UK Politician Theresa May Tries To Out-Orwell Orwell With Insanely Authoritarian Speech

from the i-am-the-decider-of-good-and-bad-thoughts dept

We've written a few times about Theresa May, the UK's Home Secretary, who seems to have scarily authoritarian, anti-democratic and anti-free speech views. While she insists that the UK isn't a surveillance state, she can't tell you why, because revealing the secrets of the UK surveillance state might put the public at risk. Since late last year, she's been pushing strongly for outlawing thought crimes, which would allow her to prevent people from sharing their views on the internet or at events, if she deems them to be too extreme. After the recent election, the plan to move this forward has gone into effect, with David Cameron gleefully announcing that just obeying the law will no longer stop the UK government from harassing you. Now, if it doesn't like you or what you believe, you will be silenced.

Given all that, it is absolutely terrifying to read Theresa May's recent speech given at the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism conference. Given the audience, perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising that May would go off the deep end of Orwellian craziness -- but it's still fairly astounding to see what she actually said. It honestly reads like a bad novel or bad movie script where an editor or producer would scribble on the page "no real person talks like that." Theresa May does, apparently. Here are some of the lowlights.
Time and again we are seeing what we are now up against: the powerful allure of propaganda pumped out by ISIL and others to recruit and brainwash British men and women, the access social media and modern communications give terrorists to vulnerable people, and the desire of those terrorists to poison others against our values and our way of life.
And so we begin with FUD. This popular idea that because ISIS is pretty good at using social media, it's that social media that is the problem. While there are lots of news stories out there claiming that ISIS' social media usage is drawing recruits, actual research into what's going on paints a much more nuanced picture that suggests that while social media is one tool that is used for recruiting, there is almost no evidence to suggest that the social media campaign is successful in "brainwashing" men and women to support ISIS. Rather, the hype about ISIS and social media is overblown. Most of the recruitment actually comes from within existing social circles. It may use the internet, but it's not happening because of the internet.

Lots of studies have certainly found that social media plays a part, but it doesn't suggest that merely silencing social media will help. A RAND study found no evidence "that the internet accelerates radicalisation or replaces the need for individuals to meet in person during their radicalisation process," and it also "didn't find any supporting evidence for the concept of self-radicalisation through the internet." While other studies, such as those from the Soufan Group and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, show more support for radicalization on the internet, and also note that social media is just one component that pushes those who are already marginalized into deciding to take that step. In other words, these are often people on the edge already, and it's not clear that censorship is likely to help, other than making these people feel more marginalized.

May goes on to detail various attacks in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, drumming up more fear. And, it's true, that the world is a dangerous place and many people are trying to cause harm. But to think that the answer to that is more surveillance, silencing free speech and making the marginalized feel more marginalized... well, that seems like an approach destined to fail. But it's the approach May supports wholeheartedly, as she gleefully talks about the approach taken by her government. First, she really enjoys kicking people out of the country if she doesn't like them:
We made it easier to get rid of undesirable foreign nationals, including terrorists and terror suspects.

[....]

Since August 2013 I have deprived 10 people of their British citizenship on the grounds that I do not consider their presence in the UK to be conducive to the public good.
Think about that latter statement for a second. Because a government official decides that she doesn't think your presence in the UK is "conducive to the public good" she can simply strip their British citizenship. I'm sure that doesn't anger those folks and encourage them to join forces with those who hate the UK at all...

And, of course, the censorship:
Our Internet Referral Unit takes down terrorist-related content from the internet, and since February 2010 we have removed more than 90,000 pieces of material – currently removing around 1,000 pieces a week.
Again, because making content that marginalized groups are reading disappear doesn't make them feel more oppressed and more angry at all...

And, of course, she's been actively expanding her powers in these areas:
We introduced a new power to temporarily seize the passports of people suspected of travelling to engage in terrorism overseas, and since it came into force I can confirm that we have used this power and it has proved effective....

We extended the Authority To Carry provisions, and we are refusing airlines authority to carry to the UK people who have been excluded or deported from the UK or who are using invalid, stolen or lost travel documents.
And then, of course, she eagerly draws in all sorts of institutions -- including schools -- to have a responsibility to be trying to sniff out those darn terrorists in their midst:
And from 1 July the new statutory Prevent duty for specified authorities will commence. Once this has been fully implemented it will require local authorities, the police, prisons, probation services, schools, colleges – and yes, universities too – to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.
The end result? The UK is locking up tons of people on charges of terrorism, despite no actual terrorism happening there:
Mark Rowley, the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, summed up that workload earlier this year when he said that terrorists are being arrested at a rate of almost one every day.
You'd think with so many terrorists, at least a few more attacks would get through. Or is this all just a bit of a "rounding up the marginalized people" exercise?

