Gambia Passes Law That Gives Internet Activists 15 Year Jail Terms

from the a-bit-sensitive,-are-we? dept

Apparently, the government of Gambia is a bit sensitive to those darn people on the internet criticizing their actions. They've just ratified a new law that will give 15 year jail sentences to anyone who uses the internet to spread "false news," (there's also a fine that's about $100,000 USD) though as the title of the linked article notes, the real target is internet activists. "False news," apparently, is anything that the country's government officials don't like. The previous rule had been a possible 6 month jail term and ~$17 USD fine. Evidently that wasn't enough to shut up pesky government critics online. Of course, all a move like this really does is signal to the world that the Gambian government is really freaking scared of its own public.


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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 3:42am

    Coming soon to the US and UK............

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 3:47am

      Re:

      They don't even need to pass specific laws to do this. Just mix and match various other sweeping laws and you'd get the same thing.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 5:23am

      Re:

      Censorship is alive and well in the U.S. Just ask Mike Masnick. He can't censor critics fast enough. He's blocking proxies and TOR routes. He's setting his censorship filters so certain words used by his critics get trapped. It's unreal. He hates criticism so much that he's turned into a huge censor. I thought he disliked censorship?? Hmm...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 6:22am

        Re: Re:

        And you obviously have evidence to present.
        ... Eagerly awaiting your presentation ...

         

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        btrussell (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 7:40pm

        Re: Re:

        You are starting to make me wish he would.

        I'd even sacrifice myself in the net if it meant no one else had to read your bullshit.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 9:01pm

        Re: Re:

        Blocking of proxies and TOR to a private site does not censorship make. He has a right to know who is accessing his site. That's where your right to anonymity ends. If you do not like it, do not post.

         

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          Anonymous, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 3:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You have a point. But the problem is when the government thinks it has a right to know who is accessing this site.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 3:44am

    When you base you actions on belief, be it religious or political, any contrary opinions are heresy, and have to be stamped out.

    Note that the idea that:
    I, the tribe, the Faithful, or the party should be in power is itself a belief.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 4:12am

    Maybe they're just trying to kill Fox news?

     

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    OldGeezer (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 4:25am

    Didn't know much about this country but I did a I checked it out om Wikipedia. Looks like it has long history of oppressive leaders who came into power by overthrowing the previous government. Why is it that people fight so hard for leadership of some of the biggest backwards shit holes on this planet?

     

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      Digitari, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 4:50am

      Re:

      Petty men have petty wars

       

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      RyanNerd (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 5:11am

      Re:

      Maybe you've hit on something here. Since if this is such a backwards shit hole, does only the elite (potential oppressive leaders that may overthrow the current regime) have Internet access? If so, this law makes complete sense. If you are in power you're just making sure your enemy (potential overthrower) can be fined and jailed.

       

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        OldGeezer (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 6:20am

        Re: Re:

        You may be right. From what I read the changes in power were not from revolutionary uprisings from the masses. It was men with power staging coups. In countries like you only have the powerful and wealthy and abject poverty. The latter probably don't have electricity much less internet access.

         

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    Prashanth (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 5:19am

    Headline by "The Onion"

    ...it's not? Geez, that's depressing.

     

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    Shon Gale, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 5:19am

    How soon Judges forget that when there is a revolution the first to go are the Judges because of their harsh sentences. Freedom to all. One world, One People, One Law. One government.

     

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      Anonymous, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 4:29pm

      Re:

      Be careful what you wish for. "One world, one people, one law, one government" will indeed come to pass...and when it does, there will be NO freedom anywhere.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 5:20am

    Apparently, the government of Gambia is a bit sensitive to those darn people on the internet criticizing their actions.

    Do you know who else "is a bit sensitive to those darn people on the internet criticizing their actions"??

    Techdirt's own Mike Masnick.

    No one is more sensitive to criticism and less willing to engage a critic than him.

    That's why he is so desperately trying to censor me, despite knowing that it's totally futile.

     

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      Pragmatic, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 5:28am

      Re:

      The fact that your bitch posts are appearing at all mark you out as a liar, AJ. Shut up. And for the record, I am one of the people who hit the report button every time I see your whining spam posts because I think you're an asshole and have no desire to be subjected to your bratty tantrums. Get over yourself. Nobody cares, chicken boy.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 8:34am

        Re: Re:

        Huh? He is trying to block me, and I am easily posting despite his blocking. Because, as he always tells us, such blocking is futile.

        Why is he so desperately acting in a way that faults others for? Why is he so desperately attempting to silence a critic?

        I thought Mike believed in a free, open, and anonymous internet. Why is so desperately shutting down anonymous ways to voice an opinion on his own blog?

        The fact is that I will have an open and discussion with him on the merits on any topic. He won't. It's that simple. And he's so sick and tired of me reminding everyone of his dishonesty that he's turned into a huge censor.

