo was blurred, in which Trotsky stood next to Lenin. Because Trotsky was a rival to Stalin.

‘Such a thing could only happen in the dictatorial Soviet Union’, some people may say. ‘Never ever in the USA, the paradise of democracy’.

Have a look …

By Tom Boggioni / Raw Story in the USA, January 19, 2020:

Presidential historian slams National Archives for ‘idiotic’ decision to blur Women’s March photos that were critical of ‘vengeful Trump

Appearing on CNN on Sunday morning, noted presidential historian Douglas Brinkley harshly criticized the decision by the National Archives to blur photos of posters that were critical of Donald Trump, saying it was a betrayal of their mission.

Speaking with host Martin Savidge, the normally staid Brinkley was blunt in his assessment of the decision — despite an apology from a spokesperson for the Archives — calling the very fact that it even happened “idiotic”.

“I could not believe the National Archives did such a thing,” Brinkley began. “It’s such a venerable institution and we all trust it. It’s the depository of our national heirlooms and leavings and here it is doctoring photos to make Donald Trump look good. I mean to the idea you take the women’s march of 2017 which was largely anti-Trump march and start changing signs like one sign said ‘God hates Trump’, they just blurred out the word Trump so the protester sign says ‘God hates’. That was replicated many times, it’s an idiotic idea to have altered that photograph. I am pleased a retraction has come our way.”

“Do you think this was mandated say by someone or do you think this was an agency that sort of self-censored?” the CNN host asked.

“I think it’s the agency or someone within the agency that self-censored,” Brinkley replied. “But we are in the age of Donald Trump, if you work in the government are you fearful of a vengeful Trump, it may be very well they want to please him.”

At all costs, we can’t have a photograph on our display that says something negative about him,” he added sarcastically. “We have to remember this is a president we are dealing with on his inauguration lied about his crowd size and blew up the Interior Department because they weren’t showing a photo that he wanted. This idea of air-brushing anything negative about Donald Trump out of our current government institutions is starting to happen more and more. It’s all the reason why we have to say knock it off, ever louder.”

Governments censor the Internet

This 27 December 2019 video says about itself:

Indian government reacts to protests with restrictions and internet ban | DW News

Authorities in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, are bracing for more foment after Friday prayers — a response to more planned protests over a new citizenship law that excludes Muslim people. Authorities shut down mobile internet and text messaging services in Muslim-majority areas, and thousands of paramilitary and police were deployed. With the death toll having risen to at least 16 people, more have been killed during the protests in the state Uttar Pradesh than any other.

Mass protests continue throughout the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government’s anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as part of nationwide protests: here.

By Andre Damon:

Desperate to stem protests, dozens of governments shut down internet access in 2019

27 December 2019

Amid a global upsurge of political protests and strikes, governments all over the world are shutting down the internet in desperate bids to stem the tide of popular opposition.

According to preliminary data from Access Now, 2019 likely saw more deliberate internet shutdowns than any other previous year. More than a quarter of the world’s countries have shut down the internet over in past four years.

At least 29 countries carried out deliberate internet shutdowns in 2019, including India, Sri Lanka, Russia, Sudan, Indonesia and Iraq.

Since the 2011 uprising in Tunisia, dubbed a “WikiLeaks revolution” after the organization released information on the corruption of the country’s ruling class, governments have increasingly seen the internet as a threat, used by masses of people to organize strikes, protests and demonstrations. In recent months, workers and young people have used social media to organize mass demonstrations in Chile, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Ecuador, Honduras, Haiti, Egypt and Algeria.

Last week, police authorities in India shut down internet access in sections of New Delhi in response to a wave of popular protests against the Modi government’s Hindu supremacist citizenship law.

The Modi government has responded to the demonstrations, which have mobilized broad sections of the population across ethnic and sectarian lines, with a crackdown that has taken the lives of dozens of people and the imposition of effective martial law in broad sections of the country.

India has shut down the internet more than 104 times this year, up from six times in 2014. The most notorious of these actions is the ongoing internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir, which has now lasted 135 days, the longest ever in any country officially called a “democracy.”