Hilariously, at the end of the speech, she says that the best way to counter this threat is to highlight the "positive vision" of the UK and its "values."
So the Government has announced a new counter-extremism strategy to protect people from extremism in all its forms: non-violent and violent, Islamist and neo-Nazi. At the heart of that strategy sits a positive vision of Britain and our values, and an open offer to work in partnership with all those determined to eradicate extremism.
Considering she just spent most of the speech advocating censorship, kicking undesirable people out of the country and greater and greater surveillance powers, it seems that those "values" are pretty clear. And, as she makes it clear in the very next paragraph, apparently the "value" of letting those marginalized people speak out is not included:
I want this partnership to reclaim that debate…. to defeat their poisonous ideology… and deny them the opportunity to spread messages of hate and division.
None of this, of course, is to defend ISIS or its media propaganda machine, which at the very least has been effective in getting its message out. But the idea that the way to counter this is through censorship, surveillance and threats, rather than direct engagement seems to muddle the message of claiming the UK is about freedom and democracy, doesn't it?

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 8:21am

    ...and the desire of those terrorists to poison others against our values and our way of life...

    ...on the grounds that I do not consider their presence in the UK to be conducive to the public good...


    Notice how she is sociopath with a great megalomaniac tendency. It's about me, me, me. Our stuff, what I think it's right. Fuck you all who don't agree with the almighty ME. People like these are disgusting. And often are diagnosed psychopaths. So there's that, UK has some loon in charge of defense it seems. (Never mind the rest of the Government)

    I want this partnership to reclaim that debate…. to defeat their poisonous ideology… and deny them the opportunity to spread messages of hate and division.

    LOL. What the fuck is the message she's spreading about then? If anything it's hate, division AND insanity. She's doing the exact same as ISIS. Shameful.

    I don't fear petty terrorists, I fear people like May.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 9:43am

      Re:

      "I don't fear petty terrorists, I fear people like May."

      I would too. She's a big fan of not just "terrorists", but "undesirables" too.

      I'm guessing that she gets to define both, which have never been a problem ever.

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      • identicon
        observer, 26 Jun 2015 @ 3:51pm

        Re: Re:

        The rhetoric that May, Cameron et al are using about the "extremists" etc they intend to target with the extra powers they're trying to claim for themselves is disturbingly similar to the rhetoric that politicians and their tame media have been using about protesters since the election. It's never a good thing when politicians in a democracy start using the language of authoritarianism and dictatorship.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 1:14pm

      Re:

      If anyone follows UK politics, she's been noted as being homophobic even while supposedly being the Minister for women and equality, so that she now hates anything to do with the Islamic religion doesn't really surprise me.
      Here's the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sack-Theresa-May-the-homophobic-EQUALITY-minister/117049341668229

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 3:56pm

        Re: Re:

        he's been noted as being homophobic even while supposedly being the Minister for women and equality, so that she now hates anything to do with the Islamic religion

        Contradiction here - since the Islamic religion is itself extremely homophobic.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 6:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I can't put a name to the fallacy off the top of my head, but you've got some faulty logic there. A and B both disliking C in no way precludes A and B from also disliking each other.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 7:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What she hates is anything that doesn't fit within her view of what she is able to control. She isn't homophobic or islamaphobic, that is a facade she uses to obtain better leverage to control the voting public.

            Most of these types of people couldn't care less about anyone else's belief systems as long as everyone else is compliant to the party line.

            Mark my words, the actual target of all this propaganda will be very clearly seen soon and many will applaud the UK government for its direct and society stabilising actions. The true radicals will be hunted, imprisoned, publicly tried and executed.

            This will rapidly proceed from the UK to the EU and then further afield.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2015 @ 4:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              many will not applaud the UK government my friend, they will never be able to control the voting public. there propaganda will not win also you cant be executed in the UK also what "true radicals" are you talking about? I do not know if you like her or not? but the fact is they will never control anything

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2015 @ 2:34pm

        Re: Re:

        so that she now hates anything to do with the Islamic religion doesn't really surprise me.

        Actually it should - because mainstream politicians will NEVER criticise Islam itself (too many votes at stake) so they will always claim that ISIS etc are an aberration that has nothing to do with real Islam.

