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2023: Jan-March

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Offsite Article: 'Sensitivity' censors...


Link Here18th March 2023
Full story: UK Central Bank Digital Currency...Big brotherdesigns a new snoopable and controllable payment system
What inspires them to become literary vandals, well apart from a paycheck, obviously

See article from france24.com

 

 

Offsite Article: The shameful story of Britain's backdoor blasphemy laws...


Link Here 13th March 2023
Liberal cowardice has fuelled Islamic intolerance -- and cost lives. By Tom Slater

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Updated: Finding a Golden Ticket...

Puffin will publish both gobblefucked and uncensored versions of the Roald Dahl collection of books


Link Here26th February 2023
Full story: UK Central Bank Digital Currency...Big brotherdesigns a new snoopable and controllable payment system
UK publisher Puffin has officially announced the release of Roald Dahl's classic texts in their original uncensored form as well as the new gobblefucked versions that have been censored for modern woke sensitivities.

Following widespread derision of the censorship from the likes of prime minister Rishi Sunak and Queen Consort Camilla, Puffin has announced the publishing of a Penguin labelled version of each book in uncensored form. Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House Children's in the UK said in a statement:

We recognise the importance of keeping Dahl's classic texts in print. By making both Puffin and Penguin versions available, we are offering readers the choice to decide how they experience Roald Dahl's magical, marvellous stories.

The new collection of original unrevised texts will be published under the Penguin label and named The Roald Dahl Classic Collection, according to Puffin. It will include 17 titles by Dahl and will be available later this year.

Meanwhile the Guardian has revealed that Roald Dahl was not OK with edits being made to his works.

One of Roald Dahl's best-known characters was the Enormous Crocodile , a horrid greedy grumptious brute who wants to eat something juicy and delicious. Now a conversation the author had 40 years ago has come to light, revealing that he was so appalled by the idea that publishers might one day censor his work that he threatened to send the crocodile to gobble them up.

The conversation took place in 1982 at Dahl's home in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, where he was talking to the artist Francis Bacon. Dahl said:

I've warned my publishers that if they later on so much as change a single comma in one of my books, they will never see another word from me. Never! Ever!

When I am gone, if that happens, then I'll wish mighty Thor knocks very hard on their heads with his Mjolnir. Or I will send along the 'enormous crocodile' to gobble them up.

Update: Also censored in 1973

26th February 2023. See article from theconversation.com by Alison Baker

Roald Dahl agreed in 1973 to remove racist language from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, originally published in 1964. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) objected to Dahl's original portrayal of the Oompa-Loompas as African pygmies.

In Dahl's original story, the Oompa-Loompas were smuggled by Willy Wonka in packing cases with holes in the side for air, which carried echoes of both the Gold Coast slave labour used to produce chocolate in the 19th and early 20th Century and the transatlantic slave trade. The NAACP further threatened to boycott the 1971 film before its release over concerns about depictions of the Oompa-Loompas.

 

 

Commented: Puffin Gobblefucks with words...

Roald Dahl books suffer woke censorship by their publisher


Link Here23rd February 2023
Full story: UK Central Bank Digital Currency...Big brotherdesigns a new snoopable and controllable payment system
Content deemed offensive to woke sensitivities, such as references to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race have been removed or rewritten in Dahl's library of children's classics.

Rishi Sunak has condemned the rewriting of Roald Dahl's books, quoting the Big Friendly Giant's warning not to gobblefunk with words. Sunak's spokesperson said:

When it comes to our rich and varied literary heritage, the PM agrees with the BFG that you shouldn't 'gobblefunk' around with words.

I think it's important that works of literature and works of fiction are preserved and not airbrushed. We have always defended the right to free speech and expression.

Booker Prize winner Sir Salman said the publishers, Puffin Books and the Roald Dahl Story Company, should be ashamed. He tweeted:

Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship.

Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, tweeted to say she was alarmed by the reported changes and warned the power to rewrite books could be abused. She added:

Amidst fierce battles against book bans and strictures on what can be taught and read, selective editing to make works of literature conform to particular sensibilities could represent a dangerous new weapon.

Those who might cheer specific edits to Dahl's work should consider how the power to rewrite books might be used in the hands of those who do not share their values and sensibilities. Edits to Roald Dahl's classics

Some of the edits reportedly include removing the word 'fat' from every book, with Augustus Gloop in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory instead being described as enormous.  Hundreds of edits have reportedly been made to the latest editions of Roald Dahl's classics. A report in the Daily Telegraph compared the latest editions with earlier versions of the texts. It found language concerning weight, mental health, violence, gender and race had been either cut or rewritten.

But the most ludicrous examples of censorship are to removed the words 'black' and 'white' when used to refer to colours when nothing to do with skin colour. Eg a description of a white bed sheet has had the word 'white replaced'.

The Cloud-Men in James and the Giant Peach are now the Cloud-People, while references to Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad in Matilda had been changed to Jane Austen and John Steinbeck.

In The Witches, a reference to women working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman has been changed to working as a top scientist or running a business.

