Thursday, 02 June 2016

U.S. Tech Giants Join EU to Censor the Internet

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The world's biggest technology companies joined with the European Union to censor the Internet, announcing this week an online “Code of Conduct” that will be used to remove and prosecute “illegal” speech, while promoting government propaganda. Everything from the Christian Bible and the Islamic Koran to criticism of Islam or concerns about uncontrolled immigration could fall under the vague new censorship rules. Alongside the censorship and propaganda, the EU touted “a robust system of enforcement” to effectively apply “criminal sanctions against the individual perpetrators” of illegal speech. Critics, though, are speaking out, warning of the Orwellian implications of having an unelected and unaccountable super-state attempting to overturn centuries of protections for civil liberties that are at the core of Western civilization.   

Despite being based in the United States, where the inalienable, God-given right to free speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, all of the big American Internet giants will be participating in the newly announced war against free speech online. Among the participating firms are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (owned by Google), Microsoft, and more. “The IT Companies support the European Commission and EU Member States in the effort to respond to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally,” said a statement by the unelected EU Commission, which acts as a legislative and executive branch but is not accountable to citizens or nation states. It promised vigorous censorship, criminal penalties, and lots of government propaganda.    

Of course, the EU Big Brother and its Big Business crony partners claim the censorship will only apply to what European governments deem “illegal hate speech,” a concept introduced to the world by the mass-murdering regime ruling the old Soviet Union in its fanatical efforts to silence dissent against communism. But today, the prohibitions are even broader. More than a few EU governments have already shown conclusively that they consider, among other speech, biblical texts, speeches by giants of Western history, and more to be “illegal hate speech.” In the United Kingdom, for example, a politician was arrested for quoting former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's views on Islam. In Germany, critics of Islamic immigration recently had their apartments raided by police for expressing their views on social media. In multiple European countries, Christian pastors have literally been thrown in jail and even convicted of “hate speech” for arguing that homosexuality is a sin. And it's getting more and more extreme.   

In 2003 in Sweden, after the speech code was expanded to criminalize the traditional view of homosexuality, the "Chancellor of Justice" even investigated the Bible. The conclusion of the “investigation” of God's Word was posted online. It has since been removed from the government's website — though after this writer first wrote about it. But the official comments did not completely disappear down the “memory hole.” The book The Madhouse by Swedish author Daniel Hammarberg, which first brought the scandal to light outside of Sweden, contains the original text of the chancellor's ruling.

The “justice” official barely bothered to beat around the bush. “Does the Bible contain agitation against homosexuals? There exist statements in the Bible whose content in themselves are such that the statements, were they to be viewed in isolation, could be considered to include agitation against homosexuals [criminalized hate speech],” the bureaucrat claimed, citing a range of passages from the old and new testaments expressing God's view of homosexual acts. “It could be considered agitation against homosexuals if the statements were raised today and expressly cited in a derogatory manner against a homosexual lifestyle.” And it has been.

The Bible, in other words, could be considered hate speech under Swedish speech regulations. However, the bureaucrat was kind enough to say that, if God's Word were to be changed or rewritten, it could be made compliant with Sweden's perpetually expanding list of criminal speech — if it were done correctly. The wrong changes might justify banning the Bible. “I would like to point out that certain changes in the texts could lead to another position,” the Swedish chancellor of justice noted in the ruling on the Bible, adding that the office was limiting its probe to current official translations of the Bible into Swedish.

It was not immediately clear whether a similar investigation into the Islamic Koran or other Islamic texts has been launched, but if one has been conducted, the evidence of it has not been widely publicized. Instead, criticism of Islam is a crime across much of Europe, and truth is not a valid defense against the charges. Criticism of homosexual acts — a capital offense in Islam — is also banned. It was also not immediately clear whether the Bible, biblical texts, and the doctrines of almost every major world religion would be prohibited under the EU “Code of Conduct” for online speech. They certainly could be.  

It should not be surprising that the EU super-state, which has a ruling class packed with “former” communists from Soviet Eastern Europe who were never punished for their crimes after the ostensible collapse of communism, would be leading the charge. The tyrannical origin of hate-speech laws was highlighted in detail in a 2011 report by the respected Hoover Institution. “The introduction of hate-speech prohibitions into international law was championed in its heyday by the Soviet Union and allies,” the paper on the “sordid origin of hate-speech laws” explained. “Their motive was readily apparent. The communist countries sought to exploit such laws to limit free speech.” Acceptance of hate-speech schemes by what remains of the free world, the report added, could have “devastating consequences for the preservation of free speech.”

Nonetheless, top unelected EU bureaucrats celebrated their latest push for censorship. “The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech,” claimed Vera Jourová, the EU “Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.” “Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalise young people and racist [sic] use to spread violence and hatred. This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that the internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected. I welcome the commitment of worldwide IT companies to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.”