        IN fact this is exactly what she has done if you read a bit more of her recent words you will find this:

        "This hateful ideology has nothing to do with Islam itself. And it is rejected by the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Britain and around the world. The Quran says: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other.” It says: “let there be no compulsion in religion.” So let the message go out from this hall that the extremists will never succeed in dividing us. Let the message go out that we know Islam is a religion of peace and it has nothing to do with the ideology of our enemies.’"

        Of course she is wrong here because in fact those particular verses are hedged around with caveats and later superseded by other verses that say the exact opposite.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2015 @ 4:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, that's organised religion for you. However, I'm far more concerned about the aspiring dictators in government using the comparatively minor threat of terrorism as an excuse to assume even more power for themselves.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2015 @ 5:43pm

      Re:

      The same is happening down under in Australia with the same words, arguments & laws being used & put in place. It has got to such a stage that our PM Tony Abbott is doing the work of ISIS himself, all to get re-elected by scaring the sheeple into believing he is the answer to the fears he alone has created.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Mouse, 26 Jun 2015 @ 9:44am

    That we have such a thing as this: International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation is evidence enough that we've crossed the line from dystopian fiction to reality.

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  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 9:48am

    We've written a few times about Theresa May , the UK's Home Secretary, who has scarily authoritarian, anti-democratic, and anti-free speech views.
    FTFY. YW.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 9:52am

    Should just start mailing this person "1984" books as a sign of protest.

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  • identicon
    me@me.net, 26 Jun 2015 @ 9:53am

    May is the enemy as much as any terrorist

    use of the term "undesirable" is a de facto declaration of war against her own people.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 9:57am

    It did not require the Internet to involve foreigners in the Spanish civil war in International Brigades. So radical literature causing people to travel to fight in a foreign civil war is far from a new phenomenon.

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  • identicon
    Jake, 26 Jun 2015 @ 10:06am

    Next time I go to a political protest, I'm bringing a transcript of this speech and a few pamphlets on the Doctrine of Conditional Non-Violence.

    If this shit is not a reason to start doing serious cost-benefit analysis of armed insurrection then I do not know what is.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 10:11am

    "We made it easier to get rid of undesirable foreign nationals, including terrorists and terror suspects."

    Foreshadowing. The most well known children's books out of Britain in the last 20 years were all about Undesirable No. 1.

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  • icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 10:15am

    Do they sell woodchippers is UK?

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  • icon
    Charles (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 10:26am

    I wonder what Russel Brand's take on this is.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 10:26am

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. When do we just stop labeling it the UK, and start labeling it Airstrip One?

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  • icon
    crade (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 10:38am

    That a girl. Oppress the hate right out of em!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 11:20am

    I have deprived 10 people of their British citizenship on the grounds that I do not consider their presence in the UK to be conducive to the public good.

    People on the "Left" consider the "Right" not conducive to the public good, people on the "Right" (like May) consider the "Left" not conducive to the public good, and people in the "Middle" consider both the "Left" and the "Right" not conducive to the public good. It's very clear exactly where this tactic of revoking citizenship leads and it's confirmed by this:

    protect people from extremism in all its forms: non-violent and violent

    This is the most frightening quote of the lot. Why the fuck would you need to protect people from the non-violent? This sort of thing naturally leads to attacks on political opponents.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 11:36am

    come on guys. this isn't anything to do with stopping the radicalisation of people, convincing them to join ISIS or any other organisation. it is part of the same 'plot' that is being hatched in almost every what are supposed to be, democratic country that supports freedom, free speech and privacy. the whole aim is to ensure that whatever country tries at the time to bring in some anti citizen law or ruling, the governments will have forward knowledge if there is going to be any form of retaliation, where it will happen and when. by having laws in place that do more to promote terrorism than the terrorists themselves, these governments are doing the job of persuading people to leave the generations old way of life and take up one that seems to be less invasive of views but has the added kicker of the violence. i remember reading a piece that was supposed to have a saying from Bin Laden. he said, apparently, that governments would be doing the job of terrorists so there would be no need for those terrorists to do anything themselves! seems as if what he predicted is getting closer to reality.
    why is it that a government is never happy until it knows what every single person is doing everywhere, with everyone? and why is it that then they pass all that info over to massive corporations so they can bleed us dry, expecting us to buy everything they have to sell, even when there is no money left! and even worse, they tell the various governments what to bring into law and how/when to enforce those laws. we are heading towards a world that is nothing but a giant corporation, where we have nothing, including no rights!!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 11:39am

      Re:

      come on guys. this isn't anything...
      Come on, guy. Paragraphs. Capitalization. Commas, fer chrissake.

      Anyhow... tl;dr.

