Archives‎ > ‎

Roger Scruton sacked for criticising Soros; Trans try to oust Camille Paglia, from Peter Myers

(1) Scruton sacked as 'anti-semite'; Soros supporters brag about Arab Spring, overthrow of  Ukraine & Gaddafi

(2) The New Statesman twisted Roger Scruton's statements on China, Soros & Islam, to Defame Him

(3) Guardian & New Statesman smear Scruton as anti-Semite, hater of Muslims, and despiser of Chinese

(4) Trans try to oust Camille Paglia

(5) EU & UK Censor Internet in Guise of Copyright protection and stopping Porn, Terrorism & Fake News


(1) Scruton sacked as 'anti-semite'; Soros supporters brag about Arab Spring, overthrow of  Ukraine & Gaddafi

The right to criticise George Soros

This arrogant and destructive oligarch must be held to account.


15th April 2019

Anyone who dares to criticise the billionaire speculator George Soros can expect to be denounced as an anti-Semite. So last week, when Roger Scruton spoke unkindly about Soros in an interview with the New Statesman, it was inevitable that sections of the media would brand him a xenophobic villain. Scruton referred to a ‘Soros Empire’ in Hungary and this was immediately seized upon as evidence of his anti-Semitism. George Eaton, who carried out the interview, tweeted that, ‘There is no context in which it is OK to refer to a "Soros empire" (an anti-Semitic trope)’.

There was a time when criticism of Soros was not automatically condemned as a form of secular heresy. Some in the media were more than willing to draw attention to Soros’s parasitic behaviour as a ruthless speculator who seemed indifferent to the destructive impact of his actions on other people’s lives. Even the New Statesman was prepared to question Soros’s imperial ambitions and to question this oligarch’s motives. Indeed, Scruton’s reference to a ‘Soros Empire’ in Hungary comes across as positively restrained in comparison with the wording in a 2003 New Statesman profile of Soros.

That profile drew attention to the who’s who of the American military-industrial complex who made up the boards of the numerous NGOs funded by Soros. It pointed out that Soros’s International Crisis Group included such ‘non-governmental’ personalities as former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and General Wesley Clark, a former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe. The NS profile said it ‘cannot be seriously’ doubted that Soros’s ‘companies and NGOs are closely wrapped up in US expansionism’. ‘For years’, it continued, ‘Soros and his NGOs have gone about their work extending the boundaries of the "free world"’.

Then there was Soros’s fondness for supporting regime change. ‘Armed with a few billion dollars, a handful of NGOs and a nod and a wink from the US State Department, it is perfectly possible to topple foreign governments that are bad for business, seize a country’s assets, and even to get thanked for your benevolence afterwards’, said the 2003 NS profile of Soros.

And Soros was already hard at work in Hungary, as the NS profile pointed out: ‘In 1984, he founded his first Open Society Institute in Hungary and pumped millions of dollars into opposition movements and independent media. Ostensibly aimed at building up a "civil society", these initiatives were designed to weaken the existing political structures and pave the way for Eastern Europe’s eventual colonisation by global capital.’ The Independent went even further than the New Statesman. In 1998 it referred to Soros as ‘God of all he surveys’.

Back in 2003, clearly the New Statesman was not in the business of instructing the public on what you could and couldn’t say about Soros. It was still possible then to criticise Soros’s imperial ambition without facing the charge of anti-Semitism. Soros hadn’t yet been claimed as a sacred figure. Sixteen years later and things could not be more different. Soros is now treated as a male version of Mother Theresa. Last year the Financial Times chose him as its ‘Person of the Year’ and, without irony, characterised him as the ‘standard bearer for liberal democracy’.

So what has changed? Why has the political establishment become so devoted to Soros and the idea that he is some kind of secular saint? What has changed is this: much of the Western political establishment and its supporters in the media have become acutely aware of the erosion of their authority and legitimacy. The context for the media vilification of Roger Scruton, and of anyone who criticises Soros, is the raging culture war. In this conflict, the values promoted by the political and cultural establishment are being openly challenged by what they contemptuously dismiss as the forces of populism. Their fear of populism has led them to take a hard line towards anyone who questions their moral or political authority. And in this climate, Soros becomes a kind of anti-populist hero whose reputation needs to be affirmed and celebrated, and whose critics must be damned.

