YouTube censors German anti-fascist video


This 3 February 2018 German video by Analyse der Politik (Political Analysis) is called Aktuell: #120db: Das “Politikum”, was der AfD aber auch den Altparteien nutzen soll – Lobbyismus.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

YouTube censors video opposing far-right Alternative for Germany

10 February 2018

One week ago, YouTube blocked a video opposing the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The anti-AfD video by the left-wing, socialist channel “Political Analysis” remained blocked for a number of hours. The video shows how right-wing groups exploited the murder of a young German girl by an Afghani youth at the end of last year to whip up a pogrom-type sentiment against refugees. The video ends with the words: “For over two years you have been agitating against refugees day and night, as if there was nothing else going on. This is as miserable as the political consensus today…”

The video was evidently censored following appeals by far-right circles to YouTube. In a message, the editor of the channel, Andreas Niess, told his audience: “YouTube sent me its stupid STANDARD message, so much for community rules. They did not even check the video, but blocked it. Just because the right-wing trolls have fun reporting my videos in response to their content. YouTube has become an anti-social platform where racists and fascists spread their trash every day.”

Niess told the World Socialist Web Site that right-wing activists had declared they would report his videos to YouTube shortly before the suspension came into effect. Niess could not confirm that the recently passed Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) was used to censor his video. “But it could be that it played a role.” Typically, there was “no information” about who or what was behind the decision. The blocking of the video was justified under the rubric “bullying and stalking” and originally was due “to run for three months.”

The fact that YouTube has censored a channel that sharply attacks the witch-hunts of right-wing extremists confirms the warnings made by the World Socialist Web Site. Under the pretext of combating “fake news”, “hate speech” or “bullying and stalking” on the Internet, it is mainly leftist and socialist anti-war websites which are being suppressed. Since the end of April, Google (the parent company of YouTube), in close coordination with German government circles, has been censoring leftist and progressive websites, including the World Socialist Web Site.

The ruling class is pursuing the same goal with its NetzDG law, which was drafted by Minister of Justice Heiko Maas (Social Democratic Party, SPD) and passed by the grand coalition government. It has been in force since January 1. In recent weeks, left-wing sites and material have been repeatedly censored, including Twitter messages from the satirical magazine Titanic directed against the AfD, and anti-fascist posts by the well-known Berlin street artist Barbara.

“Political Analysis” is a YouTube channel with over 7,000 subscribers that campaigns against war and in favour of socialism. The current logo of the channel is a graphic with the inscription “No war on Syria.” The top of the page shows the three last presidents of the United States, George Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, each labeled with the words “war” and “world war.” It also states: “There is a worldwide crisis of capitalism. Cause: Capitalism. Solution: Socialist Revolution. Duty: Independent working class. Duty: Fall of capitalism.”

“Political Analysis” regularly posts articles from the World Socialist Web Site and provides information about its activities. In recent days, there have been links to WSWS articles on the growing strike wave in Germany and the appeal by the Socialist Equality Party (SGP) “For the expansion of the strike and new elections.” In mid-January, Andreas Niess also promoted the webinar on internet censorship, featuring journalist Chris Hedges and WSWS Chairman David North.

Against a background of growing popular resistance to war and austerity, the ruling class is desperately trying to suppress political views that reject the official political line of the government, military, and intelligence services. The next federal government has already announced it will intensify censorship of the internet.

The SPD and CDU/CSU expressly support the NetztDG in their draft program for a new edition of a grand coalition. The document describes the law as a “real and important step in combating hate crime and criminal social media.” It is already clear that the law will increasingly be used to censure left-wing and socialist content on the internet. The NetzDG falls under the jurisdiction of the legal committee of the Bundestag, which—with the support of all the parliamentary parties—is headed by a member of the AfD.

These dangerous developments underline the importance of the appeal by the WSWS for an international coalition against internet censorship. Opposition must be mobilised against the alliance of the political establishment, multibillion-dollar internet corporations and extreme right-wing circles that is determined to abolish the right to freedom of expression on the internet and erect a capitalist police state in the 21st century.