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    • identicon
      observer, 26 Jun 2015 @ 3:38pm

      Re:

      May's godforsaken "Snoopers' Charter" was literally the first policy this new government announced, on the morning after the General Election before its majority was even officially confirmed. Make of that what you will.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 11:40am

    Authority To Carry

    we are refusing airlines authority to carry to the UK people... who are using invalid, stolen or lost travel documents.
    Wouldn't they want to arrest those people? (Maybe on the foreign side, but don't just send them home.)

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  • icon
    Jeremy2020 (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 1:11pm

    After reading her speech, it seems like a much better idea to me to join ISIS then it was prior to reading her speech.

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  • identicon
    Claire Rand, 26 Jun 2015 @ 1:41pm

    Its not her...

    Or at least not just this specific halfwit, there is something very wrong in the home office, *everyone* whos gone in there in my memory has turned from being as normal as a politician ever gets into a raving loony as soon as the chip goes into the back of the neck.

    The whole department needs some very bright sunlight pointing at it to find out exactly why its gone this way and exactly what they are afraid of, its not "us" as that doesn't need this level of paranoia.

    PRoblem is not so much thinking 1984 is a manual as that Brazil was a documentary.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 2:04pm

      Re: Its not her...

      It could be as simple as 'power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely'.

      It's easy to make promises when you're running for office about how you'll serve the public and reign in the government abuses, but the real test of character comes when someone gets elected, and finds out that reigning in government abuses also means that their power will be limited as a result. Unfortunately it seems the vast majority of politicians, in every country, fail the test of character at that point, prioritizing personal power over serving the public.

      Adding insult to injury, those rare few that don't succumb quickly find out that they're surrounded by people that did, making following through on their promises all but impossible.

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      • identicon
        observer, 26 Jun 2015 @ 2:58pm

        Re: Re: Its not her...

        And within the surveillance apparatus itself: there are obviously going to be some people who join up thinking that they're going to be able to do some good. It's by all accounts a soul-destroying and thankless job, and it tends to be the ones with a conscience who burn out in their first year, leaving the ones who actively enjoy invading people's privacy to advance up the hierarchy and end up advising the politicians. Not that the likes of High Inquisitor May need any such prompting, of course. It's not so much power corrupting, as the people who want the power being the least suited to actually having it.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 1:56pm

    And the award for 'Most effective terrorist recruiter' goes to...

    I cannot think of a better (non-military) way to boost terrorist recruitment numbers than actions like those she is fervently supporting.

    You fight objectionable speech with more speech, not less. Doing everything you can to silence someone merely makes their message look all the more valid to those listening, as it makes it look like you have no actual rebuttal to what's being said, and are trying to shut down the speech as a result.

    Silencing objectionable speech does not undermine it, it supports it, it adds legitimacy to it by making it look like those being silenced have legitimate concerns and points and those in power cannot counter them with speech, so they resort to brute force.

    She isn't fighting terrorists, she's doing their job for them, more effectively than they could ever hope to at that, and terrorist supporters like her have no place in any public office.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2015 @ 5:51pm

      Re: And the award for 'Most effective terrorist recruiter' goes to...

      That's the plan, more security laws, more terrorists, more security laws, more terrorists.

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  • icon
    soillodge (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 1:56pm

    BE THE SHOE!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 3:33pm

    If they hate the IS so much why dont they start a smear campaign against them? The UK is pretty good at propaganda. They wouldnt even have to lie, just point out its ties to the US and all those anti-west terrorists would stop supporting the IS.

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  • icon
    Steve (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 4:29pm

    Their broad definition of Terrorism is the tool they will use to discourage other forms of protest, particularly the use of the Internet to communicate resistance against the coming Global Corporate takeover of Government.

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    • identicon
      observer, 26 Jun 2015 @ 4:33pm

      Re:

      Look what the Poll Tax Riots managed to accomplish, with no internet to speak of. And Cameron has a much slimmer majority and is a much weaker leader than Thatcher.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 4:54pm

    You know what's usually missing from all those dystopian novels that make us all say "something awful could happen if we're not careful"?

    A prologue that includes a bunch of characters discussing the behavior of their governments, saying "something awful could happen if we're not careful."

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Jun 2015 @ 1:04am

      We can't be careful enough.

      Ergo, something awful happens.

      Maybe this time we'll do our homework so that when it all comes tumbling down, the new boss won't be same as the old boss.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 8:33pm

    I'm so glad I don't live in the UK. Especially with all the austerity policies causing hundreds of thousands of people to protest in the streets. The US is bad, but I would have to say the UK is worse.

