Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

Iceland’s palm oil Christmas commercial banned

November 9, 2018

Palm oil plantations are among the biggest driver of deforestation, threatening the orangutan with extinction. — Iceland Foods

Palm oil is bad for people and planet.

There is no such thing as sustainable palm oil plantations, it is an oxymoron.

Palm oil plantations are monocultures devoid of life apart from the plantation trees.

Palm oil plantations are destroying rain forests.

Palm oil is high in saturated fat, higher in saturated fat than pig fat. At room temperature palm oil is solid. It used to be known as axle grease as that was what it was used for. The only reason it is liquid at room temperature is because it has been chemically processed.

Palm oil is used to bulk out products from foods to cosmetics. It is used because it is cheap.

It is ok to advertise and sell products containing palm oil, even though bad for people and planet. Even to mislead people that it is healthy.

Whole Earth peanut butter is padded out with palm oil.

M&S are selling so-called healthy spreads where the main ingredient was palm oil, and yet called olive spread.

Oxfam shops a couple of years ago were selling peanut butter in a plastic jar padded out with sugar, palm oil, and salt.

OK to advertise palm oil products, but try to air an advert that highlights why palm oil is bad, and your advert will be banned for being political, as Iceland learnt when their Christmas advert was banned.

We have an obesity epidemic. We have a type-two diabetes epidemic. But it is ok for McDonald’s to promote their junk food, Coca-Cola their sugary drinks, but not to suggest we eliminate palm oil.

M&S have a stupid Christmas advert claiming they went around the country asking people what they wanted for Christmas.

Would it have not been better to have toured their shops, sorted out their piss-poor service, tills not manned, lights turned out ten minute before store closes, fresh produce wrapped in plastic?

But then M&S is a failing retailer, and with this level of contempt for customer service, it is easy to see why.

Twitter shut down account of opponents of London 2012 Olympics

May 23, 2012

The Twitter account of protest group Space Hijackers has been suspended following a complaint by the organisers of the London 2012 Olympics.

Once again we are seeing the copyright thugs in action. Draconian legislation has been passed to protect the branding of the London 2012 Olympics and their sponsors.

For residents of London, the London 2012 Olympics will be a nightmare summer.

Space Hijackers, whose account has been blocked following a complaint by the London 2012 Olympics, were hardly likely to bring down the International Olympic Committee (more’s the pity) and capitalism along with it (not through Twitter at least). One can only conclude that this is an act of petty, vindictive censorship, hardly in the spirit of plurality and inclusiveness the Olympics is supposed to promote.

And who are the major the sponsors of the London 2012 Games, not the brands who are being protected, but the public. The long-suffereing public who in London at least are going to have a summer of misery whilst the unwanted Games take place.

Shame on twitter who gave in to the London 2012 Olympics.

Web freedom faces greatest threat ever

April 16, 2012

The principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the internet three decades ago are under greater threat than ever, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

In an interview with The Guardian, Brin warned there were “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world”. “I am more worried than I have been in the past,” he said. “It’s scary.”

The threat to the freedom of the internet comes, he claims, from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry’s attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of “restrictive” walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms.

The 38-year-old billionaire, whose family fled antisemitism in the Soviet Union, was widely regarded as having been the driving force behind Google’s partial pullout from China in 2010 over concerns about censorship and cyber-attacks. He said five years ago he did not believe China or any country could effectively restrict the internet for long, but now says he has been proven wrong. “I thought there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle, but now it seems in certain areas the genie has been put back in the bottle,” he said.

He said he was most concerned by the efforts of countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and Iran to censor and restrict use of the internet, but warned that the rise of Facebook and Apple, which have their own proprietary platforms and control access to their users, risked stifling innovation and balkanising the web.

“There’s a lot to be lost,” he said. “For example, all the information in apps – that data is not crawlable by web crawlers. You can’t search it.”

Brin’s criticism of Facebook is likely to be controversial, with the social network approaching an estimated $100bn (£64bn) flotation. Google’s upstart rival has seen explosive growth: it has signed up half of Americans with computer access and more than 800 million members worldwide.

Brin said he and co-founder Larry Page would not have been able to create Google if the internet was dominated by Facebook. “You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive,” he said. “The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation.”