The recent popular rejection of the technocratic style of governance embodied in the EU has forced a hitherto complacent political class on to the defensive. They rightly regard Soros as one of their own and believe that any criticism aimed at this valiant ‘standard bearer for liberal democracy’ is an attack on their legitimacy. That is why Scruton, the very minute he talked about Soros’s imperial ambition, had to be demonised.

In the past, Soros was quite open about his craving for fame and power. He once said: ‘I have always harboured an exaggerated view of my self-importance.’ ‘To put it bluntly’, he said, ‘I fancied myself as some kind of god or an economic reformer like Keynes, or, even better, like Einstein’. Soros clearly enjoys playing God and believes that he doesn’t have to shoulder much responsibility for the destructive consequences of his actions. Indeed, when confronted with the devastating results of his currency speculation on Far Eastern economies in 1997, he replied: ‘As a market participant, I don’t need to be concerned with the consequences of my actions.’

Soros remains an avid empire-builder. I am not sure whether Scruton is entirely accurate to refer to a ‘Soros Empire’ in Hungary – but if it doesn’t exist, it is not for a lack of trying. During my conversations with Hungarian intellectuals in the 1990s, many of them would allude to the fact that Soros came to their country in the early 1980s to ‘go shopping for intellectuals and public figures’. Many of them acknowledged that they were happy to receive funding from Soros because there was no obvious alternative source of finance. Through his activities, Soros successfully established a powerful influence over Hungarian public life.

Rich people are fully entitled to play an active role in public affairs. However, there is something morally wrong when a single individual uses his wealth to influence the political culture of a society. Such behaviour is particularly immoral when an oligarch is able to exercise power over a society he is not a part of. It seems clear to me that the NGOs that Soros funded and supported in Hungary swiftly became a vehicle for his neocolonial project. This project was welcomed by many Hungarian intellectuals and other public figures. ‘Few people have done to Budapest what George Soros has’, enthused Gábor Demszky, a former mayor of Hungary. Soros has contributed to some huge ‘structural and mental changes in the capital city and Hungary itself’, said Demszky.

I want to conclude on a personal note. In 2013, I was invited to speak at an event funded by one of Soros’s foundations in Budapest: the Open Society Youth Exchange. There were many Soros-funded NGO activists in attendance, from various parts of the former Soviet Republics and Eastern Europe. During a lunch at a Budapest hotel, I came face to face with the imperial ambition driving the Soros network. I listened to Dutch, American, British, Ukrainian and Hungarian supporters of Soros’s NGOs brag about their accomplishments. Some claimed they played a major role in the Arab Spring in Egypt. Others voiced their pride in their contribution to the democratisation of Ukraine. Some crowed about their contribution to the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in Libya.

I sat quietly and felt uncomfortable with these people who so casually assumed that they had the right to play God around the world. At one point, the head of the table – a Hungarian leader of one of Soros’s NGOs – asked me what I thought of their work. I replied that I wasn’t certain whether their imposition of their idea of democracy on the people of Libya was legitimate, or that it would work. Without hesitation my interlocutor rounded on me with the words: ‘I don’t think that we have the luxury of waiting until the Libyan people find their own Jefferson!’

To this day I remember the haughty tone with which she lectured me about how Soros-funded NGOs served as the functional equivalent of Thomas Jefferson for people around the world. I was utterly shocked by the arrogance. I am not sure how much they were exaggerating their role in the destabilisation of the Gaddafi regime. However, the neocolonial, anti-democratic arrogance they displayed towards the people of Libya will stay in my mind – it is not dissimilar to the broader Soros network’s view of European voters today as a populist rabble.

