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May 23 2012

Why is Google Blogger still giving Greek Nazis a platform?

A guest post by “Inglourious Basterd”

I was fortunate to grow up in Athens, Greece to a middle class family before moving to the US a few years ago. Sadly, Greece has been getting a lot of attention in the news for the last two years. It was the first domino to fall in the still unresolved European debt crisis that saw the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the IMF – collectively called the “Troika” – negotiate two rounds of emergency loans in exchange for tax hikes and spending cuts (mostly cutting salaries and laying off workers) at a time of already deepening recession that started in 2008. These austerity measures are so harsh that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was reported to have said about them before they took effect: “We want to make sure nobody else will want this”. The results are predictable: decreases in GDP, rising unemployment above 20% including half of all young people, rises in suicides, homelessnes, and violent crime.

The communists and far left political parties have achieved record polling numbers with populist rhetoric as working people abandon the two centrist political parties that supported the latest round of austerity measures and seek to take a harder line against the Troika while still largely supporting EU and Euro membership.

At the same time, the number of immigrants from other poverty and war stricken countries like Albania, Pakistan, and Afghanistan has been rising due in no small part to a broken EU refugee policy referred to as the Dublin regulation that dictates that asylum claims are to be processed in the EU state of arrival. According to Human Rights Watch “With more than three-quarters of migrants who enter the EU irregularly by land coming across the Greek border from Turkey, the Dublin regulation means that an EU country ill-equipped to assess asylum claims or to treat migrants humanely has to manage a disproportionate number of arrivals.” This means that hundreds of thousands of poor immigrants with are left to fend for themselves either in horrible detention conditions or in legal limbo.

A mass media landscape dominated by entrenched business interests that have profited immensely from the status quo is not keen on people questioning EU calls for further privatization and weakening of collective bargaining rules. Instead, viewers are inundated with sensational allegations of rampant crime by immigrants and constant scare-mongering about food and medicine shortages unless the Troika demands are not immediately met.

How this translates politically and socially has also been predictable. Violent organized racist attacks against immigrants – once unheard of – have now become a terrible reality in many working class neighborhoods. What was once a marginal fringe party called “Golden Dawn” went from .3% in the 2009 elections to almost 7% in 2012, more than enough to get representation in parliament for the first time.

In addition to holocaust denial, requiring journalists to stand in deference at their press conference, breaking up book presentations, a logo resembling a swastika, and a Nazi-like salute, Golden Dawn also made thinly veiled anonymous threat of violence against journalist Xenia Kounalaki last April on their WordPress blog. WordPress was notified and promptly took it down, however they still maintain many local blogs on Google’s Blogger platform despite Google’s terms of service having explicit prohibitions against hate speech and threats of violence.

Google has a staff in Greece. I find it hard to believe that they are unaware of the presence of this dangerous group on their service. Nonetheless, they must be banished from Blogger. Google cannot continue to provide a platform to this dangerous group in perpetuity. Despite repeated terms of service violations, the blogs are still there. The time has come for public pressure. With new elections in Greece on June 17, every day that goes by means more votes and more legitimization for Golden Dawn.

Please join me in signing this petition to tell Google’s Board of Directors to shut down the Golden Dawn blogs on their Blogger service.

90 comments

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  1. 1
    Simon

    Signed.

  2. 2
    Ken

    I hate Greek Nazis.

    Of course, Google is private. It can accept, or reject, such speech as it likes.

    But what standard are you using to tell Google what speech it should accept or reject? Are Nazis (Greek or not) sui generis, or is there a broader array of political speech you believe Google ought not permit? What are the boundaries of that unacceptable speech to you?

    And, to be clear: your position is that, rather than engage in response speech, rather than countering bad speech, your strategy for responding to the speech of a party that you don’t like, but that apparently 7% of voting Greeks found palatable, is to demand that an internet host deny them a platform for speaking, right?

    To be fair, they probably think you ought not be able to speak, either.

  3. 3
    Inglourious Basterd

    The standard is Blogger’s own Content Policy: http://www.blogger.com/content.g

    Will ask Ophelia to add the hyperlink. This is stated in the petition but good to have on the article.

  4. 4
    Ken

    Okay. But you don’t just want particular posts involving “hate speech” to be taken down, right? You want Google to ban this political party entirely.

  5. 5
    Egbert

    Interesting dilemma here between the principle of free speech and political activism. For me, free speech every time, so long as other people’s freedoms are not violated. I don’t like the idea of google shutting down blogs out of group pressure, even if in this case it’s for a good reason.

  6. 6
    Inglourious Basterd

    Deleting the party’s blogs would be consistent with Google’s stated Content Policy in their Enforcement section. This is precisely the action that WordPress took. To the best of my knowledge there is no provision in Google’s published policy to take down individual posts.

    Even if there was, Golden Dawn’s long documented record of violence and intimidation of which I have linked to a recent instance on a well-known journalist is something nobody in their right mind can ignore. Google is a private company and therefore they are not obligated to give a platform to every criminal enterprise that decides use them as a megaphone. They know this very well and the sheer volume of blogs on their servers means that bad behavior needs to be reported by third parties.

    A better question is why Golden Dawn still uses Blogger when they have more than ample resources to set up their own website (and in fact have). A possible answer lies in the response that Xenia Kounalaki received from the police when she attempted to report the anonymous threat, and that is that because the blog was on a US server they would be unable to investigate.

  7. 7
    Inglourious Basterd

    Egbert: You would agree I think that free speech can only exist when there is a free press, yes? What effect on press freedom does it have when a political party publicly threatens a journalist? I would argue that the resultant fear is largely a reduction in said freedom.

  8. 8
    Steven Bollinger

    Signed.

    And Ken, and Egbert, if some group ever dedicates itself to murdering you because of their notions of ethnicity and homeland, I will fight for you, even though at first blush you both strike me as rather clueless wanks.