He criticised Facebook for not making it easy for users to switch their data to other services. “Facebook has been sucking down Gmail contacts for many years,” he said.

Brin’s comments come on the first day of a week-long Guardian investigation of the intensifying battle for control of the internet being fought across the globe between governments, companies, military strategists, activists and hackers.

From the attempts made by Hollywood to push through legislation allowing pirate websites to be shut down, to the British government’s plans to monitor social media and web use, the ethos of openness championed by the pioneers of the internet and worldwide web is being challenged on a number of fronts.

In China, which now has more internet users than any other country, the government recently introduced new “real identity” rules in a bid to tame the boisterous microblogging scene. In Russia, there are powerful calls to rein in a blogosphere blamed for fomenting a wave of anti-Vladimir Putin protests. It has been reported that Iran is planning to introduce a sealed “national internet” from this summer.

Ricken Patel, co-founder of Avaaz, the 14 million-strong online activist network which has been providing communication equipment and training to Syrian activists, echoed Brin’s warning: “We’ve seen a massive attack on the freedom of the web. Governments are realising the power of this medium to organise people and they are trying to clamp down across the world, not just in places like China and North Korea; we’re seeing bills in the United States, in Italy, all across the world.”

Writing in the Guardian on Monday, outspoken Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei says the Chinese government’s attempts to control the internet will ultimately be doomed to failure. “In the long run,” he says, “they must understand it’s not possible for them to control the internet unless they shut it off – and they can’t live with the consequences of that.”

Amid mounting concern over the militarisation of the internet and claims – denied by Beijing – that China has mounted numerous cyber-attacks on US military and corporate targets, he said it would be hugely difficult for any government to defend its online “territory”.

“If you compare the internet to the physical world, there really aren’t any walls between countries,” he said. “If Canada wanted to send tanks into the US there is nothing stopping them and it’s the same on the internet. It’s hopeless to try to control the internet.”

He reserved his harshest words for the entertainment industry, which he said was “shooting itself in the foot, or maybe worse than in the foot” by lobbying for legislation to block sites offering pirate material.

He said the Sopa and Pipa bills championed by the film and music industries would have led to the US using the same technology and approach it criticised China and Iran for using. The entertainment industry failed to appreciate people would continue to download pirated content as long as it was easier to acquire and use than legitimately obtained material, he said.

“I haven’t tried it for many years but when you go on a pirate website, you choose what you like; it downloads to the device of your choice and it will just work – and then when you have to jump through all these hoops [to buy legitimate content], the walls created are disincentives for people to buy,” he said.

Brin acknowledged that some people were anxious about the amount of their data that was now in the reach of US authorities because it sits on Google’s servers. He said the company was periodically forced to hand over data and sometimes prevented by legal restrictions from even notifying users that it had done so.

He said: “We push back a lot; we are able to turn down a lot of these requests. We do everything possible to protect the data. If we could wave a magic wand and not be subject to US law, that would be great. If we could be in some magical jurisdiction that everyone in the world trusted, that would be great … We’re doing it as well as can be done.”

Originally published in The Guardian.

I could not agree more with what Sergey Brin is saying, this creation by facebook of a net within the net, a walled garden, the only way to sample the delights within is to sell your digital soul at the gate.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. If it is free, it is because you are the product on sale.

Watch carefully the next time you click a link from within facebook. You are diverted elsewhere, before going to the site you wish to visit.

Facebook deposits software on your computer which track what you do.

Activity within facebook is walled off from the outside world, forcing others to sell their digital soul at the gate. It is you who creates the content, not facebook. Facebook is merely the platform, but it is not a neutral platform.

There is a partial way around, little tunnels under the wall and into the garden.

If you use facebook for sharing photo albums, set those albums to public, and post the links outside facebook where they can be found and followed.

Sharing of data between facebook and third parties

Say NO to ACTA

February 5, 2012

A new global treaty would allow corporations to police everything that we do on the Internet.

A week ago Sopa, which would have controlled the internet, was stopped dead in its tracks. US politicians found their phones in meltdown, such was the public anger at back room secret deals with corporate vested interests to control the internet.

The cultural industry
Documented@Davos: SOPA Panel
Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea)
Thoughts of Paulo Coelho on Sopa

We now have something far, far worse. Acta is an international treaty to control the internet. Cooked up in secret behind closed doors with corporate interests. National governments and parliaments are being bounced into ratifying Acta.