British historian banned in Ukraine for mentioning anti-Semitic massacre


This video says about itself:

Savchenko called Jews … in Ukrainejudes” on air – English subtitles

29 March 2017

Ukrainian MP Nadiya Savchenko said that she doesn’t identify herself as antisemite, however she doesn’t like “judes”. Savchenko told that on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel on March 25 during her interview with Dmitry Gordon.

Right-wing Ms Savchenko used to participate in the war in eastern Ukraine as a member of the neofascist Aidar batallion. She names as her heroes Chilean dictator Pinochet and Margaret Thatcher.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Ukraine prohibits book by prominent British historian Antony Beevor

Today, 13:41

The British writer and historian Antony Beevor has reacted indignantly to a ban on one of his books in Ukraine. The country has blacklisted the Russian translation of his world-famous book on the Battle of Stalingrad, because it contains a passage about a Ukrainian [nationalist allies of nazi Germany] crime during the Second World War. 30,000 books have been banned from entering the country.

According to the director of the Ukrainian authority on the media, the book is banned because Beevor tells how a Ukrainian militia killed ninety Jewish children. “That’s a provocation,” said director Oliyinyk against Radio Free Europe.

According to Oliyinyk, people have never been convicted for that act of war. “When we looked at his sources, we discovered that he had used the Ministry of the Interior of the Soviet Union as a source.” This was reason enough for the regulator to submit the book to a panel of experts, which confirmed the legality of the ban. “We are very pleased with that”, says the director.

In 2016, Ukraine adopted a law restricting the import of books from Russia if they contain ‘anti-Ukrainian’ texts. A team of ‘experts’ assesses which books may and may not be imported.

The historian himself denies to the radio station that he used Soviet sources for his book. He states that the source was a book by the highly respected German anti-Nazi officer Helmuth Groscurth. “He wrote to his wife at that time about this crime, so shocked was he about what he had seen”, says Beevor, who demands apologies from Oliyinyk.

The writer still wants his book to be on Ukrainian shelves.

“It’s utterly outrageous that this is happening. … This ban is pretty depressing from the point of view of Ukraine itself – they want to show themselves as being so much more democratic than Russians to the north and then they’re doing this”, he told The Guardian.

Internet censorship gets worse


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 Andre Damon in the USA:

Governments and corporations escalate Internet censorship and attacks on free speech

6 January 2018

The year 2018 has opened with an international campaign to censor the Internet. Throughout the world, technology giants are responding to the political demands of governments by cracking down on freedom of speech, which is inscribed in the US Bill of Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and countless international agreements.

Bloomberg, the financial news service, published a blog post titled “Welcome to 2018, the Year of Censored Social Media”, which began with the observation, “This year, don’t count on the social networks to provide its core service: an uncensored platform for every imaginable view. The censorship has already begun, and it’ll only get heavier.”

Developments over the past week include:

  • On January 1, the German government began implementation of its “Network Enforcement Law”, which threatens social media companies with fines of up to €50 million if they do not immediately remove content deemed objectionable. Both German trade groups and the United Nations have warned that the law would incentivize technology companies to ban protected speech.
  • On January 3, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to introduce a ban on what he called “fake news” during election cycles, in a further crackdown on free speech on top of the draconian measures implemented under the state of emergency. The moves by France and Germany have led to renewed calls for a censorship law applying to the entire European Union.
  • On December 28, the New York Times reported that Facebook had deleted the account of Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, nominally because he had been added to a US sanctions list. As the American Civil Liberties Union pointed out, this creates a precedent for giving the US government essentially free rein to block the freedom of expression all over the world, simply by putting individuals on an economic sanctions list.
  • This week, Iranian authorities blocked social media networks, including Instagram, which were being used to organize demonstrations against inequality and unemployment.
  • Facebook has continued its crackdown on Palestinian Facebook accounts, and has removed over 100 accounts at the request of Israeli officials.

These moves come in the wake of the decision by the Trump administration to abolish net neutrality, which gives technology companies free rein to censor and block access to websites and services.

