Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The silencing of Gab

Gab is a micro-blogging social network, built as a direct response to Twitter's brutal affront to Free Speech, and the nefarious practices of Silicon Valley as a whole. For the last few years, Gab has existed and thrived, attracting hundreds of thousands of marginalized and silenced conservatives, patriots and all-around defenders of one of the most fundamental human rights: freedom of thought and expression. I've had an account there for about 2 years, and it's in many ways a better platform than Twitter.

Of course, such a thorn in the aggressive monopoly of Big Social, and its ubiquity in the biased political machine wasn't just going to be allowed to exist. Before last week, Gab had already been banned by both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, making it de facto inaccessible on mobile by conventional means. It had its domain seized, forcing them to move to another registrar. More recently, they were booted from their host, Microsoft Azure, forcing to scramble to move to another provider. Stripe, their main payment processor for subscriptions, repeatedly threatened to ban them over the presence of adult content on their platform, and finally pulled the plug recently.

That was all before last week. Last Saturday, an attack was perpetrated on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Why is that relevant? Well, it just so happens that the shooter had an account on Gab, on which he expressed anti-semitic views. Despite Gab CEO Andrew Torba doing everything in his power to assist law enforcement with all information available to aid in the investigation following the attack, nearly every single third-party provider Gab used has used this as a excuse to essentially purge the platform from the Internet, all in the span of about 48 hours.

They were summarily banned by:

Paypal, one of their payment processors.
Joyent, the hosting provider they switched to just a few weeks ago after being banned by Microsoft.
GoDaddy, their domain name registrar.
Medium, which they used for their official blog.

In effect, Gab has been no-platformed from the Internet. They have been deprived of many — if not all — of the essentials needed to run an internet business, in a spectacularly coordinated attack.

The "shooter had an account" excuse

So he did. But if they are going to use that as an excuse to shutdown or refuse service to a social platform, it would be reasonable to play for the same rules for the perpetrators of every violent shooting and terrorist act. Omar Mateen, The Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooter, had made his intentions clear on Facebook, the same platform where several beatings and murders were broadcasted LIVE. The Islamic State uses Twitter to recruit. It's also not unreasonable to assume GMail and other Google services were used to plan and coordinate attacks.

Yet, we never once have seen any of these platforms get in any sort of trouble for the actions of their users. No external provider has, to the best of my knowledge, refused service to the three giants of Big Social. Stripe, who banned Gab, still does business with Facebook, which as I mentioned, lets users broadcast murders, among other questionable-at-best practices.

Interesting timing

Beyond the precise coordination of the attack, it's interesting to note the context in which it happened. In just a few days, on November 6, the U.S. will hold midterm elections. In the 2016 Presidential election, Gab, among others, was instrumental in providing a platform to otherwise censored conservatives and supporters of then-candidate Donald Trump. Ever since, censorship on mainstream social media platforms and attacks on alternative sites have considerably ramped up. In the last few days, Voat (Reddit alternative) and 8chan (4chan alternative) have also been hit by massive DDoS attacks.

The American Left underestimated the sway that Free Speech platforms had in 2016, and are clearly intent on not making the same mistake twice. In my view, the timing and scale of these attacks is no coincidence.

The silencing of Gab also comes on the heels of the historic victory of Jair Bolsonaro, the new President of Brazil. During the Brazilian election, Gab became a haven for Bolsonaro's supporters, following a massive wave of censorship on Facebook, Twitter and local media. In recent weeks, Brazil accounted for as much as 25% of Gab's traffic.

Sordid precedent

Gab isn't the first alternative voice to be brutally and utterly de-platformed. We remember the same treatment being dealt to Alex Jones just a few weeks ago. We remember the countless conservative accounts booted of Facebook and Twitter. But what is happening to Gab right now marks a turning point. This is the first time that this many providers, all at once, terminated service for a client for the flimsiest and most hypocritical of excuses. This is the most relentless I've ever seen the dictatorship of Silicon Valley in action, and it's chilling.