As for the tactic of discrediting critics of Soros with the charge of anti-Semitism – many people who claim that the use of the term ‘Soros Empire’ is anti-Semitic would not bat an eye if someone were to talk about a Jewish lobby dominating American congress. Their concern about anti-Semitism is a highly selective one. This weaponisation of anti-Semitism trivialises a very dangerous prejudice. This baiting of critics of Soros as anti-Jewish undermines the cause of fighting genuine anti-Semitism. Let me assure them that for critics of Soros like myself, the only innocuous feature of George Soros is that he happens to be a Jew.

Scruton, who lost his job as a government adviser for daring to criticise Soros, has learned to his cost that the right to free speech does not apply when you are criticising the ‘standard bearer for liberal democracy’. Shame on a craven Conservative government for its shocking treatment of Scruton. Thankfully, those who are committed to silencing critics of Soros will discover that their censorious behaviour will provoke more and more people to raise questions about this oligarch and his destructive behaviour.

Frank Furedi’s How Fear Works: the Culture of Fear in the 21st Century is published by Bloomsbury Press.


(2) The New Statesman twisted Roger Scruton's statements on China, Soros & Islam, to Defame Him

The real Roger Scruton scandal

It is the behaviour of the New Statesman that has been most disturbing.

by Brendan O'Neill

11th April 2019

The Roger Scruton scandal is indeed disturbing. Not because of what Roger Scruton said, but because of what the New Statesman did. In order to score a hit against a conservative philosopher cum Tory adviser who has always rubbed leftists up the wrong way, the New Statesman’s deputy editor dispensed with the ethics of journalism, wilfully distorted a quotation, and inferred racism where, to the best of our knowledge, none exists. Scruton’s comments were not particularly shocking, but the New Statesman’s behaviour was.

Scruton had been a housing adviser to the Conservative government. Yesterday he was sacked for his ‘unacceptable comments’ in the New Statesman interview, as the minister of housing put it. Reading the general media coverage of the scandal, and the New Statesman’s promotion of the interview online, you could be forgiven for thinking that these ‘unacceptable comments’ from Scruton included anti-Chinese racism and anti-Semitism. But they didn’t; it only looks that way because of the New Statesman’s unethical sleight of hand and virtual misquotation – usually a huge no-no in the world of respectable journalism.

All those who think Scruton expressed racial hatred against Chinese people and Jews really should read the interview. They might find that they have more questions for the New Statesman’s deputy editor, George Eaton, who conducted the interview, than they do for Scruton. Take the claims of anti-Chinese racism. In his Twitter-summary of Scruton’s comments, Mr Eaton has the philosopher saying the following: ‘Each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing.’ That would indeed be a racist thing to say, playing on the stereotype that all Chinese people look and behave the same. But that isn’t what Scruton said. He said: ‘They’re creating robots out of their own people… each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing.’

So Scruton, it seems, was talking about the Chinese Communist Party and its expectation of conformism from the populace, not the Chinese people. By taking his comments out of context, Mr Eaton, quite wilfully it seems, turned criticism of a tyrannical government into a racist slur against a whole people. But it’s even worse than that. Mr Eaton did not only take the comments out of context – he also changed them, in a small but nonetheless important way. In his tweet, his use of a capital ‘E’ on ‘Each’ – in order to make the sentence ‘Each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing’ look like a standalone comment – is, to all intents and purposes, a misquotation. In the actual interview article, the ‘each’ has a small ‘e’, and is preceded by ellipsis, because it was clearly part of a broader comment by Scruton on the authoritarian nature of contemporary China. A journalist has misrepresented the views of a public figure to make him seem racist – isn’t that more scandalous than Scruton’s strong-worded critique of what he views as Chinese conformism?