  9. 9
    Ken

    And Ken, and Egbert, if some group ever dedicates itself to murdering you because of their notions of ethnicity and homeland, I will fight for you, even though at first blush you both strike me as rather clueless wanks.

    Why thank you Steven. Your civility and maturity, and the suitability of your sentiment to “Free Thought Blogs,” have quote moved me.

    In a similar spirit, even though you seem of a mind to censor expression you don’t like, I would fight for your right to express ideas I find abhorrent.

  10. 10
    Ken

    Even if there was, Golden Dawn’s long documented record of violence and intimidation of which I have linked to a recent instance on a well-known journalist is something nobody in their right mind can ignore. Google is a private company and therefore they are not obligated to give a platform to every criminal enterprise that decides use them as a megaphone.

    Thank you for the implication that people who disagree with you are not in their right mind, which illuminates the quality of your argument. For the record, even though I disagree with you on some points, I have no reason to doubt that you are in your right mind, and mean no slight on your sanity or personal character, except perhaps as to censoriousness.

    Certainly Golden Dawn, like many other nationalist/fascist/Nazi organizations, have criminal proclivities, and would not extend freedom of expression to others if they were the ones to decide such things. But just as decent societies extend due process to accused criminals, even though criminals usually don’t extend due process to their victims, decent societies also extend freedom of expression to people whether they would reciprocate or not. Or, as Clint would say, “deserve” has nothing to do with it.

    So: you have every right to petition Google, a private entity, to block views you find objectionable. (Or, I assume you do. I don’t know what jurisdiction you are in. Some countries have odd visions of free speech.) I question the effectiveness of such suppression in fighting despicable ideas like those advanced by Nazis. I also, quite frankly, wonder what ideas you’ll be asking Google to suppress next.

    If some supporter of Golden Dawn had a Blogger site advocating some of its aims, without “hate speech,” would you be asking Google to take that down, too? How about a Bloggger site arguing that Google ought not remove Golden Dawn sites?

  11. 11
    leftwingfox

    In a similar spirit, even though you seem of a mind to censor expression you don’t like, I would fight for your right to express ideas I find abhorrent.

    Including death threats? Because that’s what’s at issue here, not mean words. Death threats, by a group who seem quite capable and willing to carry them out.

  12. 12
    Ken

    Incidentally, I can only assume that next one ought to be offering a petition to expel The Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society as an offensive entity engaged in speech that some groups view as hate speech.

    For that matter, given the efforts of our esteemed host to discuss expression noxious to some — and her defense of the right to such expression — is it time for a petition against her?

    Surely there is some sort of Committee on Correct Thought that could sort it all out.

  13. 13
    Ken

    Including death threats? Because that’s what’s at issue here, not mean words. Death threats, by a group who seem quite capable and willing to carry them out.

    But again, the request is not to delete posts with death threats. The request is to ban an entire political group from the host because a death threat has been attributed to some member of it.

    A true threat should be investigated and prosecuted. Decent people ought to vote against a political party that trades in death threats. That’s different than saying “ban this party from this host.”

  14. 14
    mnb0

    Signed as well. When it comes to this I am not interested in subtle logic.
    What truly amazes me is that there actually are Greek nazi’s. It’s not like their German counterparts brought a lot of happiness when they visited the country uninvitedly back in the 40′s. 300 000 people died from starvation in Athina alone.

  15. 15
    Egbert

    Inglorious Basterd,

    I recently got personally attacked and censored on a freethought blog for pointing out the importance of freedom of speech and equality. I still can’t quite believe it, but it happened.

    I think if threats of violence have been made, then that ought to be a matter for the law. But shutting down blogs, that doesn’t seem to be the liberal way of doing things to me.

  16. 16
    Inglourious Basterd

    That is the point. As I mentioned previously, the police declined to investigate because it occurred on a US hosting provider. My understanding is the only cases where Greek law is clear that investigation needs to happen is when it originates from a website hosted in Greece. There is no reason why Google should enable Golden Dawn to circumvent Greek law.

    Also, these are all blogs controlled by the party apparatus, as was the old one where they made the death threat. Not just any member can post. I stand firm in my request that Google follow their own policy and not allow them to use Blogger for their official communications.

  17. 17
    Stacy

    Jesus Jay Christ on a prancing pony.

    Inglourious Basterd describes raw fascism: hateful rhetoric, violence and incitement of further violence against immigrants and Others, and threats of violence against journalists.

    And Egbert sez:

    I recently got personally attacked and censored on a freethought blog for pointing out the importance of freedom of speech and equality. I still can’t quite believe it, but it happened

    We all feel your pain, bro. Hope the PTSD isn’t too debilitating.

    Meanwhile, asked to sign a petition to a private company to not host these thugs–who have repeatedly violated their terms of serviceand are using the U.S. host to circumvent the law–Ken asks:

    But what standard are you using to tell Google what speech it should accept or reject? Are Nazis (Greek or not) sui generis, or is there a broader array of political speech you believe Google ought not permit? What are the boundaries of that unacceptable speech to you?

    Read the fucking article, you simpleton. For comprehension, this time.

  18. 18
    Stacy

    @Inglourious Basterd

    Thanks for the post. Signed.

  19. 19
    Giedrius

    Say No to Online Censorship!

    In the United States, publishers have a fundamental right to print truthful political information. Equally important, Internet users have a fundamental right to read that information and voice their opinions about it. Throughout the world, these values are codified into the laws of many countries and are included in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

  20. 20
    ernie keller

    I think Google can ban an extremist group that issues threats of violence without transgressing free speech principles. The same would apply to an atheist or secularist society that issued such threats. The “offensive entity” standard is not being applied, and I trust no one here thinks it should be.

  21. 21
    dirigible

    Even if “give me all your money” was protected speech, we would still see muggers prosecuted.

    I think that in this case the chilling effects on free speech are less harmful than the continuing incitement to violence against individuals. http://bit.ly/63vvWq

    A couple of comments.

