Posts Tagged ‘Index on Censorship’

Lobster: Ruth Smeeth Was American Agent

June 29, 2020

Robin Ramsay has updated his ‘View from the Bridge’ column for the current issue of the online parapolitics/ conspiracies magazine, Lobster. And one of the interesting pieces is about Ruth Smeeth, the nasty piece of Blairite trash who accused Marc Wadsworth, the Black anti-racist activist, of being an anti-Semite. As you will recall, it was because Wadsworth embarrassed her in a meeting by pointing out she was passing information onto a Torygraph journalist. Smeeth then accused him of an anti-Semitic trope, that of the disloyal Jew. Wadsworth didn’t know she was Jewish, and what he said about her was in any case correct. She was passing material on to a Tory journalist, and that had absolutely zilch to do with her ethnicity or religion. One suspects that the real reason she smeared Wadsworth was because he was yet another supporter of that horrible leftie, Jeremy Corbyn. This led to the spectacle of Wadsworth being hauled before a Labour Party kangaroo court, while a posse of White Blairite women descended on the proceedings to demand something be done about him. To some people, this looked very, very much like White anti-Black racism, and explicit comparisons were made to racist lynchings in the American deep south.

The former head of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, writing in his Times column, revealed that Smeeth is now the head of Index on Censorship, ‘the global freedom of expression campaign’. Phillips also claimed that, because of her accusation against Wadsworth, she received 25,000 abusive message in two months. According to her, 20,000 of those came in the first 12 hours. Ramsay’s sceptical about that claim, as even if she could open and read them at a rate of ten a minute, it would still take 33 hours. Put that way, it does indeed look like a very dodgy claim. It shows the Blairites are still keeping up the smears that its only the Labour left that’s making threats and hurling abuse. While it’s wrong to send abusive texts, I don’t really have much sympathy for Smeeth. The victims of the anti-Semitism smears, and especially the Jewish victims, have also received horrendous abuse. Jackie Walker has had people send her messages telling her that she should be lynched – a horrendous thing to say to a woman, whose mother was a Black civil rights worker – and that she should be cut up and put in bin bags. Phillips himself also has form when it comes to dubious statements. Tony Greenstein has called him an ‘Uncle Tom’ on his blog for his weak attacks on racism, and Zelo Street has several times discussed how Phillips has made Islamophobic remarks and retailed bogus stories smearing Muslims.

But what is really interesting is the revelation that Smeeth was an American agent. This comes from a leaked cable from the American embassy in 2009 that ran

‘Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Burton Ruth Smeeth (strictly protect) told us April 20 that Brown had intended to announce the elections on May 12, and hold them after a very short (matter of weeks) campaign season.’ (emphasis added).

Which has caused Ramsay to ask what it was that she had done or offered to do to become a confidential source for the American embassy.

See: https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster80/lob80-view-from-the-bridge.pdf

This also shows just how powerful were the forces working to undermine Corbyn. But because that cable came from Wikileaks, it will be discounted as a mere conspiracy theory, if not totally ignored altogether, by the British political and media establishment.

 

 

ATVOD Begins Internet Censorship

June 28, 2014

Amnesiaclinic, one of the commenters over on Vox Political, posted this video from Not UK Column News as a comment to Mike’s article on the conviction of Cameron’s aide for possessing paedophile material. The video is by the two or three leaders of UK Column, a website which includes videos, critically examining and reporting current events. It seems to be part of the British Constitution Group, an organisation which believes that the British constitution has been undermined and corrupted by the rich and powerful. I really don’t know who British Constitution Group are, nor what, if any, their political affiliation is. A casual glance at their website shows that they are concerned with the destruction of the NHS, and also with the apparent theft and kidnapping of children by NATO officials. If this is the case, then they’re really similar to organisations like Index on Censorship, which report suppressed or censored news.

