Internet Censorship
Internet Censorship

Attempts to censor the internet are never-ending:

Orwell is vindicated by the near universal adoption of newspeak by proponents of a more authoritarian internet. This shows those pushing for it are aware  they risk a visceral reaction against their rent seeking. Something deep inside most of us finds it repugnant. That something deep inside us is our cultural inheritance. It is calling out to us with all the force of our forebears. Those who fought for our rights, for our freedoms.

We imbibe a way viewing the world along with our mothers  milk. The left have tried to sever us from our past, to denigrate our forebears, to put down our achievements. They have not succeeded. Not totally and not with all of us. Sure those most exposed to their indoctrination – university arts graduates and the like have largely succumbed.  But the vast bulk of the people, the bedrock upon which our society is built know in their heart what is wrong. We can spot the politically correct big lie:

Critics of ‘post-birth abortion’ guilty of ‘hate speech’: “Editor Julian Savulescu also criticizes what he calls the ‘hate speech’ directed at the authors of the article, arguing that the public’s response to the piece shows that ‘proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.’

“In the journal article Alberto Giubilin, a philosopher from the University of Milan, and Francesca Minerva, an ethicist from the University of Melbourne, made the case that ‘after-birth abortion’ should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is perfectly healthy. They base their argument on the premise that the unborn baby and the newborn do not have the moral status of actual persons and are consequently ‘morally irrelevant.’

“Morally irrelevant” what a marvelous phrase to justify murder. The Jews and mentally handicapped were morally irrelevant in NAZI Germany. How about criminals, have they forfeited their moral right to exist? Surely there’s better grounds to kill them than innocent children? If you feel in your heart that it is wrong to kill healthy babies then the lefts sophisms have not undermined your connection with your culture. People are more than their intellect and capacity to care for themselves. Civilization enhances these capacity.  Our cultural capital is the key and this is a direct assault on it.

There are so many assaults on our cultural capital. They strike at our ability to acquire knowledge and understanding. Without this our right to free speech is implicitly constrained. We don’t even need to get to the explicit component of the assaults on our use of the internet. And make no mistake, these are legion. Already we have:

Rumblefish claims to own copyright to ambient birdsong on YouTube: Rumblefish, a company notorious for sending copyright takedown notices to YouTube alleging copyright violations in videos’ soundtracks, demanded removal of a video whose audio consists entirely of ambient birdsong recorded during a walk in the woods. When the video’s creator objected, Rumblefish repeated its accusation, and Google added the notation “These content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their claims to some or all of its content: Entity: rumblefish Content Type: Sound Recording.”


Techdirt post about SOPA censored from Google results due to bogus DMCA complaint: We’ve talked a lot about how copyright law and the DMCA can be abused to take down legitimate, non-infringing content, interfering with one’s free speech rights. And we’re always brushed off by copyright maximalists, who insist that any complaints about taking down legitimate speech are overblown.

So isn’t it interesting that we’ve just discovered that our own key anti-SOPA blog post and discussion… have been blocked thanks to a bogus DMCA takedown?

The UN International Telecommunications Union takeover of the internet is the vested interests fallback option to replace ACTA if it is unwound. Just as ACTA was the fallback option when SOPA and PIPA failed. Some are starting to recognize the threat:

Google’s Schmidt: Don’t Let the United Nations Rule the Internet: We are at a crossroads for the Internet’s future. One path holds great promise, while the other path is fraught with peril.

The promise, of course, lies with keeping with what works, namely maintaining a free and open Internet while insulating it from legacy regulations. The peril lies with changes that would ultimately sweep up Internet services into decades-old ITU paradigms. If successful, these efforts would merely imprison the future in the regulatory dungeon of the past. Even more counterproductive would be the creation of a new international body to oversee Internet governance.

There is more at stake than most know:

First they came for the hackers.

But I never did anything illegal with my computer,

so I didn’t speak up.

Then they came for the pornographers.

But I thought there was too much smut on the Internet anyway,

so I didn’t speak up

Then they came for the anonymous remailers.

But a lot of nasty stuff gets sent from,

so I didn’t speak up.

Then they came for the encryption users.

But I could never figure out how to work PGP anyway,

so I didn’t speak up.

Then they came for me.