What about anti-Semitism? Again, Scruton says nothing in the interview that could be construed as anti-Jewish hatred, and yet the New Statesman infers that he did. Scruton made critical comments about the ‘Soros empire’ in Hungary. He was referring to George Soros, the Hungarian-American philanthropist who funds many so-called ‘progressive’ think-tanks and institutions. Soros is Jewish, and according to some liberal observers, this means any criticism of him is by definition anti-Semitic. This is a perverse idea. Is there a ‘Soros empire’ in Hungary? That’s certainly not a phrase I would use, but it is an indisputable fact that Soros funds various groups inside Hungary and across Europe. The depiction of all anti-Soros criticism as anti-Semitic is dodgy on two levels in particular. First, it demonises and seeks to silence all public discussion of a billionaire and his political interests. And secondly, it seriously harms the crucial struggle against resurgent anti-Semitism by weaponising accusations of anti-Semitism to the cynical end of silencing dissent on Soros and his political role – and this can only deepen the depressing cynicism that already exists towards the seriousness of anti-Semitism.

Let’s put it like this. If someone were to say that Ed Miliband is a wily, puppeteering political figure who uses his North London connections to do down ordinary people, that would clearly be anti-Semitic. But if someone said Mr Miliband was a piss-poor leader of the Labour Party who hasn’t got two ideas to rub together, that is not anti-Semitic. Do you see? Likewise, if a Hungarian hard-right agitator says Soros is a sinister, octopus-style figure puppeteering the Western world, that is anti-Semitic. But if someone – Scruton, say – says Soros funds various campaign groups that have a detrimental impact on conservative values, that is not anti-Semitic.

In order to fortify the smear that Scruton is anti-Semitic – despite the fact that he said nothing about Jews in the interview – Mr Eaton refers to an old speech Scruton made in which he seemed to suggest that Hungarian Jews are part of the ‘Soros empire’. Gross, right? Only, once again, his comments are taken out of context. He said, in the speech titled ‘The Need for Nations’, delivered in Hungary a few years ago, that ‘many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros Empire’. Why did he make this claim? He said many of these Jewish intellectuals are ‘rightly suspicious of nationalism’, because of the anti-Semitic horrors of the 1930s and 40s, and they are also confronted with the ‘indigenous anti-Semitism [that] still plays a part in Hungarian society and politics’. These past and present experiences are an ‘obstacle to the emergence of a shared national loyalty among ethnic Hungarians and Jews’, he said. So he was sympathising with the plight of Hungary’s Jews. Did Mr Eaton not have space to point this out?

Scruton’s other ‘unacceptable comments’ include saying that Hungarians in recent years have been ‘alarmed’ by ‘the sudden invasion of huge tribes of Muslims from the Middle East’. This is indeed very worrying language. It is the one part of the interview that feels ugly. So why not challenge it? Why simply cite it as evidence for why Scruton is unfit for public life? For a public role that has precisely nothing to do with immigration or Islam?

Scruton also said that Islamophobia is a word ‘invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop discussion of a major issue’. What’s wrong with that? I would dispute that the Muslim Brotherhood invented the word. There are so many competing claims as to who invented it. And in the UK context, it was the Runnymede Trust that popularised it. But it strikes many of us as utterly uncontroversial to suggest that accusations of Islamophobia are used to close down discussion about Islam, Islamist extremism, social and cultural tensions, and so on. Because Scruton thinks Islamophobia is a phrase used to chill public debate, he deserves to be sacked? That’s crazy.

Here’s the truth of it: most of Scruton’s comments were not particularly alarming or surprising. He criticised China’s enforcement of conformism, repeated his concerns about George Soros’s growing influence, and called for a more open debate about issues relating to Islam. Demanding someone’s scalp because you disagree with their views is one of the most depressing features of our age. In the interview, Scruton was doing what Scruton has always done – provoke and challenge and irritate. It is the New Statesman that has changed. A once prestigious magazine now distorts and virtually misquotes as part of a transparent hit job against a philosopher whose views it doesn’t like. In this scandal, it is the dishonesty and anti-intellectualism of the New Statesman that should concern those who care for the state of public life.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy


(3) Guardian & New Statesman smear Scruton as anti-Semite, hater of Muslims, and despiser of Chinese

Sacking Scruton

All too predictably, the British government dismisses the distinguished philosopher from an architecture commission.