The ongoing internet shutdown in the Kashmir Valley now affects over seven million people, making the most routine aspects of life—from communicating with distant family to applying for a job—next to impossible.

The Kashmir shutdown was aimed at quelling opposition to the illegal abrogation of the semi-autonomous status of India’s lone Muslim-majority state. This constitutional coup has been enforced by the deployment of tens of thousands of additional security forces and the detention without charge of thousands.

In its latest annual report, Access Now pointed out that governments routinely lie about their motives in carrying out internet shutdowns. “[W]hen governments shut down the internet citing ‘public safety’, it is often evident to observers that, in reality, authorities may fear protests and cut off access to the internet to limit people’s ability to organize and express themselves, whether online or off.”

It adds, “When authorities cite ‘fake news’, rumors, or hate speech”, they are in fact most often seeking to curtail protests and control elections. “Using these threats as scapegoats, it appears that governments are leveraging shutdowns to shape the political narrative and control the flow of information.”

While outright internet shutoffs have remained rare in the major capitalist powers, many of the same false arguments—like protecting “public safety” and suppressing “fake news”—have been used to establish an apparatus of mass censorship by major corporations acting on behalf of state intelligence agencies.

In 2017, Google announced a series of changes to its search algorithm, internally dubbed “Project Owl”, that drastically reduced search traffic to left-wing, antiwar and progressive websites, in the guise of fighting “fake news”.

An investigation by the Wall Street Journal this year confirmed the allegations made by the World Socialist Web Site that Google operated internal blacklists of websites that it sought to keep users from accessing in search results. Facebook and Twitter followed Google’s actions, removing left-wing political accounts and pages with millions of followers on the grounds that they were “inauthentic”.

The Trump administration’s Federal Communications Commission has moved ahead with the gutting of net neutrality, giving private corporations a legal cover to censor and tamper with political speech at will.

Last year, Germany passed the so-called NetzDG law, which threatens to fine internet companies that fail to remove “illegal content”, turning, as Human Rights Watch wrote, “private companies into overzealous censors.”

The Spanish government is pushing through a law that allows the state to shut down at will digital communications, internet infrastructure and apps without a court order. The law follows a similar measure passed in France last year, spelling out massive fines for disseminating “any allegation or implying of a fact without providing verifiable information.”

The efforts to curtail the distribution of critical political viewpoints go beyond even these draconian censorship measures.

The British government has, at the direction of the Trump administration and with the full support of the Democratic Party, detained and isolated WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, under conditions that UN human rights expert Nils Melzer has called tantamount to torture.

The US has also imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning without charge. Both of these courageous individuals are being persecuted for nothing other than telling the truth about criminal wrongdoing by the US government.

All these measures represent the vindictive actions of vastly unpopular capitalist governments that feel besieged by a global upsurge of political opposition. This year, this latent opposition has erupted in a series of mass demonstrations, which the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) think tank dubbed an “Age of Leaderless Revolution.”

CSIS analyst Samuel Brannen wrote: “This awakening has been amplified by the digital information age with more than half of the planet—4 billion people—now connected to the internet. Facebook alone counts 2.4 billion active users. And among the most popular topics for users is politics…. And the ways in which people can connect locally and globally and draw comparisons and inspiration from events elsewhere is unmatched. The ability for individuals to connect, to inspire and coordinate millions onto the streets is without precedent.”

Capitalist governments all over the world see this communications revolution, which holds immeasurable promise for human society, as an existential threat. One recent survey observed, “There is now a geopolitical operating premise that the ills of the internet are potentially more consequential than its benefits.”

While the cliques of corrupt capitalist oligarchs that dominate society all over the world, from Washington to New Delhi to Madrid, recoil in fear at the growing interconnectedness of society, the freedom of speech, including internet communication, is vital to workers and young people seeking to express their grievances and organize politically.

As workers and young people enter into social struggle all over the world, they must take up the defense of the freedom of expression and the freedom of political prisoners like Assange and Manning as inseparable from the fight to defend their social rights, abolish inequality, and overthrow the capitalist system.