Acta seeks via an international treaty what Sopa sought through national legislation.

Such is the Draconian nature of Acta, that the European Parliamentarian responsibility for Acta has resigned in protest, describing never-before-seen manoeuvres by officials working with corporate interests to force Acta through.

European Parliament rapporteur quits in Acta protest

In Poland there has been mass street protest to oppose Acta.

Thousands march in Poland over Acta internet treaty
Polish sites hit in Acta hack attack

ACTA – an international treaty – would allow corporations to censor the Internet. Negotiated in secret by a small number of rich countries and corporate powers, it would set up a shadowy new anti-counterfeiting body to allow private interests to police everything that we do online and impose massive penalties – even prison sentences – against people they say have harmed their business interests.

The EU is deciding right now whether to ratify ACTA – and without them, this global attack on Internet freedom will collapse. We know they have opposed ACTA before, but some members of Parliament are wavering – let’s give them the push they need to reject the treaty. Sign the petition — we’ll do a spectacular delivery in Brussels when we reach 500,000 signatures:

There is also a White House petition

End ACTA and Protect our right to privacy on the Internet

And a UK petition

Please sign and spread the word. We defeated Sopa, we can defeat Acta.

It’s outrageous – governments of four-fifths of the world’s people were excluded from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations and unelected bureaucrats have worked closely with corporate lobbyists to craft new rules and a dangerously powerful enforcement regime. ACTA would initially cover the US, EU and 9 other countries, then be rolled out across the world. But if we can get the EU to say no now, the treaty will lose momentum and could stall for good.

The oppressively strict regulations could mean people everywhere are punished for simple acts such as sharing a newspaper article or uploading a video of a party where copyrighted music is played. Sold as a trade agreement to protect copyrights, ACTA could also ban lifesaving generic drugs and threaten local farmers’ access to the seeds they need. And, amazingly, the ACTA committee will have carte blanche to change its own rules and sanctions with no democratic scrutiny.

Big corporate interests are pushing hard for this, but the European Parliament stands in the way. Let’s send a loud call to Parliamentarians to face down the lobbies and stand firm for Internet freedom.

Please sign now!

Recently we saw the strength of our collective power when millions of us joined force to stop the US from passing an Internet censorship law that would have struck at the heart of the Internet. We also showed the world how powerful our voices can be. Let’s raise them again to tackle this new threat.

Please send to everyone you know.

THE SECRET TREATY: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and Its Impact on Access to Medicines
ACTA vs. SOPA: Five Reasons ACTA is Scarier Threat to Internet Freedom
If You Thought SOPA Was Bad, Just Wait Until You Meet ACTA


January 19, 2012
Lamar Smith a real scumbag

Lamar Smith a real scumbag

sopa/pipa blackout

sopa/pipa blackout

Members of Congress still in shock over yesterday’s massive internet protest. I’ve never seen a demonstration have an impact this quickly. — Michael Moore

Greed-driven Hollywood must be a rare example of an industry that treats its customers and potential customers as criminals.

I find it offensive to buy a DVD and then be forced to watch a video that tells me I am a criminal.

No, snatching a purse or handbag or a smash and grab raid, is not the same as copying a DVD. In the first case is is clearly theft, someone has been deprived of their property, in the latter, no one had been deprived of their property.

The irony is that if I had a pirate DVD, it would not have at the beginning the compulsive video that implies that I am a criminal for possessing a legitimate copy.

I find it offensive, have laptop will travel, but Hollywood puts regional encoding on its DVDs to stop them being played outside the region.

The irony is that it is simple enough to bypass, simply download AnyDVD or DVDFab Passkey and it sits in the background and removes the regional encoding, I can then watch at my leisure wherever I happen to be, any DVD from anywhere in the world.

If I borrow a DVD, I copy it so I can watch it when I get around to it.

I find it offensive when a student in the UK is facing extradition to the USA at the behest of Hollywood for having a website which directed visitors to where they might find free downloads. He himself was not supplying free downloads. What he did is not even a criminal offence in the UK! He faces 10 years in prison if extradited to the USA.