Theodore Dalrymple

April 12, 2019

When the British government appointed Sir Roger Scruton, the recently knighted philosopher, as unpaid chairman of the Building Beautiful Architecture Commission, a belated attempt to slow down or halt the further desecration of the British townscape (it would be impossible to reverse it) by improving the aesthetic quality of the housing thenceforth to be built, howls of outrage arose from certain quarters—notably, but not surprisingly, from architects and the left-wing commentariat. How dare a Conservative government co-opt a conservative!

The Guardian called Scruton the Alf Garnett of architecture—Alf Garnett having been a white, working-class, fictional television character of the 1960s famed for his ignorant and prejudiced rants. The comparison could scarcely have been less apt or more defamatory. Even those who disagree with Scruton could hardly call him ignorant or his views the product of mere prejudice, in the sense of unthinking, dogmatic acceptance of the prevailing opinions of his milieu. Very much the contrary; all his life, he has swum against the intellectual stream, often at great personal cost.

It was obvious from the first that his appointment was a wound to the predominant faction of the British intelligentsia that could be healed only by his dismissal. The sheer hideousness of most of what has been built in Britain over the last few decades (so immediately apparent that only an intellectual could miss it) was no excuse for having allowed Scruton to sully the corridors of power even for a few months. In the great work of ridding the body politic of the stone in its shoe or the thorn in its flesh, any slur would do, any libel or slander that came to mind was perfectly acceptable.

An interview with the deputy editor of the New Statesman, a left-wing weekly, sealed Scruton’s fate, as it was intended to do. The deputy editor, George Eaton, almost certainly counted on the utter pusillanimity of the British government—and he had himself pictured swigging champagne directly from the bottle immediately after the government dismissed Scruton. In the published version of the interview, Eaton gives an impression of Scruton as an anti-Semite, hater of Muslims, and despiser of Chinese. All these accusations are false and defamatory, as any reader of Scruton would know—for example, he often quotes Islamic writings knowledgably and with respect, while maintaining that Islamophobia is an invented category to shield the religion from rational criticism. But as a well-known political writer once put it, if you sling enough mud, some of it sticks, and enough mud stuck for the British government to lose whatever little nerve it ever had and fire him.

I surmise that there is a reason why Scruton was particularly hated in his role as chairman of the Building Beautiful Architecture Commission—other than the fact that the existence of the Commission, by its very name, brings attention to the ugliness of what progressive social-engineering architects have wrought. Namely: he was unpaid. This set a bad precedent, for those who truly have the good of the country at heart, such as progressive social engineers, should surely be well rewarded for their trouble. Scruton was thus letting the side down by working for nothing and had to be punished for it.


(4) Trans try to oust Camille Paglia

Petition calling for Paglia to be ‘removed from UArts faculty and replaced by a queer person of colour’

Solidarity with Camille Paglia

These student censors are reactionaries posing as progressives.

by Ella Whelan

18th April 2019

Silencing Camille Paglia is all but impossible. Anyone who has interviewed the academic and social critic, or just watched her in a debate, knows about her ability to catapult words and ideas at the listener. And as a long-time feminist and campaigner for gay rights, Paglia has used her unstoppable voice over the years to demand freedom for men and women.

But silencing Paglia is exactly what a group of students at the University of Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia is trying to do. Paglia is a professor of humanities and media studies at UArts, and has been for 35 years. As a dissident feminist and critic of victim politics, she has been protested against in the past due to her views. But now, over a thousand people have signed a petition calling for Paglia to be ‘removed from UArts faculty and replaced by a queer person of colour’ because of her views on #MeToo and transgenderism.

If, due to tenure, it is impossible to remove Paglia, the students demand that the university provide alternate classes ‘taught by professors who respect transgender students and survivors of sexual assault’. They also want UArts to apologise, stop inviting Paglia to public events, and sit down with trans students and survivors of sexual assault to listen to ‘how they can best be supported moving forward’.