In August, the World Socialist Web Site first reported that Google was censoring left-wing, anti-war, and progressive websites. When it implemented changes to its search algorithms, Google claimed that they were politically-neutral, aimed only at elevating “more authoritative content” and demoting “blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information.”

Now, no one can claim that the major technology giants are not carrying out a widespread and systematic campaign of online censorship, in close and active coordination with powerful states and intelligence agencies.

In the five months since the WSWS released its findings, Google’s censorship of left-wing, anti-war, and progressive web sites has only intensified.

Even though the World Socialist Web Site’s readership from direct entries and other web sites has increased, Google’s effort to isolate the WSWS through the systematic removal of its articles from search results has continued to depress its search traffic. Search traffic to the WSWS, which fell more than any other left-wing site, has continued to trend down, with a total reduction of 75 percent, compared to a 67 percent decline in August.

Alternet.org’s search traffic is now down 71 percent, compared to 63 percent in August. Consortium News’s search traffic is down 72 percent, compared to 47 percent in August. Other sites, including Global Research and Truthdig, continue to see significantly depressed levels of search traffic.

In its statement to commemorate the beginning of the new year, the World Socialist Web Site noted, “The year 2018—the bicentenary of Marx’s birth—will be characterized, above all, by an immense intensification of… class conflict around the world.” This prediction has been confirmed in the form of mass demonstrations in Iran, the wildcat strike by auto workers in Romania, and growing labour militancy throughout Europe and the Middle East.

The ruling elites all over the world are meeting this resurgence of class struggle with an attempt to stifle and suppress freedom of expression on the Internet, under the false pretence of fighting “fake news” and “foreign propaganda.”

The effort to muzzle social opposition by the working class must be resisted.

On January 16, 2018, the World Socialist Web Site will host a live video discussion on Internet censorship, featuring journalist and Truthdig contributor Chris Hedges and WSWS International Editorial Board Chairperson David North.

The discussion will explore the political context of the efforts to censor the Internet and abolish net neutrality, examine the pretexts used to justify the suppression of free speech (i.e., “fake news”), and discuss political strategies to defend democratic rights. Hedges and North will also field questions from on-line listeners.

We urge all of our readers to register to participate in this immensely important discussion, and to help publicize it to friends and co-workers.

The webinar will be streamed live by the WSWS on YouTube and Facebook on Tuesday, January 16 at 7:00 pm (EST). For more information, time zone conversions and to register, click here.

Documentarian John Pilger issues statement of support for January 16 webinar, “Organizing resistance to Internet censorship”: here.

Germany signalled Monday it was open to amending a controversial law combatting online hate speech as the justice minister fell victim to the rules he himself championed. The move came after Twitter deleted a post by Heiko Maas dating back to 2010 before he was appointed justice minister, in which he called a fellow politician “an idiot”: here.

Last week the message service Twitter blocked the account of the German satirical magazine Titanic and deleted a tweet: here.

Facebook and Google outline unprecedented mass censorship at US Senate hearing: here.

Amid state censorship campaign, French media denounce “conspiracy theories”: here.

Silencing free spech in the USA


This video about the USA says about itself:

31 October 2017

Russiagate is a purported attempt to uncover the alleged subversion of U.S. democracy, but it’s creating dangers of its own, says former FBI Special Agent Colleen Rowley.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

US Congressional hearing: Former FBI agent says tech companies must “silence” sources of “rebellion”

1 November 2017

Top legal and security officials for Facebook, Twitter and Google appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, in a hearing targeting “Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online.”

Over the course of four hours, senators argued that “foreign infiltration” is the root of social opposition within the United States, in order to justify the censorship of oppositional viewpoints.

Russia “sought to sow discord and amplify racial and social divisions among American voters,” said Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. It “exploited hot button topics…to target both conservative and progressive audiences.”

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Russia helped promote protests against police violence in Ferguson, Baltimore and Cleveland. Russia, he said, “spread stories about abuse of black Americans by law enforcement. These ads are clearly intended to worsen racial tensions and possibly violence in those cities.”

Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii demanded, for her part, that the companies adopt a “mission statement” expressing their commitment “to prevent the fomenting of discord.”

The most substantial portion of the testimony took place in the second part of the hearing, during which most of the Senators had left and two representatives of the US intelligence agencies testified before a room of mostly empty chairs.

Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer, former FBI agent, and member of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, made the following apocalyptic proclamation: “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words. America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.”

He added, “Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced—silence the guns and the barrage will end.”

As this “civil war” rages on, he said, “our country remains stalled in observation, halted by deliberation and with each day more divided by manipulative forces coming from afar.”

The implications of these statements are staggering. The United States is in the midst of a civil war, and the necessary response of the government is censorship, together with the abolition of all other fundamental democratic rights. The “rebellion” must be put down by silencing the news outlets that advocate it.

That such a statement could be made in a congressional hearing, entirely without objection, is an expression of the terminal decay of American democracy. There is no faction of the ruling class that maintains any commitment to basic democratic rights.

None of the Democrats in the committee raised any of the constitutional issues involved in asking massive technology companies to censor political speech on the Internet. Only one Republican raised concerns over censorship, but only to allege that Google had a liberal bias.

The Democrats focused their remarks on demands that the Internet companies take even more aggressive steps to censor content. In one particularly noxious exchange, Feinstein pressed Google’s legal counsel on why it took so long for YouTube (which is owned by Google) to revoke the status of Russia Today as a “preferred” broadcaster. She demanded, “Why did Google give preferred status to Russia Today, a Russian propaganda arm, on YouTube? … It took you until September of 2017 to do it.”

Despite the fact that Feinstein and other Democrats were clearly pressuring the company to take that step, the senators allowed Richard Salgado, Google’s Law Enforcement and Information Security Director, to present what was by all appearances a bald-faced lie before Congress. “The removal of RT from the program was actually a result of…is a result of some of the drop in viewership, not as a result of any action otherwise. So there was … there was nothing about RT or its content that meant that it stayed in or stayed out,” Salgado stammered, in the only time he appeared to lose his composure during the hearing.

Salgado’s apparently false statement is of a piece with Google’s other actions to censor the Internet. These include changes to its search algorithm, which, behind the backs of the public, have slashed search traffic to left-wing websites by some 55 percent, with the World Socialist Web Site losing some 74 percent of its search traffic.

Stressing the transformation of the major US technology companies into massive censorship operations, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island asked the representatives of the firms, “I gather that all of your companies have moved beyond any notion that your job is only to provide a platform, and whatever goes across it is not your affair,” to which all answered in the affirmative.

When pressed by lawmakers to state how many people were employed by Facebook to moderate content, Colin Stretch, the company’s general counsel, said that Facebook employed “thousands” of such moderators, and was in the process of adding “thousands more.”

While the senators and technology companies largely presented a show of unity, just how far the companies were willing to go in censoring users’ content and helping the government create blacklists of dissidents was no doubt a subject of contentious debate in the background.

On Friday, Feinstein sent a letter to Twitter’s CEO demanding that the company hand over profile information—possibly including full names, email addresses, and phone numbers—related to “divisive” “organic content” promoted by “Russia-linked” accounts.

Although the senators largely steered away from the issue of “organic content” in their questions, a remark by Sean Edgett, Twitter’s acting general counsel, made clear that the “organic content” Feinstein’s letter was referring to included the social media posts of US-based organizations and individuals. Edgett said “organic tweets,” include “those that you or I or anyone here today can tweet from their phone or computer.”

The New York Times reported over the weekend, however, that Facebook has already begun turning lists of such “organic content” over to congressional investigators. Given that Facebook has said that just one “Russia-linked” company had posted some 80,000 pieces of “divisive” content, including reposts from other users, it is reasonable to assume Facebook and Twitter are being pressured to turn over information on a substantial portion of political dissidents within the United States.

Anti-Russia hearings in the US: Lawmakers demand tech companies censor journalists and conduct mass surveillance: here.