Basically, you are expected to believe that Europe needs censorship to ensure “free expression,” as stated clearly by the EU's totalitarian ruling class. This is almost a textbook example of what George Orwell ridiculed in his masterpiece 1984 as “doublethink” — defined as, “the acceptance of or mental capacity to accept contrary opinions or beliefs at the same time, especially as a result of political indoctrination.” Setting aside the absurdity, Jourová's ramblings should send a shiver down the spine of everyone who values liberty and freedom of speech. The bureaucrat is directly equating speech with terrorism. Think about what that means. In fact, as a complement to the censorship, the EU press release vowed “effective application of provisions criminalizing hate speech” using a “robust system of enforcement of criminal law sanctions against the individual perpetrators of hate speech.” How long until speaking the truth or preaching the Bible is considered terrorism?

In addition to censoring “illegal” speech, the companies partnering with the autocratic EU boasted of their ability to promote government and EU propaganda. “In tandem with actioning hateful conduct that breaches Twitter’s Rules, we also leverage the platform’s incredible capabilities to empower positive voices, to challenge prejudice and to tackle the deeper root causes of intolerance,” explained Twitter’s head of public policy for Europe, Karen White. “We look forward to further constructive dialogue between the European Commission, member states, our partners in civil society and our peers in the technology sector on this issue.” Executives with the other technology giants made similar pledges about censoring “illegal” speech and promoting propaganda that the establishment supports.

The EU hopes to broaden law-enforcement assaults on thought-criminals as well. To help with that, EU vice president and European commissioner for the digital single market, a former leader in the ruthless Estonian Communist Party, is promoting new decrees to require government-issued ID cards to be able to access online services. That way, anonymous speech online will become impossible, and thought-criminals can be brought to “justice” for expressing their “illegal” thoughts in words.

But not everyone is going along with the madness. Opponents of the EU plot in the European Union's pseudo-Parliament, a largely powerless rubber-stamp for “laws” developed by the commission, spoke out. “It’s Orwellian. Anyone who has read 1984 sees it’s very re-enactment live,” MEP Janice Atkinson told Breitbart London. “The Commission has been itching to shut down free speech in the Parliament and now they’re attacking social media. We have already seen Facebook ‘policing’ so-called right-wing postings. If an MEP, such as the centre-right Hungarians, the Danish People’s Party, the Finns, the Swedish Democrats, the Austrian FPO, say no to migration quotas because they cannot cope with the cultural and religious requirements of Muslims across the Middle East who are seeking refugee status, is that a hate crime? And what is their punishment? It’s a frightening path to totalitarianism.”

A British MEP, Diane James, who serves as spokesperson on justice issues for the pro-secession U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), also slammed the plan. “The Liberal tradition in Britain for instance is more open and very different from that of dictatorial former Communist countries in the East,” she told Breitbart. “The EU was sold to people as a Common Market, it became a political union and now wishes to decide and compromise our civil liberties as a people. This is unacceptable to a free people who have a right to know where all this legislation is leading to.” British voters will decide this month whether to leave the EU.

The Orwellian EU-Big Tech censorship announcement came just weeks after the United Nations Security Council called for a global “framework” to censor “extremism” from the Internet, use government propaganda, and more around the world. It also follows the announcement of a plan by Obama and the UN secretary-general for a global war on “ideologies” such as “bigotry” against Islam and opposition to immigration. The EU, meanwhile, has unveiled a new unit in its “police” agency Europol dedicated to censoring the Internet and removing “propaganda” and “extremism.” U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron even asked the UN to join a global war against “non-violent extremism,” citing as examples “conspiracy theories” and belief in religious prophecies.   

Thanks to the Internet, the globalist establishment that controls the EU, the UN, and other organs of power is no longer able to lie, manipulate, and deceive the public unchallenged. In fact, the establishment is rapidly losing its grip over the minds of the public. That is why they are scrambling to use every tool imaginable — from censorship to criminal prosecutions to demonization — to silence voices they disagree with. As the EU becomes more and more overtly totalitarian, people will almost certainly keep waking up, regardless of attempts at censorship and intimidation.

There is more good news. Fortunately for humanity, free speech in America remains protected by the First Amendment — even when Americans vehemently disagree with the speech, and even if it is ugly, it is a core Western value that the right to speak is sacrosanct. Plus, the Internet operates in such a way that censoring the truth will prove impossible as people increasingly abandon services such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Google, and others in favor of companies and outlets that support free speech and robust debate. Already, the establishment media is imploding as people seek the truth elsewhere. The same will likely happen to the Orwellian tech giants partnering with Big Brother if they continue on this extremist path.

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

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