In James and the Giant Peach, Miss Sponge is no longer described as the fat one, Miss Spider's head is no longer black and the Earthworm no longer has lovely pink skin but lovely smooth skin.

In The Twits, Mrs Twit is no longer described as ugly and beastly but just beastly.

The Roald Dahl Story Company claim their censorship process has been ongoing since 2020 and any edits are small and carefully considered. They worked with Puffin and Inclusive Minds, a group saying that they are working for inclusion and accessibility in children's literature.

 

Offsite Comment: Censoring Roald Dahl is not the answer, just a problem

23rd February 2023. See article from indexoncensorship.org by Jemimah Steinfeld

 

 

A Far Cry from free speech...

Ubisoft invites the police to help it sanitise gamers' in-game communications


Link Here20th February 2023
Ubisoft, video game makers of major franchises like Assassin's Creed and Rainbow Six , has signed a first-of-its-kind deal with police to try and sanitise the speech of players.

Damien Glorieux a senior director of the Newcastle-based Ubisoft Customer Relationship Centre said:

We want to be on the right side of history. It's here, and at four other locations around the world, that staff monitor how players of Ubisoft games are getting on - responding to requests for help and actively getting involved with the communities that have evolved around their titles. They deal with everything from purchasing issues to online toxicity.

Other companies have similar set-ups, but what's unique here is the involvement of local law enforcement.

The deal between the company and Northumbria Police works in two parts. Behind the scenes at Ubisoft Customer relations centre.

Firstly, it sees specialist officers share their knowledge and expertise on harmful online interactions with the 200-strong team working at the centre in Newcastle, who then apply that training to their daily work.

Secondly, an agreement is in place so that in extreme cases, where there is a threat to life or potential serious harm spotted, staff can fast track the information to police.

They will then decide whether or not to act.

It is daunting, but at the same time it is very important, which is why we wanted to sign this deal and try to make things right .

We wanted to focus on the most extreme cases, make sure we do the right thing there because it gives us a solid foundation to build the rest of our work around.

Less than 0.01% of cases that the centre deals with end up requiring police intervention.

That works out as roughly a handful of cases a month. Most of the time, accounts will be temporarily banned or permanently closed if players have breached a code of conduct.

Staff in Newcastle can also recommend the company start legal proceedings in some instances.

Of course all censorship schemes start with the promise of using the tools for extreme cases. But once in place, the mechanism will soon be used against even the most minor of sleights or insults, especially if they are targeted at 'protected' identity groups.

 

Offsite Comment: Now the speech police are coming for gamers

20th February 2023. See article from spiked-online.com by Laurie Wastell

Games developer Ubisoft is partnering with the police to try to sanitise the world of online gaming.

 

 

Offsite Article: The Guardian recommends...


Link Here8th February 2023
A reboot of Fawlty Towers...An anti-woke nightmare!

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Influence spell fails...

Trans protestors call for a boycott of the video game Hogwarts Legacy, but this fails to make any discernable difference


Link Here5th February 2023
Hogwarts Legacy is a 2023 action RPG game
Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world action RPG set in the world introduced in the Harry Potter books. Explore and discover magical beasts, customize your character and craft potions, master spell casting, upgrade talents and become the wizard you want to be. Experience Hogwarts in the 1800s. Make allies, battle Dark wizards, and ultimately decide the fate of the wizarding world. Your legacy is what you make of it. Live the Unwritten.

Trans activists around the world are urging people to boycott Hogwarts Legacy , the upcoming Harry Potter videogame, in protest against Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Rowling's steadfast defence of women's rights has made her a bogeyman of the trans movement in recent years. It should be noted that JK Rowling has had no direct involvement in the development of the game. Eg gaming streamer Will Overgard said:

By supporting this title you are essentially aligning yourself with some really heinous transphobic values. Please do not stream it; don't make YouTube videos about it; don't buy it and don't bloody pre-order it.

The current indications are that the boycott call has had little effect. Based on pre-orders alone, the game already sits at the top of the charts on Steam.

It's the same story on YouTube, where a search for Hogwarts Legacy returns hundreds of videos of streamers poring over newly released gameplay footage, and relatively few about the boycott.

Hogwarts Legacy is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC, it will be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch later in the year.

 

 

Inside Whitehall's Ministry of Truth...

How secretive 'anti-misinformation' teams conducted mass domestic political monitoring


Link Here31st January 2023
Secretive Whitehall units have been recording political dissent on social media under the guise of tackling misinformation, a Big Brother Watch investigation has found. Politicians, academics, activists, journalists and even members of the public have been subjected to monitoring by Whitehall officials, and an "information warfare machine" in the British Army.