UK student faces extradition to US after piracy case ruling
British Student Faces Extradition to U.S. in Copyright Infringement Case
Student loses extradition hearing
‘Piracy’ student Richard O’Dwyer loses extradition case
TVShack’s student founder can be extradited to US, court rules
Abandoned by British justice: Student faces 10 years in U.S. jail for setting up ‘illegal’ website

Now Hollywood is wanting to control the internet.

Hollywood is not losing massive amounts of money from piracy. We have all noticed it is an industry on its knees, though it deserves to be.

Hollywood makes its money from bums on seats in cinemas, TV rights for those endless repeats on TV. Money made from DVD and Blu-ray sales is cream on the cake.

You cannot equate blank DVD sales with loss of business. Sony has its fingers in both sales, likes to have its cake and eat it.

We hear a lot of bleating about loss of creative talent, artists in garrets working for a pittance. If they are only getting a pittance it is because Hollywood keeps for itself too large a slice of the cake.

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho found he sold more books when pirate copies were made available for free download.

Pirate Coelho/ help your community

Hollywood, in dark corners with corrupt politicians up for sale, thought they could control the Internet through SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). Users thought otherwise, as did many of the big internet players.

Yesterday many internet sites went black. Many internet junkies like Paulo Coelho, refused to use internet for 24 hours.

The result has been almost instantaneous. US politicians are reeling from the public backlash. many, who supported SOPA, who were even sponsors, have suddenly found it is not a hot potato they wish to be caught holding.

We do not have to jump to corporate lobbyists. We can bring Hollywood to its knees. How about a worldwide boycott of Hollywood, no going to the cinema to watch their rubbish films, no buying their DVDs?

The Day the Internet Roared
We are the lobbyists now
SOPA is dead. Are you happy now?
Battling Internet Censorship: The Long War
Why Hollywood Is Losing the Public Relations War on Piracy
Supreme Court Bashes Public Domain
It’s time to place the Internet in Safer Hands
Senate Democrats hold fast to anti-piracy bill
Senate and House slow PIPA/SOPA votes, but promise it’s just a delay
SOPA: Anti-Piracy or Censorship?
Feds Shutter Megaupload, Arrest Executives
Anonymous Retaliates Against MegaUpload Takedown, Knocks MPAA, RIAA Sites Offline [plus DOJ]
Thoughts of Paulo Coelho on Sopa

Publication in Iran of I Hate Paulo Coelho

January 15, 2012
Aleph in Farsi

Aleph in Farsi

Haters are confused admirers waiting for an excuse to say “I love you”. — Paulo Coelho

We hate that which we often fear. — William Shakespeare

It is becoming ludicrous the attacks on Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho by the evil Ayatollahs and Mullahs in Iran.

First they banned his books, then an attack by the Iran Book News Agency, now the promotion of a book, if not actually commissioned, I Hate Paulo Coelho.

A novel in Persian (Farsi): I Hate Paulo Coelho by Hamdreza Omidi Sarvi published by Amout Publications.

IBNA: “I Hate Paulo Coelho” relates a love story in social context. The main character of the novel named Reza is a pessimist writer with a number of failures. Reza-in-love encounters new people and situations that moves the story to new spaces.

The novel is written in a simple and colloquial language mostly related in internal monologues. The writer in this book tries to probe into the minds and lives of different social classes through a romance – social classes that each demand different things and have different dreams.

The story goes as “Qazal had read the ‘Alchemist’ and was influenced by it so much that she believed the book had saved her life in a period of mental crisis. At that moment it had not crossed my mind that ‘You Fool! When someone asks your opinion on something in the very first date, it means that she really cares for that and your opinion does matter….”

“I Hate Paulo Coelho” is published in 400 pages and 1650 copies by Amout Publications.

Hamidreza Omidi Sarvar is a mechanical engineering graduate with publications on film criticism.

It is easy to see why Paulo Coelho is hated by the regime, his books banned. He writes on mysticism, he encourages people to think, he stands up for the rights of women, all of which must be an anathema to the evil regime in Iran. He is also a very strong critic of religious fundamentalism.

The attacks on Paulo Coelho should also been seen within the context of the whipping up of anti-Western hate and hysteria in Iran and the development of nuclear weapons with which to attack the West and Israel and threats to close international shipping lanes through which a large amount of the world’s oil passes.