One wonders whether these students have ever listened to what Paglia has to say about #MeToo and transgenderism. The petition links to an interview I conducted with Paglia for spiked at the university in April 2016, in which she talked about the panic about ‘rape culture’. She said that, when it comes to sexual harassment and assault, contemporary feminists are engaging in a ‘prima donna exposure of… wounds’ rather than taking men to task for their bad behaviour.

If the students watched the 35-minute interview, rather than the one-minute clip they have been circulating, they would hear this comment put into context by a much longer discussion about how women should fight to be free. Paglia has been kicking against the pricks for decades. She critcises the current panic about sexual assault because she is so dedicated to women’s freedom, not because she has no ‘respect’ for survivors.

As for her comments on transgenderism, it seems Paglia is just the latest old-school feminist to come under fire for not adhering to the new trans orthodoxy. Paglia is slightly different from other notable feminists who are critical of trans ideology – people like Germaine Greer, Linda Bellos or Sheila Jeffreys – in that she has described herself as transgender. As she told the Weekly Standard in June 2017, ‘I was donning flamboyant male costumes from early childhood on’. Indeed, Paglia was outspoken on gay rights and her own sexuality back when being open about these things was a dangerous thing to be.

What Paglia takes issue with is what she calls the ‘current transgender wave’. When we spoke in 2016, she raised widely held concerns about the dangers of trying to treat mental ill-health by transitioning from one sex to another. ‘All unhappiness is consolidated into the gender issue – and maybe that is a genuine issue for you, but it may not be the whole issue’, she told me. She also said she would have probably considered transitioning if she were young today, and she said she is worried about the pressures on young people to do so. These are not the words of a bigot or a transphobe. These are the words of someone sympathetically questioning a particular cultural trend.

Paglia has not and does not hold bigoted views, or opinions that put students ‘in danger’ – she merely holds views that challenge their worldview. The petition calls Paglia’s views ‘controversial’ – are controversial views not allowed on campus anymore? UArts president David Yager bravely released a statement defending Paglia, stating that ‘limiting the range of voices in society erodes our democracy’. For this, he was told to apologise for his ‘wildly ignorant and hypocritical letter’ by the petitioners. Their arrogance and ignorance is really rather frightening.

Universities are in danger of losing their reason for existing – interrogating ideas and challenging students to learn and think. If the petitioners get what they want, and Camille Paglia is sacked or silenced, it would be an affront to women’s rights, gay rights and, more importantly, to the idea of a free society. More than that, the university would be losing a key asset. I would love to be taught by Paglia – the hour I spent interviewing her was electric. So let’s stand in solidarity with her, against these reactionaries posing as progressives.

Ella Whelan is a spiked columnist and the author of What Women Want: Fun, Freedom and an End to Feminism.


(5) EU & UK Censor Internet in Guise of Copyright protection and stopping Porn, Terrorism & Fake News

From Elspeth Gass <>

APRIL 17, 2019

Splinternet: EU Censorship Ramps Up With Acta 2, While UK Passes Terror Law, Porn Law, And Introduces First Internet Regulation Agency

By Aaron Kesel

Across Europe, MEPs voted successfully to redesign the Internet with a censorship directive disguised as a copyright proposal, while the UK itself passed a horrifying terror bill that will make it illegal to watch any "terrorist propaganda" (not clearly defined) which carries sentencing of 15 years, an age restriction porn law and introduced the world’s first Internet regulation safety agency.

ACTA 2 which required all the dirty tricks in the book to pass the initial vote, has now passed in a vote of 22 countries in favor of the law.

Only six countries — Italy, Sweden, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg — voted against the proposed directive that will change the Internet as we know it.

This means that EU member countries have two years to comply by drafting their own national laws. This is sure to spur protests and legal battles all over Europe for the next few years.

The directive was passed despite more than 5.2 million people who signed an online petition calling to save the Internet and abandon the legalese.

Throughout the voting process,  there were numerous tricks by EPP Group and other political parties involved in the copyright directive, or ACTA 2, such as attempting to change the voting date, intimidating politicians by threatening them with bad press, and even changing the article numbers prior to the vote. ...