    Giedrius: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression;”

    So why are you opposing these rights by supporting the silencing of journalists through threats and intimidation?

    Ken: “Incidentally, I can only assume that next one ought to be offering a petition to expel The Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society as an offensive entity engaged in speech that some groups view as hate speech.”

    Informally defined hate speech is not the same thing as legally defined hate speech. Taking offence at being told one’s ideas lack evidence can be dishonestly presented as the former, threatening violence against people is clearly the latter. This isn’t about whether one likes who is doing the saying or whether we can draw a bogus equivalency between how people feel about things, it’s about the actions they are seeking to cause.

  22. 22
    Bruce Gorton

    I do not think incitement to imminent violence, such as a political party issuing death threats, is covered by free speech.

  23. 23
    Dave

    There are, I think, only 2 coherent points here:

    1. If Google has a policy against hosting hate-speech, which is being breached, it is perfectly reasonable to ask them to enforce it.

    2. The continued presence of far-right parties in European politics will not be best dealt with by seeking to deny them the right to exist, so if any statements are being made which imply that, they are a bad idea. How do we know this? Because we have watched political forces try to ban each other across this ravaged continent for well over a century. It doesn’t stick.

  24. 24
    Rudi

    Why would you want to shut down a site where people are openly incriminating themselves? If there are genuine threats of violence on the site, then that is illegal, and the authorities have cast-iron evidence with which to prosecute the offenders. Why force this hate-group underground, when they are (apparently) happy to commit their crimes out in the open, for all to see?

    If what I have said above does not apply in this case, and these assholes are keeping it legal, then quite aside from the free speech aspect, it’s not very constructive. Much better, surely, to alert the authorities to these activities and let them catch these bastards in the act, than merely suppress their visibility.

  25. 25
    Steven Bollinger

    Ken, Egbert, you’re doing a fine job of illustrating my point about you being clueless wanks, thank you.

    Still, though, let me repeat: if any organization ever tries to kill you — or Giedrius — not reject your contributions to an online discussion or call you names, but kill you — because of their ideas about things like “race” — not because of anything you did or said, but because they’ve declared war on you because of their ideas about who they think your ancestors were — they’re gonna have to go through me. Even if you think that my efforts to save your dumb-ass lives is a violation of the principle of freedom of speech. Although it’s really hard for me to imagine you’d still see it that way if it was your apartment where you live with your children which someone had tried to blow up, or if had been one of you whom three guys had jumped on a dark street and beaten.

  26. 26
    Inglourious Basterd

    It’s unclear to me how making anonymous posts on a foreign website “incriminates” in the law enforcement sense. Quite the opposite, Google is being used as a shield to say whatever they please.

    Rudi: I have already stated twice in the comments that the police declined to investigate and their stated reason is that they occurred on a US host.

    In addition, the Greek Police are often (not always) in collusion with Golden Dawn and are known to turn a blind eye. In recent elections they found for example that voting districts where police voted had unusually high support for Golden Dawn: http://www.rt.com/news/greek-police-vote-nazis-350/

    Or sometimes they take matters into their own hands and beat up immigrants themselves:

    They rule the streets in neighbourhoods such as Agios Panteleimon, a once-upmarket district gone to seed, and drive many to seek refuge in centres such as one run by the aid group Medecins du Monde.

    Kamal, an Algerian immigrant in the centre, who says he is too scared to go out at night after being beaten up twice, once by “men in black”, and once by the police.

    Source: http://dawn.com/2012/05/24/greek-far-right-rise-cows-battered-immigrants/

    So yes, if Greece had a functioning legal system that went after hate crimes more than once per decade (see above Dawn article) “going to the authorities” might actually be an option and folks living in Greece are welcome to try that route.

  27. 27
    Bruce Gorton

    Inglourious Basterd

    What gets me is – Golden Dawn is the sort of name you expect for the villains in a bad RPG. Couldn’t they have gone for something less obvious and called themselves Team Rocket?

  28. 28
    Skeptico

    I’m afraid I disagree with the premise of this post. Ken (commenting above) is correct – any physical threats that have been made should be investigated and prosecuted. But outside of that, the best response to speech we disagree with is more speech, not censorship.

    Steven Bollinger:

    Although it’s really hard for me to imagine you’d still see it that way if it was your apartment where you live with your children which someone had tried to blow up, or if had been one of you whom three guys had jumped on a dark street and beaten.

    Talking of clueless – you have just demonstrated that you don’t know the difference between writing a blog you disagree with and bombing an apartment building.

  29. 29
    Inglourious Basterd

    I guess I’m still not sure where it’s written that somehow everyone has a right to use Google Blogger.

    This is plainly not the case.

  30. 30
    Steven Bollinger

    Skeptico:

    “you have just demonstrated that you don’t know the difference between writing a blog you disagree with and bombing an apartment building”

    On the contrary, I recognized a direct link between Internet activity and violence. Not that it was any great achievement on my part, not that a lot of people don’t see it in this case, although it seems to escape you.

    Do they have a Neville Chamberlain Award in the UK? It’s twits like you who guaranteed that WWII wasn’t over in 1938.

  31. 31
    Ophelia Benson

    Oi, keep it civil please!

    And by the way it is beyond absurd to call Ken a simpleton. You do realize Ken is Popehat, right?

    But even if he were Ken Nobody, “I disagree with your argument” is preferable to “you’re a simpleton.” I know I regularly break that rule (not really a rule, more like a principle) when I write about the actual pope as opposed to his hat, but that’s different. (Why is it? Because the pope has massive illegitimate power, and he uses it. Because the pope is the boss of X million Catholics who have no say in his “election” to the office. Because the pope uses that illegitimate power to do very bad things.)

  32. 32
    Ophelia Benson

    Now for the argument.

    …the best response to speech we disagree with is more speech, not censorship.

    But is it? Invariably? No matter what?