Paulo Coelho is very popular in Iran, which must upset the corrupt Ayatollahs and Mullahs, religious extremists who bastardise the people of Iran, especially the women. A pity the revolution of a few years ago failed to overthrow them.

The Zahir was first published in Iran. Copies to then be promptly seized by the Thought Police.

It was Paulo Coelho who brought to world attention the brutal killing of Neda, the face of the revolution, during the failed revolution.

Paulo Coelho has made his books available for free download in Farsi. Spread the word to all your Iranian friends.

Less we forget, the Mullahs and Ayatollahs not only shed blood in Iran, they are one of the principle agents of the sectarian violence and shedding of blood in Iraq.

Coelho’s thought rhyming with false mysticism
Aleph in Farsi
Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books
The persecution of Hoder
Change in Iran
Arash Hejazi Interview for BBC
The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell

Coelho’s thought rhyming with false mysticism

January 7, 2012
Neda - Latuff

Neda - Latuff

Praying doesn’t make you a saint any more than standing in an airport makes you an airplane. — Paulo Coelho

Here they come again. — Paulo Coelho

The following garbage has been posted by Iran Book News Agency:

Hojatoleslam Mazaheri Seif, writer of “The Spiritual World of Paulo Coelho” believes that Coelho follows the trend of false mysticism.

IBNA: According to Hamidreza Mazaheri Seif, a thematic study of Paulo Coelho’s works shows that his writings have the main features of false mysticism and heretic religions.

He continued: “Moreover, last year a book was published containing the names of 100 spiritual leaders of the world. The ideologies of these figures names are in line with that of the publisher and Coelho’s name is mentioned among the first top 20 leaders of the world showing that he has been globally acknowledged as a spiritual master. Many individuals insist that Coelho is their master in spiritual journeys and he was even welcomed by many Iranians during his travel to Iran. Given this situation we conclude that Coelho has consciously stepped into the realm of spirituality. However, whether he is qualified to be called a master should be assessed.”

“If you make a survey of all contemporary quasi-spiritual movements, you will realize that all leaders of them are instructing similar values to the human society. The backbone of Coelho’s thought is in line with all other false theosophical religions such as ‘Fallun Dafa’, ‘Halgheh’ InterUniversal Mysticism (in Iran), or Dialogue with God (in the US). The question that now rises here is that how all these leaders that have emerged in different locations say one word? If we trace them we come up with a single point, and that is Modern Kabbalah (a Jewish mysticism),” he added.

“Isn’t it true that Coelho’s writings are just symbolic manifestation of a universal trend of 290 years old that attempts to come up with a global religion caused by capitalism – that is, a religion concordant with liberal capitalism? The so-called religion is cultivated by spiritual leaders of the world including Paulo Coelho as the most outstanding one since he is more direct in addressing these values so much so that even Shimon Peres appreciated him.”

Mazaheri Seif then stated that in The Alchemist, Coelho has rewritten a tale from Rumi’s Masnavi’s sixth volume. Coelho is basically a master of plagiarism and this has been led to a number of oppositions. His story for Fathers, Sons and Grandsons is a rehabilitation of Golistan and Boustan, but the main problem of these adaptations is altering the plots in order to come up with his intended endings – that is the promotion of Modern Kaballah.

Mazaheri Seif added that banning one or two books would not help spreading these mysticisms as we actually face an ideology that reproduces itself in thousands of publications in millions of copies and this should not be neglected.

According to him, the best way to oppose the movement is to promote right spiritual instruction by the same means of books, fiction, novel and media in simple language.

The mysticism and spiritual insights of Paulo Coelho is a little too much for the evil Ayatollahs and Mullahs of Iran to stomach.

Compared with the vicious personal attacks in the West masquerading as book reviews this garbage published by the Iran Book News Agency is actually quite mild.

Paulo Coelho is very popular in Iran, which must upset the corrupt Ayatollahs and Mullahs, religious extremists who bastardise the people of Iran, especially the women. A pity the revolution of a few years ago failed to overthrow them.

The Zahir was first published in Iran. Copies to then be promptly seized by the Thought Police.

It was Paulo Coelho who brought to world attention the brutal killing of Neda, the face of the revolution, during the failed revolution.