Australian mural criticizing governmental bushfire policies censored

Australian anti-government mural

This EPA photo shows an Australian mural criticizing the right-wing government‘s lack of anti-bushfire policies; as it was until early this morning.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Mural of holiday-reveling Australian Prime Minister painted over

A critical mural about Australian Prime Minister Morrison in a Hawaiian shirt has already disappeared. Artist Scott Marsh made the work three days ago, after much criticism had been made in Australia of Morrison’s decision to go on a Hawaiian vacation while his country suffers from forest fires.

Morrison was depicted on the mural with a cocktail glass, flower wreath and Father Christmas hat, in front of a background of fire. “Merry crisis”, he told spectators.

So the work didn’t last long. Artist Marsh posted this video this morning on Instagram.

Marsh was disappointed to an Australian news agency that his work has disappeared. He speaks of “a shame” and says that many people really appreciated the mural. “But there is always the risk that someone will take offense and paint over it.” …

Especially on social media, the prime minister had received a lot of criticism. At the time of his vacation, the situation in southeastern Australia became more acute; two fire service volunteers were also killed.

Money for the fire brigade

Marsh says that his critical mural has been good for something: shirts and posters of the work have so far raised around 15,000 Australian dollars (9500 euros). That money is intended for the fire brigade in the affected areas.

YouTube censors critical news, promotes Rupert Murdoch

This 14 December 2019 video from the USA is called YouTube ADMITS To Suppressing Independent News, Pushing [corporate] CNN & [Rupert Murdoch‘s] Fox News.

YouTube is owned by the censoring Google corporation.

Twitter censors criticism of British Conservatives

This 28 August 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Facebook & Google Play the Censor: Are our Civil Liberties Endangered?

Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi joins us to examine the dangerous juncture our freedom finds itself in when Facebook, Twitter, and Google work with the government and its intelligence services to control what we see and hear.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Twitter accused of censoring anti-Tory posts

TWITTER has been accused of political censorship for suspending a man’s account after he used it to criticise the Tories over their treatment of his dying brother.

Noel Stevenson made a video appealing directly to then Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) secretary Amber Rudd to stop forcing people with debilitating terminal illnesses to undergo work assessments.

The video was made in support of his brother Ron Stevenson, who was told by the DWP to attend a work assessment despite being paralysed with motor neurone disease.

Noel’s video appeal received widespread publicity and his [Conservative] MP Nicholas Soames wrote to tell him he had met Ms Rudd and that she was going to change the policy.

However, Noel said: “Ron died in August but the policy hasn’t changed.”

After his brother’s death and with the general election approaching, he used Twitter to tell his brother’s story and show a video of his brother’s appeal to Ms Rudd.

Noel said: “Ron hated Boris Johnson and hated the Tories. So with the video I was giving him a voice from the grave.

“It went bananas. It attracted 12,000 likes and was retweeted 7,500 times.

“Only two people out of all the kind and supportive well-wishers — many expressing outrage against this Tory government — were negative and insulting. I challenged them both.

“One of them continued to be insulting and I returned his insults with interest, my language appropriately choice. He was out of order and I told him so.

“Then the man complained to Twitter and they suspended me for a week because of the comment.”

When he protested about the suspension, Twitter told him: “Our support team has determined that a violation (of Twitter rules) did take place and therefore we will not overturn our decision.”

Noel said he believed Twitter was “using unprecedented action to stop anti-Tory protest.

“OK, I was rude to him, but you have to take it in context. Ron was a special man to many, not just to me. This is a deliberate attempt to gag anti-Tory anti-Johnson protest.”

Twitter had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.

BLACK BRITS CONSIDERING LEAVING UK IF TORIES WIN ELECTION Boris Johnson’s record on racism has left some Black Brits so afraid for their safety that they are considering leaving the U.K. should the Conservatives claim victory in Thursday’s election. Racist comments written or signed off by the prime minister include an article published in The Spectator while he was editor that claimed Black people have lower IQs. [HuffPost]