Key Findings:

  • Anti-fake news units in the Cabinet Office and DCMS spent much of their time monitoring social media for political dissent, under the guise of "counter-disinformation" work.
  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Conservative MPs David Davis & Chris Green , journalists including Peter Hitchens and Julia Hartley-Brewer , and academics from the University of Oxford and University College London all had comments critical of the government recorded by the anti-fake news units.
  • Soldiers from the Army's 77th Brigade collated tweets from British citizens about Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic and passed them to the Cabinet Office. Troops also conducted "sentiment analysis" about the government's Covid-19 response.
  • The Rapid Response Unit [Cabinet Office] pressured a Whitehall department to attack newspapers for publishing articles analysing Covid-19 modelling that it feared would " affect compliance" with pandemic restrictions.
  • RRU staff featured Conservative MPs, activists and journalists in "vaccine hesitancy reports" for opposing vaccine passports.
  • The Counter Disinformation Unit [DCMS] has a special relationship with social media companies it uses to recommend content be removed. Third party contractors trawled Twitter for perceived terms of service violations and passed them to CDU officials.
  • Front organisations aimed at minority communities were set up by the Research, Communications and Intelligence Unit [Home Office] to spread government propaganda in the UK.

Ministry of Truth: The Secretive Government Units Spying On Your Speech is the first look at the government units using the fašade of tackling fake news to conceal large-scale monitoring of the British public on social media. The report exposes the controversial activity of the shadowy units during the coronavirus pandemic in particular, during which they recorded the social media posts and press activity of politicians, academics and journalists who criticised the government's handling of the crisis.

The units covered in the investigation include the Counter Disinformation Unit, which leads the domestic operational response for countering disinformation across government from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, and the Rapid Response Unit in the Cabinet Office -- both of which were highly active during the pandemic. It also examines the Foreign Office's Government Information Cell and the Research, Intelligence and Communications Unit in the Home Office. According to the Cabinet Office, staff from the Rapid Response Unit have now been "transferred to the wider team" in government working on "tackling misinformation". In December, Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee complained of an "erosion of oversight" as the Government is "refusing" to expand its remit to include the Counter Disinformation Unit, among other units, creating a blind spot of secret government activity.

Some of the units were supported by Army's 77th Brigade, which conducts information warfare. The investigation contains evidence from a 77th Brigade whistleblower that, in spite of claims to the contrary by senior generals, troops did spy on the British public. He lifts the lid on the "sentiment analysis" the 77th Brigade conducted, looking at how people viewed the government's handling of the pandemic.

Big Brother Watch's " Ministry of Truth" report is based on scores of Freedom of Information requests, and the co-operation of dozens of people in public life who submitted Subject Access Requests to the government to demand copies of their data held by the so-called disinformation units.

All of the public figures had comments criticising the government collected and analysed by one of the units. These ranged from quotes opposing comments on vaccine passports and travel restrictions to jokes about ministers' hypocrisy.

Key examples of public figures caught up in the Whitehall anti-fake news units' surveillance:
  • David Davis MP featured in a Rapid Response Unit "vaccine hesitancy" report for arguing that vaccine passports were discriminatory and created a false sense of security.
  • Chris Green MP and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham's opposition to local lockdowns appeared in an RRU update on the Delta variant.
  • Members of the British public discussing the pandemic online were monitored by the Army's information warfare brigade on topics from government ventilator supplies to expressing fears over Covid-19's link to blood clots.
  • Cabinet Office officials pressured the Department for Health to attack the Daily Mail for daring to question Covid modelling because they were concerned it could undermine compliance with coronavirus restrictions.
  • A post from UCL academic Dr Alexandre de Figueiredo, who researches vaccine confidence, was flagged by a contractor to the CDU because he argued that mass vaccination of children had risks, including to confidence in vaccines.
  • Rapid Response Unit officials rushed to flag Professor Carl Heneghan's Spectator article across Whitehall because he questioned whether the "rule of 6" was an arbitrary number.
  • Journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer appeared in a similar report for tweeting about her interview with a woman who had suffered due to the care home policy during the lockdown.
Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said:

This is an alarming case of mission creep, where public money and even military power have been misused to monitor academics, journalists, campaigners and members of parliament who criticised the government, particularly during the pandemic.

The fact that this political monitoring happened under the guise of 'countering misinformation' highlights how, absent serious safeguards, the concept of 'wrong information' is open to abuse and has become a blank cheque the government uses in attempt to control narratives online.

Contrary to their stated aims, these government truth units are secretive and harmful to our democracy. The Counter Disinformation Unit should be suspended immediately and subject to a full investigation.

Legal expert on media and free expression, Gavin Millar KC said:

The secrecy surrounding the activities of these units is very worrying. Citizens cannot be sure that their rights to freedom of speech, privacy and data protection are being respected by the state unless it tells them what it is doing with their communications and information.

It is particularly concerning that political speech unwelcome to the government is being targeted, without any apparent safeguards to ensure compliance with the law.

" There are no obvious security or intelligence issues about most of these activities. So there must now be the fullest possible transparency and oversight by Parliament, as well as scrutiny by the courts.

David Davis MP said:

Big Brother Watch's findings should set alarm bells ringing for anyone who knows the dangers of the overmighty state. Journalists, politicians and members of the public should all be free to air their views without examination by Government agencies.

Privacy and free speech are fundamentally important values. But in the war on 'misinformation', they are being put at risk. It is time for a serious rethink at the heart of Government.


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