Paulo Coelho is banned in Iran, it would not do for Iranians to be encouraged to think.

Paulo Coelho has made his books available for free download in Farsi. Spread the word to all your Iranian friends.

Less we forget, the Mullahs and Ayatollahs not only shed blood in Iran, they are one of the principle agents of the sectarian violence and shedding of blood in Iraq.

Aleph in Farsi
Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books
The persecution of Hoder
Change in Iran
Arash Hejazi Interview for BBC
The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell

Censorship of A Brief Description of the Whole World

December 2, 2011
A Brief Description of the Whole World

A Brief Description of the Whole World

Former Archbishop of Canterbury censored as his views may offend Jews and Muslims.

George Abbot (1562-1633), born in Guildford, Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the translators of the King James Bible, was a prolific writer.

One of his works A Brief Description of the Whole World, the Master of Abbot’s Hospital in Guildford has recently edited. It is published by Guildford-based Goldenford, 400 years after it was first published.

On a recent tour of Abbot’s Hospital I almost picked up a copy but glad now I did not. I learnt today that it had been heavily censored by the publshers, anything that they did not like they censored.

Two examples

– Muhammad was born of a whore
– Jews are Christ-killers

The first because they thought they might receive a fatwa, the second because the publishers are Jews and they saw the comment as anti-Semitic.

When I flipped through A Brief Description of the Whole World I saw nothing to indicate it had been censored.

You do not censor a historical document!

No doubt some of the history was not correct, nor the geography, nor the natural history. Do you censor that too? Do you redraw the maps? Of course not.

What you do, is explain the context, provide footnotes. If you are not prepared to do the academic legwork, then do not publish!

When Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade he called Muslims an accursed race. He said a race absolutely alien to God has invaded the land of Christians. Knights sought salvation through slaughter. When they entered the Holy Church in the newly liberated Jerusalem they entered dripping with blood of slaughtered Muslims to seek thanks from God.

Christianity A History: The Crusades

Although it is not something I have encountered personally, until at least the 1950s Jews were called Christ-killers. Maybe in some quarters they still are. It was not until 1965 that the Vatican issued a statement that the Jews were not responsible for the death of Jesus. But this was due to a distorted reading of the Gospels, the letters of St Paul, reading them outside of their historical context.

To heaven with Scribes and Pharisees

This taking out of context, then condemning what you do not like or showing prejudice, is exactly what Goldenford are doing with a historical document, but worse, not only are they failing to understand the historical context they are then compounding their ignorance by applying the censor’s pen. Ignorance piled on ignorance. Not that this is new, it has happened through the ages.

Where do we end? Do we edit out the sexual bits in Shakespeare, do we cover up Greek Statues? Do we remove all the acts of atrocity and genocide from the Torah and Old Testament?

There are issues when dealing with historical documents. Do we, for example, render The Canterbury Tales as is, or do we try to render in modern English, both approaches have pitfalls, but what we do not do is censor because it may offend our or others sensibilities as that is to render the document worthless.

To do justice to what George Abbot has written, to leave a legacy for others to read, we publish in full, we then explain the historical context, the views of the time, only then do we understand, but what we do not do is censor what we do not like as that is to distort history, to bastardise what has been written, historical vandalism.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, history was continually being rewritten: He who controls the present controls the past, he who controls the past controls the future.

Censorship of A Brief Description of the Whole World is to be discussed at a meeting at Abbot’s Hospital, possibly sometime March 2012.

Cairn Energy gags Greenpeace

July 21, 2011
Cairn Energy's Stena Don oil rig

Cairn Energy's Stena Don oil rig

Greenpeace has been campaigning to stop drilling for oil in the Arctic by Cairn Energy.

To cover up the truth about its Arctic drilling, Cairn Energy has obtained an extraordinary, wide-ranging legal interdict (injunction) against Greenpeace, gagging them from posting Tweets and Facebook updates including even pictures of their actions.

But as Cairn are learning, you cannot gag users on the net.