        Keep supporting your censor overlord. I think it's hilarious that he'd rather try and block me than just have an honest discussion.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 5:59am

      Re:

      You keep misspelling censured; which is carried out by enough people hitting the report button.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 8:38am

        Re: Re:

        Mike is blocking anonymized VPNs and proxies because he can't stand that people are using it to criticize him. He is doing his best to silence a critic and pretending like it's about spam. If China tried to shut out a dissenting voice in the interest of curbing spam, would you think that was bullshit?

        Sorry, Mike, but you know that you're trying to silence me because I'm critical of you. The only way to get rid of me is to be an honest person. It won't hurt. I promise.

         

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          AC Unknown (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 9:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are an idiot. You have no freedom of speech on a privately-operated website. If Mike wanted to, he could block you and you'd have no way to challenge it.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 10:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You are an idiot. You have no freedom of speech on a privately-operated website. If Mike wanted to, he could block you and you'd have no way to challenge it.

            Um, you're the idiot because you're refuting something I never claimed. Of course this is Mike's website. I'm merely pointing out the irony (and dishonesty) that he pretends to be all about anonymous speech on the internet yet he goes out of his way to block certain anonymized services. He frequently faults others for doing pointless things like trying to block people on the internet, yet he's pointlessly trying to block me. Of course he has every right to do it. I'm pointing out that it makes him a two-faced douchebag to do so.

             

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            Anonymous, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 4:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You could, however, find ways around it.

             

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          Rikuo (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 9:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Mike is blocking anonymized VPNs and proxies"

          That's news to me. I'm behind a VPN and I have no trouble at all with commenting...except when I try one of the ch-icken words that you've tried spamming over and over.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 10:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's news to me. I'm behind a VPN and I have no trouble at all with commenting...except when I try one of the ch-icken words that you've tried spamming over and over.

            I think he's stopped blocking those words, as well as the links I was posting. That's good. His censoring was getting to be totally ridiculous.

            He's still blocking many TOR nodes and anonymous proxies. They are not all blocked, as you note, and as indicated by the fact that I'm posting this. But I know for a fact that many, many, many such proxies are blocked.

            Why does Mike on the one hand say he supports anonymous posting on the internet yet on the other hand block so many anonymized services? Seems like he doesn't practice what he preaches.

            And why is he blocking my IP address when he knows for a fact that doing so is pointless and futile?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And why is he blocking my IP address when he knows for a fact that doing so is pointless and futile?

              I've noticed way less of you around here lately, and also that whatever's going on seems to have thrown you into a tizzy and amplified your funny delusions of grandeur. So whatever it is, it's anything but pointless and futile -- it's effective and hilarious, plus it's apparently putting your therapist's kids through college.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                LOL! I post whatever I want whenever I want to, just as I am now posting this message. It's completely futile to try and block me. It's not working AT ALL. If it were someone else doing this, Mike would be faulting them for going through the pointless motions.

                I'm not posting as much because I've been on vacation, and now I'm back home with much on my plate. It's got nothing to do with Mike's idiotic and two-faced censorship. Can you not admit that pointlessly blocking me is contra to the usual anti-blocking rhetoric he spouts?

                The fact remains that I am here, and I will discuss anything on the merits. I won't run away and make excuses and offer weasel words. I'm the exact opposite of Mike. He's a complete fucking coward. He's certainly too scared to take me on.

                Wanna prove me wrong, Mike? Simple. Debate me. I fucking dare you. You won't, because you're a complete fucking coward.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:35am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  How is it possible to have a fair debate when one side is unidentifiable and able to come and go as they choose and admit/deny past statements freely, while the other side is identified and held accountable?

                  Seems to me that if you really wanted a debate, you'd be prepared to step forward as an individual in order to have it, be unable to escape it, and be held accountable for it. In fact, it seems like that's exactly what you're demanding from Mike, but are too cowardly to do yourself...

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:43am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    LOL! So tell me why Mike can't answer the following question: Mike, in your opinion, is it immoral to commit copyright infringement by downloading the latest Hollywood movie??

                    He won't answer that because he is not an honest person. It's got nothing to do with me. I am not preventing him from giving an honest answer.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:51am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I've seen him claim that he has answered you honestly. I've seen you claim that he hasn't. He links to past comments that constitute his answer. You link to past comments that may or may not actually be form you, claiming you "destroyed" him, and then just ask for a new answer... Lather, rinse, repeat.

                      One person is being consistent and standing behind their answer. The other nebulous person or group of people (no way of knowing) is asking the same question over and over, rejecting the answer and subtly moving the goalposts, while spreading the debate out over months and multiple posts (again, with it never entirely clear which comments are from the same person/people).