    I don’t think so. I know it’s the orthodox view on this subject, but I think it’s wildly over-optimistic about what “more speech” can do in the face of organized violence.

    Also, is the issue in fact “speech we disagree with”?

    I don’t think so. I think the issue is speech that could (easily) incite real violence and death. I always wish these things could be discussed more honestly when they are about incitement to violence as opposed to “offense” or “disagreement.” I don’t just disagree with people who advocate murder; my attitude to people who do that goes well beyond disagreement.

    Which is not to say that I think “shut them down” is the simple or problem-free response either. I think there is no right answer here – I think there are problems no matter what.

  33. 33
    mnb0

    Google not giving nazi’s a platform is as much violating free speech as private secular schools not teaching creationism. If Ken and co were utterly consequent they would advocate teaching the controversy.

  34. 34
    Bernard Hurley

    A Neville Chamberlain Award – what a good idea!

  35. 35
    Bruce Gorton

    Skeptico

    From what I understand, they are actively advocating violence towards “immigrants”. It wasn’t that long ago when similar urges had my country setting people on fire. I know photographers who were there.

    While I support free speech as a general cause, when it comes to violently xenophobic speech I draw a line. When people are shouting “Kill the foreigner” it is no longer about the free exchange of ideas.

  36. 36
    Stacy

    Also, is the issue in fact “speech we disagree with”?

    I don’t think so. I think the issue is speech that could (easily) incite real violence and death. I always wish these things could be discussed more honestly when they are about incitement to violence as opposed to “offense” or “disagreement.”

    Yeah.

    The effort to frame it in those terms (“offense” or “disagreement”) strikes me as trivialization.

  37. 37
    Skeptico

    Inglourious Basterd:

    I guess I’m still not sure where it’s written that somehow everyone has a right to use Google Blogger.

    Did anyone make that argument? I don’t see where they did.

  38. 38
    Skeptico

    Steven Bollinger

    On the contrary, I recognized a direct link between Internet activity and violence. Not that it was any great achievement on my part, not that a lot of people don’t see it in this case, although it seems to escape you.

    Citations needed:

    1) Direct link to a blog post with evidence that that post caused an actual example of violence,

    and

    2) Evidence that the violence would not have occurred if the blog post hadn’t existed.

    Without the above, you haven’t “recognized” a direct link, you are just assuming one.

    Do they have a Neville Chamberlain Award in the UK? It’s twits like you who guaranteed that WWII wasn’t over in 1938.

    You know, you are correct: if only someone had shut down Hitler’s blog in 1938 there would have been no WWI, no holocaust, and everything in Europe would have been sweetness and light ever since.

  39. 39
    Skeptico

    Ophelia:

    Well, it depends. If speech is directly inciting violence (eg ‘let’s go beat up______________’ ) then it’s not acceptable and should be stopped. So if there are specific posts in a specific blog that does such a thing, then it is correct to try to get that post removed. (And ultimately the whole blog, if is full of nothing but that.) But that isn’t what your guest poster has asked for. He/she has linked to some stories about immigrants being beaten up, has said that there are Nazi blogs, some of them she implies inciting this violence, and then says that all of these blogs (15 of them by my count) should be deleted. I’m actually quite appalled by this post that you have allowed this person to make. You are normally very rational, including evidence and citations  to back up what you write. And yet this guest poster has made no attempt to link to even one post that incites violence. Not that I doubt there are some, but you would have thought there would be at least one example of an actual blog post. But nothing. And yet based on this flimsy argument she expects people to sign a petition that 15 blogs should be deleted completely.

    Sure, let’s ban posts that incite violence. But when you start banning all Nazi blogs just because you hate Nazis, you are on a dangerous road. A lot of people hate atheists, remember.

  40. 40
    Skeptico

    mnbo

    Google not giving nazi’s a platform is as much violating free speech as private secular schools not teaching creationism. If Ken and co were utterly consequent they would advocate teaching the controversy.

    I would not support banning creationist blogs, which would be the correct analogy.

  41. 41
    Jesse M.

    I appreciate contributions from free speech absolutists, but only when they know what free speech means. The supposed absolutists here do not seem to understand that their concept of free speech is different to and incompatible with the concept enshrined by the first amendment.

    Free speech means that the government cannot punish for the content of what someone says. It does not mean that citizens are required or otherwise obligated to provide platforms for speech. The use of the web servers owned and operated by Google is a privilege, not a right. The idea that people are entitled to use the private property of others is not free speech. That’s communism.

  42. 42
    Inglourious Basterd

    Skeptico:

    1) There is a documented death threat in the petition. That is dangerous behavior in and of itself. Or are you saying that people need to wait for the threat to be carried out?

    2) I am advocating for the blogs of a specific Nazi organization that is in flagrant violation of Google’s stated policy.

    3) Even by your standard of “had the blogs not been there”, here’s a specific recent story where arguably Golden Dawn was inciting its supporters to commit violence and had they not been around the violence might well have either not been committed or been substantially less: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/23/golden-dawn-supporters-clash-greek-police

    Here’s a blog post on one of their blogs in the lead up: http://www.xryshaygh.in/2012/05/blog-post_6607.html

    I will translate the headline that is flat out lie: “Battle ground being set up in Patra-Hundreds of armed immigrants!!!”

    From the blog post itself here is another flat out lie:
    “5,000 Africans, Kurds, Afghans, Iraqis, etc are using the Peiraiki Patraiki building as an operational base to conduct burglaries and rapes in the area with impunity”

    The number as reported in the media was around 200-300 and nobody else had claimed that they were armed.

  43. 43
    Stacy
    I guess I’m still not sure where it’s written that somehow everyone has a right to use Google Blogger.

    Did anyone make that argument? I don’t see where they did

    It’s implicit in all the hand-wringing over petitioning Google to enforce their Content Policy with respect to Golden Dawn.

  44. 44
    Steven Bollinger

    Hello, Ophelia.