BREAKING: Cairn obtains legal interdict: ‘Twitter ban’ and ‘gagging order’ for Greenpeace
Greenpeace Twitter injunction backfires for Cairn Energy

Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books

January 14, 2011

I read the statement of the Embassy of Iran in Brasilia with astonishment. I felt pity for a government whose only resort against the public opinion towards its atrocities against its own people is lying and distorting the truth. When accused of banning Paulo Coelho’s books in Iran, they not only deny the facts, but also they lie to accuse a witness to an unspeakable crime. Anyone who shows the slightest amount of criticism towards the government of Mr. Ahmadinejad, is accused of working for the US and Israel, even the founders of the Islamic Republic have received such accusations.

I have already explained the circumstances of Neda’s death, several times. In response to these accusations with regards to Neda, I refer you to my statement a few days after the murder.

The people and the public opinion already knows who committed this crime.

With regards to censorship, I would like to ask the government of Iran the following questions:

– Is prepublication censorship (or scrutiny, as you call it) being widely practiced by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, against Iran’s international obligations to enforce freedom of expression?

– Have the books The Zahir, By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept, The Witch of Portobello, Brida, 11 minutes and thousands of other books by international and Iranian authors, including several Nobel Laureates been banned by the Ministry between 2005 and 2010?

– Have hundreds of magazines and newspapers been shut down without any explanation between 2005 and 2010, especially in the past two years?

– Did several people die under torture in the Kahrizak detention centre in the summer 2009?

– Are there several authors, economists, lawyers, journalists, university professors being detained in the Iranian prisons just because of what they said? Doesn’t this amount to censorship?

– Have you banned and cancelled the permission to publish any of Paulo Coelho’s books?

I was informed by someone ‘within’ the Ministry of Culture about the ban on Paulo’s books, and I conveyed the information to Paulo. If the books are not banned, great! If the pressures have made the Ministry to step back and authorize the books, great! If they are lying, shame on them.

Statement made by Arash Hejazi on his blog in response to a statement issued by Iran through their Embassy in Brazil claiming books by Paulo Coelho have not been banned.

Now who do we believe, Arash Hejazi, publisher and translator of Paulo Coelho books in Iran who earlier in the week informed Paulo Coelho that his books were banned in Iran or the evil Mullahs and Ayatollahs who run Iran?

I know who I believe, and it is not the religious extremists who bastardise the people of Iran, especially the women.

Arash Hejazi is the doctor who went to the aid of Neda as she lay dying during the street protests in Iran summer 2009, when the people took to the streets to demand the overthrow of the evil religious extremists who control Iran.

The surprise is not that books by Paulo Coelho have been banned, the surprise is that they were not banned sooner or that publictation was permitted at all.

Iran is now being flooded with Paulo Coelho books in Farsi. Paulo Coelho has placed all his books in Farsi on-line for free download.

Be Like the Flowing River
By the River Piedra I sat down and Wept
Stories for fathers sons and grandsons
The Devil & Miss Prym
The Fifth Mountain
The Gift
The Love Letters of a Prophet
The Manual of the Warrior of the Light
The Valkyries
The Winner Stands Alone
The Witch of Portobello
Veronika Decides to Die
The Zahir

It is unIslamic, contrary to the Koran, which encourages knowledge, the first word of the Koran is a command to read, not that such a minor matter of freedom is likely to worry the evil Mullahs and Ayatollahs who abuse the Koran for their own ends and give Islam a bad name. [see Reconciliation]

Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall? One totalitarian regime after another fell. That was Eastern Europe and the former communist Bloc. Now it is the turn of the Arab world. One dictator ousted, forced to flee the country. Tunisia has fallen. Now having seen it can be done, people across the Arab World, across the Middle East, including Iran, must take to the streets and liberate their countries.

Arab leaders watch Tunisia with fear. The people of the Middle East watch with delight.

Tunisia has sparked the flame which will sweep clean the Arab world and Iran of corrupt despots. Social media is fanning the flames.

I will save the last words for Paulo Coelho: Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you.

Top story in The Censorship Daily (Friday 14 January 2011).

Also see

Note from the Embassy of The Islamic Republic of Iran in Brazil

Iran bans Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho’s books are banned from Iran

Paulo Coelho says Iran bans his books

The Shape of the Table

The Role of Science and Faith in the Development of Civilisations

Social Media Made Tunisian Uprising Possible

Tunisia unrest a wake-up call for the region

Could other Arab countries follow Tunisia’s example?

Should twitter receive the Nobel Peace Prize?

My Life as a Traitor


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