                      You asked your question. You got your answer. You rejected that answer as dishonest. You were told that it is honest. You said you don't believe that. Fine. So... where is the conversation supposed to go from there? You want a more structured debate, but there isn't even a person to have that debate with, just a bunch of unaccountable noise...

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:15pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I've seen him claim that he has answered you honestly. I've seen you claim that he hasn't. He links to past comments that constitute his answer.

                        He has never answered the question. His links point to nonanswers, where, for example, he claims his beliefs are irrelevant or that we all get to decide for ourselves what's immoral. Why can't he tell us what he honestly believes? Is it yes or no? He can qualify it all he wants, I don't care. But he has NOT answered the question. All he has are weasel words, not answers.

                        Nor will he discuss what he means by his notion that we all get to decide what's moral. Nor will he discuss why even if we all get to decide what's moral, that prevents him from telling us what he thinks. Nor will he discuss why he thinks his views are irrelevant. He just spouts out the weasel words, never answering the question, and never willing to discuss his weasel words.

                        And that's just one of many, many questions he will not answer. He won't talk about his views of the NSA. He won't talk about Swartz. The list goes on and on. He publishes some of the most opinionated crap in the world, yet he's too chicken shit to stand behind his own words.

                        I call him out for it, and he runs away like a child. Now he's so ashamed of me being critical of him that he's childishly trying to block me.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 9:06pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          If you don't understand why we all get to decide what is moral, then you do not even understand what the word means. Morality cannot be easily quanitified across a group because morals are a collection of personal beliefs. While a society might have certain overarching morals than a majority agree wtih, it is never something that everyone agrees with. Thus, your question is not a valid question within a debate. His personal values do not matter in the larger picture. Get over it.

                           

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                      PopeyeLePoteaux, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I love this response. If Mike has answered me, then tell me his answer and link to his answer. What is Mike's answer? Does Mike think that piracy is immoral, yes or no?

                        You can't answer that because Mike hasn't answered that. He has been dodging that question for years, and I will NEVER stop asking it. The only way to get rid of me, Mike, is to stop running away from me.

                         

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                          PopeyeLePoteaux, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:39pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          http://www.techdirt.com/blog/innovation/articles/20120810/02111919983/entrepreneurs-vcs-tell-white-h ouse-to-focus-innovation-rather-than-ip-enforcement.shtml#c986

                          Mike said:

                          "It's not okay because I don't think it's okay. You're asking a moral question. There is no answer to a moral question other than "that's what I believe." I don't think it's right to ignore the wishes of a content creator.

                          But that, of course, is entirely separate from what that content creator can do to deal with the fact that many (perhaps most) others have a different moral view on the issue.

                          Arguing over morals is a waste of time, because it doesn't move the discussion forward.

                          That's why I don't focus on moral questions, but practical questions. You, apparently, prefer not to do that sort of thing. It makes for silly grandstanding, but nothing useful."

                          As you can see, Mike did already answer you, so please stop lying.

                          "The only way to get rid of me, Mike, is to stop running away from me."

                          Yeah because a one-digit IQ troll throwing temper tantrums like a 3 year old is something that cause Mike to "run away".

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 6:29pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            That's Mike dodging the moral question. Yes, he pretends like he thinks piracy is not OK. When pressed to explain why, which took over a year of goading before he would answer, he stated that the ONLY reason he thinks piracy is not OK is because it's against the wishes of artists/authors. So there is NO OTHER REASON why he thinks piracy is bad. None.

                            That is not an answer to whether he personally thinks it's immoral. The implication is that he does not, but he's not honest enough to just say that.

                            The analogy would be to think of Crime X. Say that I write article after article about how X shouldn't be a crime. I don't think that anyone should have a right to not have X done to them. I publish thousands of articles about X, in NONE of which do I defend anyone who supports X. I'm very, very critical of everything that has to do with X. But when asked if I think it's wrong to do X, I say that it's wrong ONLY because the alleged victims of X don't like it. Mind you, I think they should like it. But they don't, and I'm willing to go on record as saying that, even though they should like it and it shouldn't be a crime, it's not OK because they don't like it.

                            In that scenario, do I sound like I think committing X is immoral? Of course not.

                            That's Mike. And Mike is too chicken shit to just admit plainly and openly that he thinks there's nothing immoral about piracy.

                             

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                              The Groove Tiger (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:34am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Actually, thatīs Mike ANSWERING the moral question, with a straight answer, and then saying that it doesn't matter. You just interpret it as not answering the moral question.

                              "Hey, do you have a car?"
                              "No, but I don't care, I take the bus."
                              "You're DODGING the question!"

                              Yes, keep it up milkboy.

                               

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                          PopeyeLePoteaux, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:43pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 6:36pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            I responded to him in the very next post. Tell me this, exactly what question did I not answer? Please post a link to the post where he asks the question and post the text of the question that he asked that I did not answer. Your link is only to Mike claiming I didn't answer a question. What was the question?

