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Censorship Industrial Complex

Australian politicians attack Elon Musk for refusing to remove video of Orthodox bishop’s stabbing

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Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

From LifeSiteNews

By David James

The video is available on YouTube but Australia’s political class is singling out and waging war on X owner Elon Musk for his refusal to delete footage of the stabbing of Orthodox Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel.

In a demonstration of governmental overreach the Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has attacked Elon Musk, the owner of X (formerly Twitter) for not acceding to demands to put a worldwide ban on video footage of an attempted stabbing of a bishop in a Sydney church.

Albanese is not alone; virtually the entire Australian political class has joined in the attack. Tanya Plibersek, minister for Environment and Water called Musk an “egotistical billionaire.” Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young described him as a “narcissistic cowboy.” Albanese chimed in by describing him as an “arrogant billionaire who thinks he’s above the law.”

Senator Jacqui Lambie went as far as suggesting that Musk be “jailed” for his refusal to bend to the demands of the Australian government.  

In response to Lambie’s comments, Musk declared her to be an “enemy of the people of Australia,” agreeing with another social media user who suggested it should be Lambie, not Musk, who belongs in jail.

The right wing Liberal-National coalition was only slightly less aggressive saying Musk was offering an “insulting and offensive argument” in his refusal to remove graphic footage of the stabbing. How Musk saying that posts should not be taken down is “insulting and offensive” was not explained.

The victim of the attack, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, an Iraqi-born Assyrian Australian prelate who is head of the Eastern Christ the Good Shepherd Church, has displayed a maturity and moral virtue conspicuously lacking in the political arena. Emmanuel recorded a message saying that he loved his assailant, and that he wanted the video to stay online, urging people not to respond to violence with violence.

After the incident there were riots outside the church, resulting in 51 officers sustaining injuries. A 16-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with a religiously motivated terrorist attack.

That formulation is inaccurate. There is no effective protection of free speech in Australia, unlike the US, which has the First Amendment of the Constitution. The Federal government is currently preparing a misinformation and disinformation bill to force social media companies only to allow content of which the government approves.

As Senator Ralph Babet of the United Australia Party observes it is a “censorship agenda” that will be pushed no matter which party is in power. “The office of the eSafety commissioner was created under the Liberal Party and is now being emboldened by the Labor Party,” he writes.

The public battle with Musk is better seen as an attempt by the Australian government to control what is on the internet. The newly appointed eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman-Grant directed X to remove the posts, but X had only blocked them from access in Australia pending a legal challenge. The government then demanded that the posts be removed world-wide.

That the Australian political class thinks it has the right to issue edicts in countries where it has no legal jurisdiction is a demonstration of the lack of clarity in their thinking, and the intensity of their obsession with censoring.

Musk accurately characterised the situation in a post: “Should the eSafety Commissar (an unelected official) in Australia have authority over all countries on Earth?” It seems that many Australian politicians think the answer to that question is “Yes.”

The childish personal attacks on Musk, typical ad hominem attacks (going at the person rather than the argument) are revealing. What does the fact that Musk is a billionaire have to do with the legal status of the posts? Does having a lot of money somehow disqualify him from having a position?

If he is “egotistical” or “arrogant” what does that have to do with his logical or legal claims? How does exposing Musk as a narcissistic cowboy” have any relevance to him allowing content on the platform? Wouldn’t a narcissist be more likely to restrict content? The suspicion is that the politicians are resorting to such abuse because they have no argument.

The Australian government’s attack on Musk, which borders on the absurd, is just one of many being directed at X. An especially dangerous initiative is coming from the European Union’s Digital Services Act, which can apply fines of up to 6 per cent of the worldwide annual turnover, a ridiculously punitive amount. The United Kingdom’s communications regulator, Ofcom is even worse. It will have powers to fine companies up to 10 per cent of their global turnover.

Western governments are mounting an all out push to censor the internet, and Australia’s aggressive move is just part of that. What is never considered by governments and bureaucrats is the cost of such censorship.

The benefits of “protecting” people are always overstated and inevitably infantilize the population. The price is a degradation of social institutions and a legal system that does not apply equally to the citizenry and to the government. It is a step towards tyranny: rule by law rather than rule of law.

Censorship Industrial Complex

Trudeau’s ‘Online Harms’ bill so flawed it will never be enforced, Conservative MP says

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner called the Trudeau government’s ‘Online Harms’ bill ‘irredeemable,’ and doubted it will ever be enforced.

A Conservative MP has contested that a Liberal government bill seeking to further clamp down on online speech is so flawed that it will never be able to be enforced nor come to light before the next election.  

“The government is close to the end of its mandate and does not have a lot of public support across the country,” said Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner in the House of Commons last Friday regarding Bill C-63, also known as the “Online Harms Act.” 

Rempel Garner observed that this bill “would not likely become law,” and that she is certain “the regulatory process is not going to happen prior to the next election even if the bill is rammed through.” 

The Online Harms Act, or Bill C-63,was introduced by Justice Minister Arif Virani in the House of Commons in February and was immediately blasted by constitutional experts as troublesome. Put forth under the guise of protecting children from exploitation online, the bill also seeks to expand the scope of “hate speech” prosecutions, and even desires to target such speech retroactively.