In effect, just a few companies control your right to be present on the Internet. Access to every single layer of infrastructure needed exists at the whim of a few people, and now we've all seen what happens when you don't share their political inclinations, and how easily they can be swayed by the screeching mob.

This is happening to companies that threaten their monopoly, this is happening to individuals who disagree, who just want a place to share their thoughts and opinions, and whether you realize it yet or not, this is happening to you. The Internet is not a cartel, but it's certainly being run like one.


Leftist demonization of whites bears fruit

Jada Campbell

A 71-year-old woman was the victim of a physical and intimidating attack on a Boston-area train after she asked a fellow passenger to move her personal belongings off an otherwise vacant train seat.

According to WBZ-TV, the incident occurred during a recent afternoon commute.

The victim, who would identify herself only as Linda, said that she asked a fellow passenger to remove a pocketbook from an empty seat in order to sit down.

The suspect, 23-year-old Jada Campbell, responded by allegedly calling Linda an "ugly white person" and hitting and tripping her.

"It had been a long week," Linda explained. "I said, 'Excuse me' three times, then I got into her face and asked her to move her bag and she said, 'No, I don't want anyone sitting next to me.'"

What happened next shocked Linda.

"You're an ugly white person," Campbell reportedly told Linda. Campbell reportedly went on to strike the woman on her back, and intentionally tripped her while she was on the train.

Linda said that she obviously felt threatened and got off at an early stop in response.

Campbell reportedly followed Linda. "[Campbell] was abusive, ranting and raving, 'I'm going to take you down and have it out,'" Linda said.

Two other passengers reportedly followed Linda off the train in an apparent effort to defend the older woman. "I had two good Samaritans come off with me and they were protective," Linda said. "Campbell] came up and said, 'Let's have it out here and now,' took off her earrings, and threw stuff down."

When police arrived on the scene, Campbell reportedly resisted arrest, and told witnesses, "If I see you on the streets, I'll murder you."

Police charged Campbell with charged with assault, witness intimidation, and disorderly conduct.

"We were all shaking afterward," Linda said. "She was such a force."


'Sanctuary' refuses to take blame after triple homicide, says ICE responsible for illegal immigrant

Feds say three people would be alive today but for sanctuary policy

An illegal immigrant released by a “sanctuary city” county in New Jersey was charged last week with a triple homicide halfway across the country in Missouri, authorities said Friday.

Luis Rodrigo Perez stands accused of being the gunman in a shooting rampage last week that claimed the lives of two men and one woman at two homes.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had tried to deport Perez after he was arrested on domestic violence charges in Middlesex County, New Jersey, last year.

But the county, which has a noncooperation policy with ICE, refused to alert federal agents when it released Perez in February, ICE said.

“Had ICE’s detainer request in December 2017 been honored by Middlesex County Jail, Luis Rodrigo Perez would have been placed in deportation proceedings and likely sent home to his country — and three innocent people might be alive today,” said Corey Price, acting ICE executive associate director.

John Tsoukaris, ICE’s deportation operations field director in Newark, New Jersey, called Middlesex County’s policy reckless.

He said Perez had a history of violence and would have been a clear candidate for cooperation.

“We hope that this tragic turn of events forces Middlesex to reconsider its policy and that the local elected officials stop protecting criminal aliens,” Mr. Tsoukaris said.

In a statement, the county government rejected blame and said it was ICE that dropped the ball.

Officials said they repeatedly have told ICE that they will cooperate only in some instances, such as when someone is convicted of a first- or second-degree offense. They said Perez’s case didn’t reach that level.

Still, they said, ICE had 51 days while Perez sat in jail during which the agency could have tried to get a deportation order for him. The county said it would have honored that order.

“Instead ICE officials chose to do nothing, which places all responsibility of Mr. Perez’s actions squarely upon ICE,” the county government said in its statement.

Police in Missouri say Perezattacked a home from which he had been kicked out. The victims were heard “begging for their lives,” The Associated Press reported, citing charging documents.

Perez later returned and fired on yet another person, authorities said.

Perez still had outstanding warrants from New Jersey, The Associated Press reported.