If that wasn’t enough, a report by a German publication has revealed that the real reason Germany caved to France in February is because the country was bribed in negotiations to get approval for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has previously warned that the proposed policies within ACTA 2 will increase censorship and surveillance throughout Europe and create a Stasi state. The digital rights organization specifically calls on people from Germany, Sweden, Poland, and Luxembourg, to speak out.

"Your national government depends on your goodwill to win the votes to continue its mandate. This is a rare moment in European lawmaking when local connections from citizens matter more than well-funded, international corporations," EFF writes.

EFF notes that the petition was created because the law will inevitably lead to the creation of algorithmic copyright filters that only US Big Tech companies can afford (making the field less competitive and thus harder for working artists to negotiate better deals in), and because these filters will censor enormous quantities of legitimate material.

As Activist Post has continuously reported, Article 13 is designed to make website owners responsible for the content that users post on their websites, effectively forcing website owners to move behind an upload filter to protect themselves against huge claims by copyright owners and agencies that work on their behalfs like the MPAA and RIAA. Article 11 is an even worse concept. That has been dubbed the "link tax" article; if passed, linking to any copyrighted material is taxed upon.

Pirate Party Germany member Julia Reda notes the final horrifying shocking changes made to the bill in a blog post.

Commercial sites and apps where users can post material must make "best efforts" to preemptively buy licences for anything that users may possibly upload – that is: all copyrighted content in the world. An impossible feat.

In addition, all but very few sites (those both tiny and very new) will need to do everything in their power to prevent anything from ever going online that may be an unauthorised copy of a work that a rightsholder has registered with the platform. They will have no choice but to deploy upload filters, which are by their nature both expensive and error-prone.

Should a court ever find their licensing or filtering efforts not fierce enough, sites are directly liable for infringements as if they had committed them themselves. This massive threat will lead platforms to over-comply with these rules to stay on the safe side, further worsening the impact on our freedom of speech. Reda also expresses that for the link tax, there will be extra copyright for news sites, like the one you are reading now.

Reproducing more than "single words or very short extracts" of news stories will require a licence. That will likely cover many of the snippets commonly shown alongside links today in order to give you an idea of what they lead to. We will have to wait and see how courts interpret what "very short" means in practice – until then, hyperlinking (with snippets) will be mired in legal uncertainty. No exceptions are made even for services run by individuals, small companies or non-profits, which probably includes any monetized blogs or websites.

UK Porn Ban

Meanwhile, in the UK the government has just announced that its proposed "porn ban" will go into effect on July 15th of this year.

All Internet users in the UK will be forced to prove they are over 18 or be entirely blocked from seeing adult content on the Web, The Independent reported.

Under the new rules, any provider of online pornography will be forced to implement "robust age-verification checks on users" to ensure their customers are adults.

These checks could include having Internet users enter personal details into a privately owned database or purchase a pass to view content. There will be a number of different ways to prove your age, the government said, all of which will be "rigorous" and will be much more then just typing details into a checkbox.

If pornographic websites fail to comply with the rules, they could have payment services withdrawn or be blocked for all UK users.

UK Insane Terrorism Law

If all that wasn’t enough, the UK has also passed one of the most draconian pieces of legislation on viewing terrorist propaganda in the history of the Internet.

The new law has been deemed a "thought crime" by United Nations inspector Professor Joe Cannataci who has said it seemed "arbitrary" and added: "It seems to be pushing a bit too much towards thought crime…the difference between forming the intention to do something and then actually carrying out the act is still fundamental to criminal law."

A number of new rules mean people can be jailed for viewing terrorist propaganda online, entering "designated areas" abroad, and making "reckless expressions" of support for certain groups.

The designated areas have not been defined by the government yet; however, they are expected to include territory controlled by terrorist groups and war zones throughout the Middle East. Although, the law has an exception for individuals who were forced involuntarily to remain in one of those areas.