The two male presenters in this video, with a female co-presenter looking on from the rear of the car, describe the way ATVOD, the statutory body regulating On-Demand Video, has decided that because they have videos which they consider to be ‘television-like’ on their Youtube Channel, Not UK Column News therefore constitutes an On-Demand Video service which needs to be regulated. They therefore hit them with the legal paperwork requiring them to register with them. Rather than submit to this attempt at censorship, UK Column News has simply taken down its videos from Youtube. They take the view that this is the beginning of the censorship of the Internet.

The two presenters state that ATVOD was initially set up in 2003 to stop TV companies putting on their websites material which was unsuitable for broadcast. This largely seems to have been pornography. The two UK Column presenters note that ATVOD’s material about itself discusses its work in closing down and protecting children from on-line porn. Peter Johnson, the head of ATVOD, was a former member of the British Board of Film Classification. The UK Column people state that the boundaries of the sexual content that is considered permissible in film has expanded, and so it seems that Johnson has simply jumped from regulating the pornographic to the political. The other head of ATVOD is Rachel Evans, a woman, who holds a long, long line of directorships. So long, in fact, that it takes about five minutes for one of the presenters to read them out. They remark on the fact that in her list of directorships and official positions, she does not mention that she was part of Liberty, a group that campaigned for paedophiles. They also remark that while ATVOD claims that the majority of the board adjudicating a case must be independent, in practice they are anything but. The so-called independent members have strong links to the broadcasting companies. Indeed, key BBC personnel had a role in formulating the body’s policies, and then, when it came to regulating the Beeb over a particular case, the Corporation was eventually acquitted. It’s clearly a case of conflict of interest, but not according to ATVOD, which insists that it is independent. The two state that Johnson himself admitted that ATVOD’s role is essentially to police the established broadcasters’ competitors. They see ATVOD as having moved far beyond its original remit to suppress any competition to the main television, no matter how small or trivial they are.

They also point out that by ATVOD’s own admission, the scope of the laws which regulate On-Demand Video providers are unclear, and ATVOD itself has no clear guidelines on this issue, as it states that these arise as each individual, different case is dealt with. They therefore see this as an admission that ATVOD are basically making them up as they go along. If this is all true, then ATVOD is something of a kangaroo court, whose lack of precise legal boundaries make it a threat to free speech and discussion in this country.

This is vitally important at this particular time. Last Sunday there was a demonstration by 50,000 people, including MPs and media ‘slebs, against government austerity. Despite the fact that it was held right outside Broadcasting House, it was not covered in anything except a derisory way by the media in this country. It was not mentioned in the papers, and only received the barest moments of coverage on the BBC’s rolling news channel and radio. This looks like a concerted attempt by the British media class to avoid covering anything that might send Cameron and his cronies into ‘a fearful bate’, as the great philosopher and educationalist Nigel Molesworth would sa. Even if it is only incompetence, an excuse I find much less than plausible, it still shows the vital necessity of alternative sources of news outside the official channels controlled by the Beeb and the empires of Murdoch, Dacre, Desmond and co. The grand hope of the Libertarian Net pioneers when it was set up was that the web would allow ordinary citizens to circumvent the restrictions of tyrannical and repressive governments. See the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace, as an example of this. During the Arab Spring and the Green Revolution in Iran, dissidents used social media and the internet to get around official censorship. It’s why the Internet and the freedom of information it represents is feared by the Communist authorities in Beijing, who have erected the Great Firewall of China. The same attitude appears to be shared by the Internet regulators here in the UK. A number of left-wing websites have warned that the British authorities would try to clamp down on websites offering critical political material. Pride’s Purge was hit a while ago, when the Net authorities tried to restrict access because the site contained ‘adult content’. Well, it does in the sense that it deals with politics, which is a business for adults, rather than the kind of material sold on the tops shelves of newsagents or broadcast by Richard Desmond’s specialist TV station.

This is a warning: the authorities are trying to close down dissent, and the two from UK Column News are correct when they state that this is the thin end of the wedge. Here’s the video, and see if you agree with them.