Men have had their careers ruined by fake rape claims, and they can’t defend themselves, a former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission has said

Gillian Triggs finally says something sensible

There is a danger that comes with airing allegations of sexual harassment and assault in the public domain, such has become increasingly common in the #MeToo movement.

That’s the view of Gillian Triggs, former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, who said those kinds of matters should almost always be dealt with in the safety of a confidential setting.

In an appearance on the Q&A panel on ABC television, Ms Triggs was responding to a point that men who are falsely accused of inappropriate conduct have few avenues of recourse.

“One of my concerns as a lawyer is far too many of the men have no ability to defend themselves, they’re simply resigning and using the tool of defamation to come back against the woman concerned,” Ms Triggs said.

“For those men, if they feel they’ve been unjustly accused, they have no other vehicle because they’ve lost … the reputation with their colleagues and lost their job very often, and they have no other option.”

Matters needed to be examined “from both perspectives”, which made trying to “solve this problem in the public arena” highly problematic, she said.

“We really need safe confidential and private ways in which to resolve matters long before we go anywhere near the courts, by which time the matter is way out in the public arena.”

Ms Triggs is currently chairing a committee organised by a United Nations body exploring the issue of sexual harassment, she said.

Communications consultant Parnell Palme McGuinness said examples in the United States where men were found to have been falsely accused of rape of sexual assault highlighted the need for caution.

The speed with which the #MeToo movement had taken hold, encouraging victims to publicly air accusations, meant only one side of the issue was being examined, she said. “We can’t have this discussion about women ignoring what happens to men when allegations are raised that are false,” Ms McGuinness said.

“That is not in any way, in any circumstance, to imply that a woman is not telling the truth, but there have been cases, most notably in the States recently with some football players who had their careers ruined on the basis of a fake rape allegation, that go beyond the pale.”

The conversations sparked by #MeToo should consider “both genders”, she said.  “It’s important that this debate be about … how we can ensure that one person, one side’s attempt at being able to speak out more, doesn’t become a way of oppressing the other side.”

Moving away from a tendency to air accusations in private was beneficial for all parties, Ms Triggs said, not just for men who may have been falsely accused.

“Most importantly, and I do go back to my experience with the Human Rights Commission, it must be a safe and confidential environment for women. If they feel their allegations are going to be put into the media … they’re not going to do it.

“We know they’re not going to do it. So it’s key that we establish safe, confidential environments, possibly external to the organisation, where these issues can be safely considered.”

Research conducted in the US in 2010 estimated that between two to 10 per cent of rape accusations were found to be false.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation believes the number of “unfounded” accusations is about eight per cent.

However, as the Q&A panellists also pointed out that a significant number of women do not come forward after experiencing sexual assault, harassment or rape.

In the US and UK, authorities believe between 30 and 40 per cent of victims never come forward to make a formal complaint.

During her time at the Human Rights Commission, Ms Triggs said “hundreds” of matters a year dealt with sexually based allegations. “We would resolve (them) quietly in the small rooms at the Commission, bringing in perhaps an executive of a major company, and you would get a face-to-face examination of the issue,” she said.

“And you would have the matter, in 76 per cent of cases in formal complaints, we would resolve them quietly and confidentially.”

Ms Triggs said in the majority of cases, once an allegation was brought into the public arena, “women almost always came out second or third best”.

Ms Triggs said all organisations had a responsibility to deal directly with matters when they were raised.

“It’s a health and safety issue at minimum. But it’s also an environment in which there’s huge risks to the organisation, to the ability to carry out its objectives,” she said.

However, more work needed to be done to encourage victims of sexual assault, harassment or rape to feel safe enough to come forward. At the moment, far too many don’t, she said.

“It is absolutely typical — the woman concerned will raise the issue at particular levels, perhaps test the waters, see what kind of response she’s getting, and very rapidly retreat and not make a formal complaint,” Ms Triggs said.

“And that is typical globally. Women simply don’t proceed because they see it as too dangerous, because they know, there’s a very high probability, they’ll be the ones that suffer.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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