After NGOs raised human rights concerns, further exemptions include humanitarian work, journalism, and funerals.

The government also lengthened prison sentences for several terror offenses, ended automatic early release for those convicted of terrorist actions and put them under a stricter monitoring process after they are freed from prison.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 gives "police the powers they need to disrupt terrorist plots earlier and ensure that those who seek to do us harm face just punishment."

"As we saw in the deadly attacks in London and Manchester in 2017, the threat from terrorism continues to evolve and so must our response, which is why these vital new measures have been introduced," Javid added.

A detailed report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights also stated that the offense being punishable by up to 15 years in prison, "is a breach of the right to receive information and risks criminalizing legitimate research and curiosity."

The obvious question one is left wondering is who decides what is "terrorist propaganda"? Is it only defined as ISIS/al-Qaeda, or is the definition much broader to possibly include protesters against the government in the future? We will have to of course wait and see.

UK Creation of First Internet Regulator

This all comes on the heels of the UK wanting to establish the world’s first independent regulator to keep social media companies in check, as CNET reported.

This agency will be designed to make the Internet a safer place. The new regulation firm was jointly announced by the Home Office and Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The government white paper, titled Online Harms, published Monday in the UK, outlines "plans for a world-leading package of online safety measures."

"The White Paper proposes establishing in law a new duty of care towards users, which will be overseen by an independent regulator. Companies will be held to account for tackling a comprehensive set of online harms, ranging from illegal activity and content to behaviors which are harmful but not necessarily illegal," the release reads.

All social media companies, file-hosting sites, online forums, messaging services, and search engines will be required to tackle the following issues:

Incitement of violence and the spread of violent (including terrorist) content

Encouragement of self-harm or suicide

The spread of disinformation and fake news


Children’s access to inappropriate material

Child exploitation and abuse content

While putting an age-restriction filter behind online porn may seem like the right thing to do, introducing an upload filter, introducing an Internet regulator agency and punishing the right to receive information risks punishing legitimate uses of the free Internet. Because of these new measures combined with systems already in place, we are only one step away from the greater tyranny of the death of freedom of information.

Numerous digital rights groups have stated the harsh regulation regime proposed could lead to free speech and privacy violations.

"This is an unprecedented attack on freedom of speech that will see internet giants monitoring the communications of billions and censoring lawful speech," Big Brother Watch said in a tweet.


This is leading to a "splinternet," a term made popular last year by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt who predicted that the Internet would collapse into two parts:  one led by the Chinese and the other led by the U.S.  Although Schmidt didn’t mention the UK, the former EU country seems to be leading the effort along with current European Union member countries.

A recent Associated Free Press article entitled: "Breaking the internet: new regulations imperil global network," highlights the key problem with individual countries creating their own regulatory laws for a system that was created to enable connectivity amongst nations without borders. The Internet is global, a World Wide Web, so this means that website owners will have to conform to multiple countries’ laws; this stifles not only freedom of information, but can also harm small businesses that aren’t corporate giants like Google or Facebook.

Further, as a result, conflicting Internet legislation by multiple countries will ultimately fragment information across networks and countries. Already, with the passing of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as Gizmodo reported, we have seen this taking form.

Now, if you visit dozens of American news websites from an EU-based IP address some of the news sites state the following or something similar, "Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism."

Internet regulation fascism is rising and it doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. The question must be asked: where is Anonymous which aided in helping stop past Orwellian Internet legislation? It seems everyone has been quiet despite this ongoing recent push to take away all of our free Internet Rights and freedoms one country at a time.

If Internet rights and freedoms are to be kept, then the people need to come together, rise up and protest their governments like never before and let their voices, keystrokes, and digital sit-ins be heard and felt worldwide. Otherwise, we risk entering into an era that will be known as the 21st-century dark ages where information is forgotten due to policing, censorship through upload filters or accused terrorist propaganda content, and generally lost due to not being able to pay for every external link on a website (link tax.) There is no going back once these systems and infrastructure regulatory agencies are in place.

-- Peter Myerswebsite: