Twitter Launches All-Out Assault On Freedom Of Speech

The focus of this blog article is set out in two parts:

a) The rightful shutting down and suspensions of social media user accounts that espouse, promote, and/ or incite hatred;

b) The wrongful shutting down and suspensions of social media user accounts that espouse valid criticism of human rights abuses by oppressive nation states.

Despite falling traffic and market value, in a drive to combat so-called online 'hate speech', Twitter has recently started banning controversial and/ or outspoken user accounts on its social media platform.

One of the first accounts to fall foul of Twitter's perma-suspension/ lifetime ban, was that of Milo Yiannopoulos, known as 'the infamous internet troll.'

This was back in July 2016, after he (Milo) attacked the actress, Leslie Jones, and encouraged his followers to do the same, which included her receiving death threats and racial abuse.

More recently, Twitter has begun dishing out bans to similar accounts of the alt-right.

Slate has since reported, that the most prominent of these, was Richard Spencer, director of a white nationalist think tank, the National Policy Institute. His associated accounts were also suspended.

USA Today also reports that other alt-right user accounts have been suspended.

Other accounts, such as Tarek Fatah, David Vance, Tommy Robinson, Pam Geller, Pat Condell, Paul Joseph Watson, and Robert Spencer, have so far escaped the culling.

Don't get me wrong, Twitter is right to do this.

In this instance, this is not about silencing rights and freedoms to speak one’s mind, seek to offend, or be politically incorrect. The issue here, is one of stopping hate speech and incitement.

As evidence of the problem, we only need look at Trump’s rhetoric during the presidential campaign. There is clear evidence that his comments spawned several thousand racist hate attacks, abuse, and also murders, across the US. How do we know Trump is to blame? Well, in many of the incidents, his supporters, who have been the perpetrators in many instances, claimed to have his consent to carry out their racist acts.

Within the last few days, Tommy Robinson, the Pegida, UK leader and founder of the former English Defence League, incited his followers to claim that an anti-Islamophobia campaign, #IAM2016, launched by Mend Community, was in fact, a campaign supporting Daesh.

It is clear, that the alt-right are inciting hatred and abuse online, which, in turn, manifests in our every day real lives, causing genuine harm and suffering; mainly to the lives of minority communities.

(As an aside, the recent and now more prevalent use of the term 'alt-right' is a deliberately misapplied label, that is used to disguise, not only the views of those who consider themselves as libertarians espousing the right to offend and speak without censure, but also to make the views of extremists and racists on the far right more acceptable and tolerated.

Indeed, use of the term 'alt-right' is one of the single most cynical, perverse and iniquitous attempts by the likes of Milo, Robinson, Watson et al, to seek to diminish and white-wash the impact of hate speech and racism ladled on minorities and trivialise what they perceive is the right to abuse, cause offence and spread hatred).

Without doubt, Twitter should be applauded for its efforts to curb members of the Far Right from spreading hate, marginalising minorities, promoting homophobia, misogyny, racial abuse, and inequality.

After-all, there is no such thing as free speech without responsibility. Any sane and reasonable person accepts this. If not, you are more than likely to have one or more personality disorders.

More worryingly, however, is that Twitter is now actively silencing liberals and socialists, like myself, who speak out against members of the Far Right and crimes of oppressive regimes, such as Saudi, Turkiye and Israel.

Erdogan and Netanyahu have both actively sought to crush the right of any individual to criticise their national policies of brutality, human rights abuses, political interventions, and continued war crimes.

For its part, the UK-based Community Security Trust (CST), working on behalf of the Israeli government, announced a few days ago, that it is working with and to 'influence' and re-educate Twitter to 'remove' anti-Zionist accounts, critical of Israel’s apartheid, demonstrated by its forced displacement of people, and illegal annexation and occupation of Palestinian lands.

As the journalist Asa Winstanley recently reminded us with a post on his Twitter feed, CST - a so-called registered charity, under the guise of monitoring anti-Semitism - 'leads', and 'has been secretly participating in counter measures to shut down campaigns by the BDS movement', for a number of years.