    “You do realize Ken is Popehat, right?”

    Of course I do. Do you realize that I’m The Wrong Monkey? So, all three of us have our little blogs, isn’t that special. And Skeptico and Bernard, too.

    At least you don’t seem to have any trouble grasping, or explaining, that the lives of immigrants in Greece are being threatened by means of these neo-Nazi blogs, and that that immediate danger far outweighs Google’s obligations, legal, moral, ethical or otherwise, to the neo-Nazis. And for that, and since you posted Inglourious Basterd’s description of their plight and a link to the change.org petition, I will make a change in my usual policy and attempt, with gritted teeth, to be civil.

    (In the short term this may mean that my posts are shorter and less frequent.)

  45. 45
    Skeptico

    Inglourious Basterd

    1) There is a documented death threat in the petition. That is dangerous behavior in and of itself. Or are you saying that people need to wait for the threat to be carried out?

    There is a link to a news article where the url is reports of violent threats – there is nothing in the link reporting about any of the blogs you want banned having death threats. Nothing that you have linked.

    This is the best you’ve got? Really weak.

    2) I am advocating for the blogs of a specific Nazi organization that is in flagrant violation of Google’s stated policy.

    I know. You want them banned just because they are Nazi blogs, not because of death threats. That is the problem I have with your whole argument.

    3) Even by your standard of “had the blogs not been there”, here’s a specific recent story where arguably Golden Dawn was inciting its supporters to commit violence and had they not been around the violence might well have either not been committed or been substantially less: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/23/golden-dawn-supporters-clash-greek-police

    Another news article about how Golden Dawn may have incited supporters – nothing about any of the blogs you want banned.

    Here’s a blog post on one of their blogs in the lead up: http://www.xryshaygh.in/2012/05/blog-post_6607.html

    I will translate the headline that is flat out lie: “Battle ground being set up in Patra-Hundreds of armed immigrants!!!”

    Thank you – finally a link to an actual blog post. However, even the headline you so generously translate, is not a death threat. I ran that blog post through google translate and there are no death threats in the entire post. This is the best you’ve got? Unless you can give me a better translation, I think you just refuted your whole argument.

    From the blog post itself here is another flat out lie:
    “5,000 Africans, Kurds, Afghans, Iraqis, etc are using the Peiraiki Patraiki building as an operational base to conduct burglaries and rapes in the area with impunity”

    The number as reported in the media was around 200-300 and nobody else had claimed that they were armed.

    These are just lies, not death threats. Lies should be met with the truth – ie post a rebuttal. But you want to ban that which you disagree with. You are wrong. By banning things you just disagree with you make martyrs of them and you cause people on the fence to think that they must be right (because you can’t beat them with logical arguments, you have to ban them to win your argument).

    You have demonstrated quite clearly, that you cannot justify your wish to ban these blogs. Really poorly argued.

  46. 46
    Skeptico

    Jesse M

    I appreciate contributions from free speech absolutists, but only when they know what free speech means. The supposed absolutists here do not seem to understand that their concept of free speech is different to and incompatible with the concept enshrined by the first amendment.

    Where did anyone mention the 1st amendment?

    Free speech means that the government cannot punish for the content of what someone says. It does not mean that citizens are required or otherwise obligated to provide platforms for speech. The use of the web servers owned and operated by Google is a privilege, not a right. The idea that people are entitled to use the private property of others is not free speech. That’s communism.

    No one is arguing they have a right to use blogger.

    Two straw man arguments Jesse. Try to stick to our actual arguments, not ones you make up.

  47. 47
    Skeptico

    Stacy

    It’s implicit in all the hand-wringing over petitioning Google to enforce their Content Policy with respect to Golden Dawn.

    Please explain how it’s implicit that we’re saying that it’s written that somehow everyone has a right to use Google Blogger.

  48. 48
    Inglourious Basterd

    Skeptico: The death threat was on their previous WordPress blog that was removed altogether. This is documented and reported on very credible news outlets in English that I linked to. I have not claimed otherwise. Here is a reproduction of the blog post in Greek: http://www.koutipandoras.gr/?p=19951

    Here’s the part in question as it is a long rant that barely makes sense in the original Greek:

    Για να το αποδώσουμε στην… μητρική της ξένης Ξένιας γλώσσα : «Kommt Zeit, kommt Rat, Kommt Attentat!»

    Also included is a random factoid about the fact that she has a 13 year old daughter.

    So yes, this is the same organization that is now making increased use of Blogger and they have not expressed any remorse or regret and this is why my opinion is that Google should follow their own guidelines and not give them a platform.

  49. 49
    Ophelia Benson

    Steven Bollinger -

    Of course I do. Do you realize that I’m The Wrong Monkey? So, all three of us have our little blogs, isn’t that special.

    No, my point wasn’t that Ken has a blog, my point was that Ken is Popehat.

  50. 50
    Ophelia Benson

    Skeptico -

    Sure, let’s ban posts that incite violence. But when you start banning all Nazi blogs just because you hate Nazis, you are on a dangerous road. A lot of people hate atheists, remember.

    That’s just silly. It’s the same kind of understatement as “just because you find them offensive” or “just because you disagree with them.” It’s not about “just because you hate”; it’s about genocide, large and small. Nazism is inseparable from genocide.

  51. 51
    Steven Bollinger

    Hi Ophelia.

    “my point wasn’t that Ken has a blog, my point was that Ken is Popehat.”

    I don’t understand your point. Is Popehat famous? I’d never heard of Popehat before I clicked on Ken’s name. (If a person’s handle is clickable around here I generally click on it and give their blog a look.)

  52. 52
    Ophelia Benson

    Steven – ah – well, pretty famous, yes, and famous around here anyway, and…to use a bit of litotes, not a simpleton.

    Try googling Popehat and Burzynski.

  53. 53
    Steven Bollinger

    Ophelia, not to extend this into a pointless ping-pong, I hope, but don’t you think that even extremely intelligent people occasionally say things which aren’t very intelligent?

    Like upthread when I chose to use the term “dumb-ass.” That wasn’t very bright on my part.

  54. 54
    Ophelia Benson

    Steven, of course I do, but I didn’t say Ken has never said anything stupid, I said he’s not a simpleton.

    (For the record, I certainly don’t think he said anything stupid here. I’ve never seen him say anything stupid. I’m sure he can if he tries though.)

  55. 55
    Stacy

    I’m the one who used the word “simpleton”, and I herewith withdraw it. It was the wrong word, anyway.

    I certainly don’t think he said anything stupid here. I’ve never seen him say anything stupid.

    Well, we’ll have to disagree there. Here, at least, I think there’s been a conflation of wanting a private company to dump a violent and dangerous group with wanting to 1) Prevent that group from saying anything, anywhere and 2) Shut down all blogs (or other avenues of discourse) we happen to disagree with.

    For example:

    Incidentally, I can only assume that next one ought to be offering a petition to expel The Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society as an offensive entity engaged in speech that some groups view as hate speech

    There. “Engaged in speech that some groups view as hate speech.”

    There’s a big false analogy there. Golden Dawn is trivialized into an entity that does nothing more than “engage in speech that some groups view as hate speech.”

    some groups view–the groups they’re targeting with actual violence, I suppose.

    Maybe I’m the one who’s being stupid. It wouldn’t be the first time. But we’re not discussing a group who’s all talk, here. It seems to me it’s easy to sit here, in the U.S., and wax eloquent about Freedom of Speech, while the group we’re discussing is murdering, inciting murder, and gaining power, in Greece.

  56. 56
    Stacy

    Aw, you’ve probably all seen this before, but just in case you haven’t, and because my better self would rather us all laugh together than fight amongst ourselves:

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/aclu-defends-nazis-right-to-burn-down-aclu-headqua,1648/

  57. 57
    Ophelia Benson

    Well, yes, I agree that the issue isn’t just talk.

  58. 58
    Ophelia Benson

    Heh. I like this bit from the Onion item in particular:

    “Yes, my loving wife Linda and three wonderful children, Ben, Robby and Stephanie, will be devastated when I am killed next month,” ACLU attorney Harvey Gross said. “But I recognize that, in a very real sense, it would be a victory for Mr. Carver and his fellow hatemongers if I did not burn to death, because their terrible message of bigotry and intolerance would be all the more effective if suppressed.”

    Very reminiscent of the bromide “the best response to speech we disagree with is more speech, not censorship,” which is always delivered as if it were just obviously and invariably true. How could it be invariably true?

  59. 59
    Jesse M.

    Skeptico,

    There is a difference between strawmen and misinterpretations. Given the statements (free speech) and given the context (what is permissible for U.S. companies), my interpretation (free speech as defined by the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution) was reasonable. Accusations of making strawmen arguments (which implies intentionality) are unjustified.

    With that said, if people are using the legal definition of “free speech” from some other country, then it should be clear that their laws hold no weight in the question of what is permissible for a U.S. company. And if people are using some private definition, then they should spell out their definition because using private language as though it were publically understood — especially when the resulting misunderstanding would be beneficial to one’s ideological aims — is rhetorical trickery.

    That is all beside the point though. Regardless of the definitions employed, if the people saying “free speech” are even coming close to implying that Greek citizens who advocate murder have any kind of legal right or moral right to use and control the private property of American citizens, then their argument is nonsense.

  60. 60
    Skeptico

    Inglourious Basterd:

    The death threat was on their previous WordPress blog that was removed altogether.

    So let’s get this straight. The reason you want these 15 blogs banned is that there was an earlier WordPress blog post that isn’t there anymore that made a threat of violence. This post isn’t on Google Blogger. No other death or violence threats are on Google Blogger. (You’ve now had three go rounds to cite such a threat – the original post and now two attempts in the comments to show it to me – and failed, so I’m going to go with “doesn’t exist.” If they were there you would have linked to it by now.) And for this you want 15 blogs removed altogether. As I wrote before, really weak. Not the way rational people behave.

    This is documented and reported on very credible news outlets in English that I linked to. I have not claimed otherwise.

    Oh give me a break, of course you claimed otherwise. Your post was written to imply strongly that the current Blogger blogs contain death threats.  As I will now demonstrate. In your original post you wrote:

    …they still maintain many local blogs on Google’s Blogger platform despite Google’s terms of service having explicit prohibitions against hate speech and threats of violence. [My bold]

    “…Google’s terms of service having explicit prohibitions against hate speech and threats of violence.” Your argument, your reason for wanting these blogs banned, is that Google prohibits threats of violence on its blogs. Threats of violence that, according to the best evidence you have been able to present, don’t exist on Google Blogs. (And in fact, don’t even exist any more on WordPress.) It is clear now that your original post was, let’s say, disingenuous – you wanted people to think that these blogs have threats of violence on them, and to make people think that, you conflated “threats of violence” with Blogger blogs. It has taken me several posts to finally get you to admit that actual threats of violence don’t exist on any Blogger blogs. You’re trying to walk that back now, but I can still read what you originally wrote, despite your recent denial.

    Here is a reproduction of the blog post in Greek: http://www.koutipandoras.gr/?p=19951

    Here’s the part in question as it is a long rant that barely makes sense in the original Greek:

    Για να το αποδώσουμε στην… μητρική της ξένης Ξένιας γλώσσα : «Kommt Zeit, kommt Rat, Kommt Attentat!»

