Daily Archives: 16/08/2011

(Democracy Now!) On Monday, officials with the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) were forced to close four train stations during the evening rush hour as free speech advocates attempted to disrupt the evening commute. The protest was called by the activist hacker group, Anonymous, in retaliation for BART’s decision to shut down cell phone and mobile-Internet service at four stations last week in an effort to disrupt a protest over the shooting of a homeless man. As part of its self-described “OpBart” campaign, Anonymous hacked into the BART website,, and leaked the names, phone numbers and passwords of train passengers. We’re joined by a disguised Anonymous member who took part in “OpBart,” speaking under the pseudonym “X.” “We gave them a taste of their own medicine,” X says. … “We’re information activists just trying to make our world freer and a little better,” says X. On the question about the FBI investigation over the hack, X says, “I don’t want to get caught … I am literally running from coffee house to coffee house, from city to city, from state to state to try to avoid this massive, multi-million dollar manhunt they have put out for Anonymous. … What have we done, Amy? Point to one thing where we’ve hurt a human being … BART kills it’s innocent people. … How dare they do this in the United States of America?”

Video report here:

( British high-street banks, including two institutions that were bailed out by taxpayers, are investing hundreds of millions of pounds in companies that manufacture cluster bombs – despite a growing global ban outlawing the production and trade of the weapons.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB, Barclays and HSBC have all provided funding to the makers of cluster bombs, even as international opinion turns against a weapons system that is inherently indiscriminate and routinely maims or kills civilians.

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( Either Facebook’s spam filters are completely out of whack or political free speech is being actively censored on the social network.

What’s happening: On Sun. Aug. 14, liberal page administrators and bloggers in my network started spreading the word that they had been blocked from posting ANY content on ANY other wall for 15 days. No prior warning was given.

The offenders are charged with posting links to news/opinion articles – such as this liberal’s guide to Republican talking points – a small number of times to LIKE-MINDED pages with which they regularly interact. (Some reported making posts to as few as 4 other pages before being suspended – for 15 days – with no warning!) I’ve also been alerted that Facebook has revoked some administrator’s posting privileges for sharing links to their liberal Facebook page on the walls of other liberal pages.

The slap:

Facebook indicates these activists have been posting “spam and irrelevant” content. So, Facebook seems to be deciding for community pages what is spam or irrelevant before the actual page administrators are ever able to see – or re-share – the content.

A check of Facebook’s community standards confirms that NONE of the blocked content or pages I’ve heard about have violated ANY of these rules (engaging in hate, violence, phishing, theft, spam for commercial purposes, etc.)

Is it Facebook’s Fault?

This isn’t the first time a Facebook-related free speech restraint has come up on my radar, and that’s why I’m not biding my time before I talk about this. People should know what’s going on so Facebook can isolate and rectify the errors that are causing unfair censorship.

The previous red flag: A few weeks ago, I came across this webpage that catalogues Obama’s accomplishments (with citations). When  I went to share it on my wall  I was blocked from doing so.

The explanation: The link had been reported as “abusive or spammy” content. No one else can post the above blog link to their Facebook wall either – even now as I write. Even though I and others contacted Facebook to appeal that block as a violation of political free speech, Facebook never responded or unblocked the link. Therefore, this list of Obama’s accomplishments seems to be permanently banned from Facebook – and for no good reason. Remember that just because you may not share a favorable view of Obama, that doesn’t mean the content should be censored. People have a right to information!

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(reuters) Prime Minister David Cameron’s promise to fix Britain’s “broken society” prompted heckles from a teenage audience in his rural powerbase on Monday, underlining the deep divisions about what caused the country’s worst riots in decades.

In speech at a youth club in the picturesque town of Witney, Oxfordshire, Cameron blamed the trouble on a society where fathers abandon families, gangs flout the law and people refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

But the young audience was unimpressed, heckling the Conservative leader and pointing the finger at public spending cuts, inequality and higher university fees which they fear will widen the gap between society’s haves and have-nots.

“He is blaming everyone but himself,” said Jake Parkinson, 17, unemployed. “The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. I’d love to go to university, but it’s the money that is putting me off.”

Cameron, wearing a crisp white shirt and blue tie and sporting a suntan after a Tuscan holiday cut short by the rioting, stood in front of graffiti portraying two hooded and masked youths striking a gangster pose.

The cartoon-like characters fitted the stereotype of those who took part in four nights of rioting that triggered a bout of soul-searching about the state of British society.

There were whistles when Cameron entered the stuffy, cramped room and “chicken” noises at the end from teenagers who accused him of leaving early and being too scared to answer all of their questions.

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