The law also calls for the creation of a Digital Safety Commission, a digital safety ombudsperson, and the Digital Safety Office, all tasked with policing internet content.

The bill’s “hate speech” section is accompanied by broad definitions, severe penalties, and dubious tactics, including levying preemptive judgments against people if they are feared to be likely to commit an act of “hate” in the future. 

Details of the new legislation also show the bill could lead to more people jailed for life for “hate crimes” or fined $50,000 and jailed for posts that the government defines as “hate speech” based on gender, race, or other categories. 

Rempel Garner noted that members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet do not have public support when it comes to Bill C-63. 

“We are presently living under a government that unlawfully invoked the Emergencies Act and that routinely gaslights Canadians who legitimately question efficacy or the morality of its policies as spreading misinformation,” she said, noting that harmful online internet content could be countered by “laws that are already on the books but have not been recently enforced due to a lack of extreme political will.” 

Bill C-63 an ‘Orwellian’ disaster 

In addition to being slammed by a number of Canadian legal experts, a number of high profile personalities domestically and abroad have taken the time to skewer the proposed law.   

Jordan Peterson, one of Canada’s most prominent psychologists, recently accused the bill of attempting to create a pathway to allow for “Orwellian Thought Crime” to become the norm in the nation.  

During Rumble’s first-ever free-speech-centered live event, speakers including Donald Trump Jr. critiqued Trudeau’s Online Harms Act. 

Even billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk remarked that it is “insane” the Trudeau government’s proposed “Online Harms” bill would target internet speech retroactively if it becomes law. 

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Censorship Industrial Complex

Australia passes digital ID bill, raising fears of government surveillance without accountability

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From LifeSiteNews

By David James

Critics argue the legislation, enacted under the guise of increased security, ramps up government surveillance and control, with no accountability mechanisms for public sector misuse.

The Australian Parliament has passed the Digital ID Bill 2024 and Digital ID (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Bill 2024 which, it claims, will provide “certainty” for the expansion of the existing Australian government digital ID system.

The move is being presented as a way to improve “privacy and security” for people when interacting online by “verifying” users’ identities. The government claims that the legislation will reduce fraud and other malpractice by private actors, but the bill says nothing about the public actors, the government. The implication is that that the public sector will never do anything wrong with its increased powers, raising the suspicion that it is yet another move by state and federal governments to increase surveillance and control over the lives of citizens.

Australia is a paternalistic society and there is no mechanism to hold the executive branch of government accountable – indeed the possibility is rarely raised. There is thus nothing to stop more intrusions into people’s privacy by the government.

Commenting on the passing of the bill, Queensland Senator Malcolm Roberts from the One Nation Party said that, while the voluntary system has been presented as a measure for security and convenience it could lead to significant privacy breaches, cyber-attacks, and government overreach. He described it as a potential attack on Australians’ “freedom, privacy, and way of life,” especially if it eventually becomes mandatory.

Roberts pointed to the Digital ID bill, the Online Safety Act, the Identity Services Verification Act, and the Misinformation and Disinformation Bill as elements of what looks like a coordinated plan by the federal government “to identify, punish and imprison anyone who resists this slide back into serfdom.” In the initial inquiry into the Digital ID bill, he said, the Human Rights Commission “drew attention to the lack of protection of privacy and human rights in the bill,” but it was ignored. Roberts added that the bill is very similar to legislation being implemented in other Western nations.

A significant proportion of the Australian population has concluded that politicians and the public sector cannot be trusted and that they fail to scrutinize their own actions. As if to underline this unaccountability, the Digital ID bill was passed using “tricks used to stifle debate and public discussion,” according to former federal senator Craig Kelly. He said on X (formerly Twitter) that the way the bill was passed was “contrary to precedent, the spirit of the Constitution and [the] Westminster tradition.”

“Labor introduced the Digital ID in the Senate (the House of review) instead of the House of Representatives,” Kelly wrote. “Then they guillotined debate in the Senate. And in House of Representatives, Labor shifted debate to the Federation Chamber where the Liberals put up token resistance with only one Liberal MP and two National MP’s bothering to speak on the Bill – and they didn’t even try any amendments to protect privacy or to try and safeguard against it being made compulsory.”

The government mendacity continues – at a time when federal laws against “disinformation and misinformation” are being debated. There is constant propaganda in government-funded media outlets about what an effective job was done against the “pandemic” by pursuing lockdowns and mass vaccination. It is false; there was no pandemic. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 2020 and 2021 had the lowest number of deaths from respiratory diseases since records have been kept.

The federal government, in a statement, is giving the impression that the move is merely a way to protect vulnerable Australians, to give certainty for providers and services, and to provide transparency in order “to build public trust.” But what is not said is more important than what is said. There is no mechanism for Australians to redress wrongs committed by the government.

What should happen is something that has never existed in Australia: the establishment of a way for Australians to hold the public sector accountable and stop their governments becoming a menace, as occurred during the “pandemic.” Unless public servants are at risk of being penalized, or at least of having their actions constrained, there is a strong likelihood that fears about the Digital ID Bill will ultimately be realized.

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