    That’s it? One sentence? And yet you still won’t translate this to English. Why not? This is an English speaking blog, and you are trying to persuade mostly English speaking people. This is the best (actually the only) thing you have and you even admit that it barely makes sense in the original language. And this (now removed) sentence that you won’t translate is what we are supposed to be satisfied with as the reason for deleting 15 blogs? Could it be that the translation doesn’t support your hyperbolic rhetoric? What other reason could you have for not telling us what they actually wrote in English? Actually, the last part of that is German, and I believe it translates to something like “Cometh the hour, cometh the man, Come assassination!” Yeah, it says “assassination” – pretty bad and maybe worthy of getting the post removed. Or maybe not (it is pretty obtuse, IMO). It’s debatable. Either way it does not comport with the hyperbolic rhetoric you are using to persuade people to sign your petition. I’m not surprised you wouldn’t translate it.

    So yes, this is the same organization that is now making increased use of Blogger and they have not expressed any remorse or regret and this is why my opinion is that Google should follow their own guidelines and not give them a platform.

    Yes, I know. Your natural reaction is to censor what you disagree with. And to help this along you have contrived a deceptive post that Ophelia, for reasons that escape me, allowed you to publish. But what do you really hope to achieve by getting these blogs removed? Don’t you think they will just crop up somewhere else? Wouldn’t a better response be to start another blog with rebuttals, or refute their arguments in other ways in the media? You make a point about there not being a real free press in Greece. And yet your first instinct, when faced with these Nazi blogs, is to ban them. You might like to consider, that if you want to promote real free speech and a free press in your country, your best first move might not be to censor groups you dislike.

  61. 61
    Ophelia Benson

    Skeptico – come on – this late in the game don’t just repeat the “groups you dislike” euphemism. Genocide isn’t just something one doesn’t like.

  62. 62
    Skeptico

    Ophelia:

    That’s just silly.

    Why? Because you say so? Try being an atheist blogger in Iran then. Or Saudi Arabia. And don’t tell me that religious nuts in this country wouldn’t ban atheist blogs if they could get away with it. Many religious nuts hate atheists and atheism as much as you hate Nazis. To them, this is as valid as your repulsion at Nazis.

    It’s the same kind of understatement as “just because you find them offensive” or “just because you disagree with them.” It’s not about “just because you hate”; it’s about genocide, large and small. Nazism is inseparable from genocide.

    And that scraping noise you hear is the sound of the goalposts being moved again. Read my responses to Inglourious Basterd above. The justification presented was “threats of violence” on these blogs. Of course, now we know there were no threats of violence on these blogs. We need a new reason then. So now it’s because they are about genocide? Really? That’s the reason now? I don’t suppose you can do what Inglourious Basterd never did and cite a blog post that is “about genocide”? No, I know you can’t. You don’t read Greek. And yet you casually give this as a reason to delete 15 blogs.

    Even if Nazism is inseparable from genocide, how are you going to determine what is a Nazi blog that should be banned (unless it writes about genocide, but you know you can’t cite this). What criteria do you apply? Must they write posts blaming immigrants for all their troubles? Is that worthy of banning? Must they deny the holocaust? Have a swastika design on their blog? Have “Nazi” in their name? Do you know that all 15 of the blogs meet these criteria? Have you read them all? Of course you haven’t. Or are you just taking Inglourious Basterd’s word for it? This is the problem when you want to ban something just based on a label, rather than because of any actual threats made. You are starting down a dangerous track. These people just have ideas. That’s all they are. Bad ideas. Ideas that can be shown to be wrong. Banning them just makes martyrs of them and encourages people to think they might be on to something. Our arguments should be based on ideas not labels. We have the facts, logic and evidence on our side. We don’t need to ban blogs unless they make explicit threats of violence (which, as we now know, they don’t).

  63. 63
    Skeptico

    Ophelia:

    It’s a bad idea then. An idea that’s wrong? Repulsive? Is that better? What difference does it make? These are just bad ideas. Bad ideas should be refuted, not banned.

  64. 64
    Skeptico

    Stacy:

    Here, at least, I think there’s been a conflation of wanting a private company to dump a violent and dangerous group with wanting to 1) Prevent that group from saying anything, anywhere and 2) Shut down all blogs (or other avenues of discourse) we happen to disagree with.

    Oh give me a break. You’re claiming you don’t want to shut these blogs down, but just get Blogger to drop them? So you’d be happy just as long as they aren’t on Blogger? Seriously?

    OK, I’ll play. Let’s say Blogger drops them. They then reappear on another blogging platform. What then? Do tell.

    But we’re not discussing a group who’s all talk, here. It seems to me it’s easy to sit here, in the U.S., and wax eloquent about Freedom of Speech, while the group we’re discussing is murdering, inciting murder, and gaining power, in Greece.

    Well banning a few blogs will certainly put an end to that, yessiree. That’ll finish them off. Way to pretend to be doing something while actually doing nothing.

    BTW I note you didn’t answer my earlier question:

    “Please explain how it’s implicit that we’re saying that it’s written that somehow everyone has a right to use Google Blogger.”

    Please either: (a) answer the question or (b) withdraw your implication that we are saying that somehow everyone has a right to use Google Blogger.

  65. 65
    Skeptico

    Jesse M.

    I didn’t mention the 1st amendment, and my comments have nothing to do with it, so saying as you did:

    The supposed absolutists here do not seem to understand that their concept of free speech is different to and incompatible with the concept enshrined by the first amendment.

    …was attacking a straw man.

    That is all beside the point though. Regardless of the definitions employed, if the people saying “free speech” are even coming close to implying that Greek citizens who advocate murder have any kind of legal right or moral right to use and control the private property of American citizens, then their argument is nonsense.

    You really do love beating down your own straw man arguments, don’t you? Who said they have a right to control the private property of American citizens? Not me. Where did I even use the word “right”? (Even allowing for the hyperbole in quoted passage, I seem to have asked this question numerous times and no one has been able to answer it yet.) I am questioning the wisdom of seeking to ban these blogs.

    Anyway, please provide a link to one of the 15 blogs that IG wants banned, that advocates murder.

    Go for it. IG hasn’t been able to do it yet and he/she speaks Greek.