The relevance of the use of the word 'secretly' in the above statement, by Asa, is very pertinent here.

As is clearly evident by recent statements made by the UK Tory party Conservative Friends of Israel, CST proactively seeks to influence and subvert the UK Government in its effort to have anti-Zionism and the BDS movement labelled as anti-Semitic and thus proscribed. Thereby creating a new offence, punishable by criminal sanction, such as a fine or prison sentence.

'Antony Lerman — a genuine expert on the problem of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish violence in Europe — has strongly criticized the CST for its conflation of anti-Semitism with any moves to question the behavior of the State of Israel.'

(Quote from Sarah Irving Lobby Watch, published on Electronic Intifada's site on 20 January 2015)

CST's efforts to criminalise BDS and anti-Zionism in the UK have thus far failed, despite mucho butthurt outrage and protestations from other, equally, subversive and vexatious UK-based Jewish organisations, including by the Israeli government itself and Mark Regev, its UK Ambassador.

Here in this following image of a tweet, is a telling and frank admission from CST, that it is actively working with Twitter to silence freedom of speech and valid criticism of Israeli apartheid:

In case of deletion, it has been archived:

https://twitter.com/CST_UK/status/801811713653936128

One of the other tactics that CST and its litigious counter-part, Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) employ - in seeking to silence any and all constructive debate or valid criticism of Israel’s human rights abuses - is to recruit, train, and work with individual volunteers. CST purports to have recruited 3000.

These volunteers then seek to harass, abuse, and name and shame BDS supporters and anti-Zionists online and in their real lives, as happened to Jo Stowell, a well-known photographer, who, like another person I am aware of, has had suspicious packages sent to her home and clients contacted (anonymously) with malicious claims of anti-Semitism.

Their intention, clearly being to damage her career and deprive her of her livelihood. Yet, despite Jo’s requests to CST for this harassment to cease, CST have only allowed it to continue. The police have told Jo that their hands are tied. One can only assume such inaction is due to links with and possible interventions of CST.

Both CST and CAA also encourage their volunteers to make false and malicious reports to Twitter - in order to have BDS and pro-Palestinian accounts suspended - as recently happened to my Twitter account, too.

(As shown in the above link, @BedlamJones (regarding my own account suspension) is a well-known Zionist troll on social media, working with CST and other Zionist propaganda organisations, to have mine and other anti-Zionist twitter accounts suspended. It was CST who personally had my own account suspended).

My own account was suspended because I tweeted a meme of a troll doll with the quote 'I would pay to see a noose around my trolls' neck’. Twitter claims that my tweet was a ‘violent threat’ and ‘targeted harassment’.

Similarly to making multiple false reports to Twitter, CST and CAA actively encourage their volunteers to gather potential evidence and make reports to the police to bring criminal charges of anti-Semitism. Insofar as I am aware, these efforts have failed in all but one case.

There is also new evidence that CST and CAA ‘volunteers’ are actively attempting to hack BDS and anti-Zionist social media accounts, as shown here:

https://twitter.com/JOYOURPAPARAZZI/status/800278221405257729

Twitter, more bizarrely, is now being increasingly selective and biased in what accounts it will suspend. In an experiment conducted by one user, the user tweeted the same post, but from two different accounts, substituting the word 'White' for the word 'Black’. Guess which account Twitter suspended.

I will leave you with this quote by Voltaire:

"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

In conclusion, it appears that the battle for freedom of speech; to challenge racism, oppression, and the criminal activity of nations such as Israel, has now stalled, and that by collusion with Twitter, proponents of, have won the argument for the moment.

All this serves to do, is to drive people away and make them more determined.

From my perspective, efforts to counter criticism of Israel's war crimes, by smears, discrediting, and malicious reports, also ferments and exacerbates animosity toward Israel and Jews in general.

Yes, extremism, racism and anti-Semitism are entirely wrong! That said, I believe Zionism is racism.

I, and others like me, will continue to fight it!

The same view applies to the likes of Saudi and Turkiye.

TAKE NOTE: One day, we will rise again, and there will be change! Let’s just hope the Far Right don’t.

By Jason Schumann

formerly @debatingculture

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