    I'm waiting for the UK people's austerity breaking point to happen, like in Greece.

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Jun 2015 @ 1:09am

    "conducive to the public good. "

    THE PUBLIC GOOD

    Do you Brits have a guarantee of due process somewhere in your lawbooks?

    Not that we in the US seem to recognize it when we want someone disappeared, detained, extraordinarily rendered or enhanced-interrogated.

    But this looks an awful lot like we gave you our bug.

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  • identicon
    GEMont, 27 Jun 2015 @ 3:35pm

    Beware the Terrorist under YOUR bed, and now in YOUR head.

    "...but it doesn't suggest that merely silencing social media will help."

    Well now, that depends entirely on what it is, precisely, that you wish to help, by silencing social media.

    Certainly silencing social media will have no affect upon The Terrorist Horde and its mythical on-line recruitment of incredibly stupid white citizens of the Five Eyes Nations.

    Perhaps a simple examination of the things that WOULD be helped by silencing social media, might lead to a more comprehensive understanding of what the true goal is.

    Oh, if only there were still some people who could actually do such simple examinations and analysis... but alas, t'is most difficult to think clearly when cowering in the closet for fear of the Terrorist Horde under the bed.

    C'est la vie eh.

    ---

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2015 @ 4:14pm

      Re: Beware the Terrorist under YOUR bed, and now in YOUR head.

      but they will never be able to silence social media

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      • identicon
        GEMont, 28 Jun 2015 @ 10:20pm

        Re: Re: Beware the Terrorist under YOUR bed, and now in YOUR head.

        Silencing Social Media may not really be necessary, if your goal is to render it useless.

        Simply fill it with so much complete shit that one would need a nuke to clear away the detritus and discern the real stuff from the Official crapola.

        The Russians are already working on this "so much shit" operation as we speak.

        We simply have too few documents from Snowden to realize how large and entrenched, the American (FiveEyes) version of this program of paid shills already is.

        "If you cannot shut them up, drown them out with excessive background noise."

        Results are the same.

        --

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        • identicon
          observer, 29 Jun 2015 @ 4:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Beware the Terrorist under YOUR bed, and now in YOUR head.

          You can see them by the dozen in the comments section whenever a news site runs a story about Snowden. They can be fun to butt heads with sometimes.

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          • identicon
            GEMont, 29 Jun 2015 @ 11:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Beware the Terrorist under YOUR bed, and now in YOUR head.

            "You can see them by the dozen..."

            The trick is to determine who they actually work for.

            BigOil. MilIndCom. SecurInd. Pharma. USGuv. CanGuv. FrenchGuv. GermanGuv. BritishGuv. RussiaGuv. CIAF BINSA. KGB. CSIS. Christianutty. Crispians. Accordians. Discordians. SONY. Rosicrucians. Cruzirosians. Islumers. SPERG. HolyWood. Judaethingies. Muzzy-Islums. Izzy-Muzzlims. Contrarians. Satanistas. Jitterbuggers. Cat-Lovers. Cosplayers.... ad infinitum....

            So many of Mammon's Dirty Tricksters out there today that its totally impossible to figure out why they're all supposed to be different, when they all use the same tactics and the same arguments, for the same reasons.

            Probably due to sunspots.

            The sad truth though, is that they're really un-necessary, since the vast majority of humanity is determined to judge a book by its PR ads, and look the devil in the eye, by closing both eyes and sticking their heads collectively up their ass.

            The only real consolation is that the extra expense of running the Shill Game, eats into their cocaine and bimbo budgets, even if those budgets are covered by taxpayers.

            ---

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2015 @ 4:02pm

    Should have let the Nazis have them...

    if they were going to turn into this.

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  • icon
    MrTroy (profile), 28 Jun 2015 @ 8:06pm

    ...seems to muddle the message of claiming the UK is about freedom and democracy, doesn't it?

    Seriously, have you read much UK history? :-)

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2015 @ 5:43am

    Oh well history is on repeat again

    Stripping citizenship of undesireables.

    Denying travel to those deemed undesireable.

    Restricting information and media.

    Rounding up undesireables at an alarming rate.

    Wanting to restore the empire to its former glory.

    Urging and forcing everyone to report and detain undesireables.

    Inventing crimes to blame on undesireables.


    Those are all signs of the time we learned in german history.
    Undesireables/foreigners where the sick, non-aryans, jews, communists,...
    Book burnings of undesirable information.
    All those rounded up daily surely need some kind of prison or at least a camp of some sort.

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


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