And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

– Alara Rogers

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It also points out that only around 7 per cent of its funds are invested in defence companies, far less than several other venture capital groups. ‘Peel away the layers of factual errors and self-righteousness and all you’re left with is baseless innuendo. This book should be exposed for what it is: a compilation of recycled conspiracy theories masquerading as investigative journalism,’ said Chris Ullman, Carlyle’s spokesman. But Briody’s account of how an upstart venture capi tal firm went from nothing to managing funds of nearly $14 billion in just 15 years, earning investors returns of around 36 per cent, is likely to reinforce the controversial image of the Carlyle Group and raise concerns about its influence in Washington and beyond. Sometimes called the Ex-Presidents Club, Carlyle has a glittering array of ex-politicians and big league bankers on its board. Former secretary of state James Baker is managing director while ex-secretary of defence Frank Carlucci is chairman. George Bush senior is an adviser. John Major heads up its European operations. To give the conspiracy theorists plenty of ammunition, US newspapers have also highlighted the fact that current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was a wrestling partner of Carlucci’s at Princeton and the two have remained close friends ever since. Interestingly though, Briody’s book chronicles how Carlyle was founded by two relative unknowns – Stephen Norris, a former executive with the Marriott hotels group, and David Rubenstein, a Washington lawyer and former policy assistant to Jimmy Carter. The two men saved Marriott millions by spotting a tax loophole that the company exploited to great effect. Buoyed by their success, Norris and Ruben stein struck out on their own and recruited two other co-founders, Marriott executive Dan D’Aniello and corporate financier William Conway. Initially the group – named after New York’s Carlyle hotel – shied away from the defence sector and its early investment record was spectacularly unsuccessful. It backed a management-led buyout of Caterair and appointed George W Bush to the board. The company bombed and was quickly branded Crater Air by Wall Street. Norris, who presided over the deal, jumped ship, followed by Bush Jr shortly before the company’s woes became public in 1994. The appointment of Carlucci to the company board marked a new phase in Carlyle’s history. It was Carlucci who spearheaded the $130 million acquisition of BDM Consulting in 1990. The company was a specialist in the defence contracting business and had a formidable network of contacts thanks to its CEO, Earle Williams, a close friend of Carlucci. It was a good time for the Carlyle Group. Defence contracts were being slashed as the Cold War ended and cheap buyout opportunities were everywhere. Carlyle identified a key target: Vinnell. 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At the same time it emerged that the bin Laden family – estranged from their terrorist son – was an investor in the Carlyle fund that owned United Defense. The backlash was ferocious. Carlyle hired a PR firm but the group was under siege. In an astonishing move Democrat Representative Cynthia McKinney cited the Carlyle Group as an example of an organisation ‘close to this administration poised to make huge profits off America’s new war’. The bin Laden family sold their stakes in the fund. A spokesman said their investment was valued at ‘only’ around $2m, although Briody quotes insiders who say the family’s investment had been significantly greater in the past. In the wake of 11 September came a fear of anthrax attack. One company that benefited was Pittsburgh- based IT Group, which won a number of contracts to clean up anthrax-infected buildings, including the Hart Senate Office Building. Carlyle owned 25 per cent of the firm, which it subsequently sold on. Likewise its investment in US Investigation Services, a company that specialises in checking the background of employees, saw business improve dramatically. ‘I do not exaggerate when I say that Carlyle is taking over the world in government contract work, particularly defence work,’ one employee told Briody. Other Carlyle companies also benefited, including EC&G which makes X-ray scanners, Composite Structures, a maker of metal-bond structures in fighter jets and missiles, and Lier Siegler Services Inc, a major military contractor, providing logistics support. Carlyle – whose high-profile investors include George Soros and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal – refutes suggestions it profits from war. Co-founder William Conway even went on record saying ‘no one wants to be a beneficiary of 11 September.’ This may be true, but unfortunately for the Carlyle Group its investments are beneficiaries of this new era of multilateral conflict. Indeed, a case can be made that even those companies Carlyle wouldn’t class as defence investments – and which aren’t examined by Briody – have benefited. Last month it bought CSX Lines, an ocean carrier firm that specialises in shipping heavy equipment. One of its biggest customers is the US military. Late last year it bought Firth Rixson, a specialist engineering firm that makes aerospace parts. It also has a 33 per cent stake in Qinetiq, the government’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. Whatever Carlyle says, its image as being at the apex of what Eisenhower termed the ‘military industrial complex’ endures.…aq.theobserver

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