                            Besides, I love your attack here. I've been ready, willing, and able to take Mike on discussing the merits. I'm here right now ready to discuss things that matter with Mike. I've been trying for years. To turn this around and pretend like I'm the one running away is the funniest fucking thing ever.

                            Sheesh, just yesterday he was blocking the words "run away" from posts because he was so ashamed that I'm pointing out that he runs away.

                            I'll answer all of his questions directly and honestly. I can prove that right fucking now if he weren't too chicken shit to oblige me.

                            Sorry, friend, but your claim that I run away is completely baseless.

                            I'm not going anywhere, Mike, until you have an honest discussion about things that matter. I fucking dare you.

                             

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 7:51am

      Re:

      You're not banned from posting hyperlinks, jackass. You're just being prevented from posting hot phrases that you post on purpose to get a rise out of people, and triggered the spam filter one too many times.

      Abuse your privileges and you get your binky taken away. Aw, too damn sad. I guess now you aren't mimicking a barnyard your wife won't put out anymore.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 8:31am

        Re: Re:

        He's going out of his way to silence a critic. He's blocking IP addresses, links, anonymous VPNs, Tor, etc. He's acting just like the people he mocks for trying to suppress criticism. If you claim you can't see the irony, then you aren't being honest.

        It's not spam to criticism Mike. I know that's the excuse the sockpuppets are going to keep pulling out, but it's bullshit.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 9:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Where the fuck was the criticism months ago? Oh, right, there wasn't. All there was a whole bunch of moo, cluck, bawk and milk, as though that actually constitutes proper criticism or debate. No, you decided that you wanted to be a tease with the intelligence and maturity of a three-year old.

          And now you're throwing a tantrum because your binky got taken away. Tough shit.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            LOL! I've criticizing Mike for years. And he's been running away, ashamed of himself and too scared to defend his own posts, for years.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:49am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Bawk, bawk, cluck, moo. That's the full extent of your criticism: weak, irrational, unimaginative.

               

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 5:25am

    'all a move like this really does is signal to the world that the Gambian government is really freaking scared of its own public'

    it also shows the lengths a government will go to to protect it's way of thinking, it's way of doing things, what it will and wont allow etc etc. in other words, the government is in charge, there is no freedom, no privacy and no free speech for anyone outside the government. Gambia has joined other nations in this 'we are in charge and dont you forget it!' attitude. dont accept it, go to jail. this shows how the 'dictatorship' is spreading globally. think to where all this crap started people and how almost impossible it's going to be to stop it! we are in far deeper shit than anyone will admit, and most people realise!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 5:36am

    Shit we give out twice that with the old take a deal or do half of your life card.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Hey Mike--

    I'm glad you stopped censoring the word "bawk" and "run away" and "Mike's Greatest Hits."

    That was serious China-level censorship there.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 8:44am

      Re:

      I hope you'll make a similar move and stop censoring my IP address. It's child's play to get around your block, and it just makes you look bad.

      I do appreciate you letting me post my links as well. Here's the link that Mike was blocking but is now allowing: http://pastebin.com/5VUv7utm

      I'll never understand why you block anonymizing services like Tor, VPN, proxies, etc. That seems to cut against your ethos. You were doing it before you started censoring me, and you've stepped it up a notch in trying to censor me.

      I'd ask you "what gives?" on that, but I know you won't discuss it honestly.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        AC Unknown (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re:

        Let me phrase it for you again: You have no freedom of speech on a privately-operated website. If Mike wanted to, he could block you and you'd have no way to challenge it.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jesse (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    "Of course, all a move like this really does is signal to the world that the Gambian government is really freaking scared of its own public."

    That's nothing. In certain remote police states, whistleblowing is called "aiding the enemy" and is punishable by death or life in prison.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Alt0, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    LOL

    Sorry I asked Mike to block you because I am developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from having to click the report button.
    I report if:
    The post uses bad language that is inappropriate.
    The post HAS NOTHING TO ADD TO THE CONVERSATION
    The post is raving lunacy with no point or context.
    So that pretty much covers everything you post
    Again, Sorry...

    Also to the Gambian government:
    Your new law sucks! Everyone in Gambia meet downtown tomorrow night at 5 PM to protest!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Gill Bates, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 10:17am

    Fasle News?

    Fox TV better look out, the entire company could be jailed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 12:44pm

    Stop feeding the troll

    Seriously, people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      John Fenderson (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:21pm

      Re: Stop feeding the troll

      This. Good god. The comments here have been completely disrupted and derailed, all because people insist on arguing with an obviously dishonest idiot.

      Successful troll was successful.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 4:02pm

      Re: Stop feeding the troll

      That is a fat ugly troll indeed.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 2:37pm

    the power of the internet, do not let them corrupt it

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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