  66. 66
    Ophelia Benson

    Skeptico, I’m not saying the blogs should be banned. I said that somewhere above. I’m not saying they should or they shouldn’t. I wasn’t moving any goalposts because that wasn’t what I was saying, I was addressing the evasive way it was being discussed – all this “just because you don’t like it” “offensive” “bad ideas” nonsense.

    These are just bad ideas. Bad ideas should be refuted, not banned.

    That’s just glib. Some “bad” ideas can’t be refuted in time, because a million people have been killed before they could be refuted.

    There are “bad” ideas but then there are ideas that inspire people to kill other people. There’s no magic that guarantees the latter will always be defeated by better ideas before any harm is done. That doesn’t mean banning is a great idea, but it does mean that “the solution to bad ideas is better ideas” is just a piece of magical thinking, and I wish free speech absolutists would drop it.

  67. 67
    Inglourious Basterd

    Skeptico you fault me for not translating however you seem quite adept at doing the translation from German and also just corroborated what two very reputable English speaking sources I also used said-one of which is Reporters Without Borders. I think we are in agreement that a rational person could read this phrase as well as the random mention in an unusually long 2500 word post full of details about a journalist’s personal life with sexist innuendos and a random mention of the fact that she has a 13 year old daughter as a threat of violence.

    I’m not walking back anything. This is a group that has made a documented recent threat of violence on their official blog. I have not checked the history of their other blogs to see if the same has occurred there but that is beside the point. It’s not like they have made an effort to distance themselves from that and change their behavior. They are the same group and the same anonymous individual is still among their ranks. Under your standard, Google should start allowing AQAP’s Inspire magazine on their platform as long as they don’t send out threats.

    This brings me to another point which you’re also not addressing, namely the multiple references to episodes of immigrants getting beat up by the group’s members as well as the fact that one of their MP’s is on trial for taking part in the stabbing of three immigrants. I say this because you keep telling me that it’s just “ideas”.

    Also, to clarify what it is that you are saying: are we in disagreement that they employ hate speech? Or to put it more directly, do you believe that they are in violation of Blogger’s policy?

    BTW I note you didn’t answer my earlier question:

    “Please explain how it’s implicit that we’re saying that it’s written that somehow everyone has a right to use Google Blogger.”

    Please either: (a) answer the question or (b) withdraw your implication that we are saying that somehow everyone has a right to use Google Blogger.

    My assumption is that by opposing the petition you believe Golden Dawn should stay on Blogger. Since I am of the opinion that they are in violation (not sure where you stand on this at this point), I can only surmise that you think their policy is somehow over-riden by their right to free speech.

  68. 68
    Inglourious Basterd

    Now, Skeptico does bring up what I do think is very good tactical concern which is that if they get shut down maybe that will cause more problems than it solves. I believe this is a valid point which may usually be the case. However this is different and let me explain why:

    The bulk of Golden Dawn’s organizing efforts that where responsible for their huge recent increase in votes is due in my estimation to the use of a few very specific internet marketing vehicles (of which these are a part) that they are getting on the cheap or mostly free. I surmise this from polling that shows young people being their biggest supporters and also by their complete lack of pre-election TV presence. After the May 6 elections, this is no longer the case. Their representatives are being allotted television time which they are duly using to embarrass themselves. If they do not surpass the 3% threshold on new elections on June 17 then they will not get their coveted parliamentary representation.

  69. 69
    Stacy

    OK, I’ll play. Let’s say Blogger drops them. They then reappear on another blogging platform. What then? Do tell

    Depends.

    Does their new blogging platform have a content policy against hate speech?

    If they can’t find one of those, and they keep getting kicked off of free blogs, maybe they’ll have to spend some of their own money to provide a platform for themselves.

    Did you think I personally planned to chase them all over the world? That I think they should be prevented from spewing their shit as long as they’re not acting on it? Show me where I, or anyone on this thread, said anything like that.

    On the other hand, I have absolutely no problem with making things as difficult as possible for them.

    Well banning a few blogs will certainly put an end to that, yessiree. That’ll finish them off.

    Your perfect solution fallacy is showing.

    You do know that the facts that 1) private companies have rules against hate speech, and 2) people actually go to the trouble of enforcing those rules, has the effect of helping to marginalize certain batshit dangerous fuckwitted ideas by sending a message to the larger society that such ideas are unacceptable, and that marginalizing them helps limit their spread, right? Or do you think if the Overton window were pushed to the point that Nazi pundits were getting the Ron Paul slot on talking head shows on MSNBC and FNC that’d be just fine and dandy because, FREE SPEECH!!!eleventy?

    No, of course it won’t “finish them off.”

    I’ll say no more, because I respect Ophelia and wish to comply with her rules.

  70. 70
    Stacy

    If you could show they’re not violating Google’s TOS, I would probably be on your side here, Skeptico. And yes, I’m comfortable putting the burden of proof on your side with this particular group at this particular time. Particulars matter.

    At this point, since I can’t go to the source, as it were–not knowing Greek–and given recent history–Inglourious Basterd’s argument carries more weight with me. This group isn’t just all talk. I’m perfectly happy helping to kick up any legal roadblock in their way that I can.

  71. 71
    Skeptico

    Ophelia

    I’m afraid your position is incoherent. You’re not saying the blogs should be banned. OK then. But you then say that “Bad ideas should be refuted, not banned” is glib. So what do we do with these bad ideas if we don’t want to ban them but can’t refute them? What, exactly, is your position on this subject? Because I really don’t know any more.

    The whole purpose of IB’s post was to get these blogs banned by Blogger. If you’re not in favor of that then I don’t know what we’re arguing about. (I also don’t know why you allowed IB’s post or why you’re defending it.)

    (Oh and let’s not retreat into semantics – the ‘I don’t want them banned, I just want Blogger to follow its own rules’ dodge. If you want Blogger to remove them then you ultimately want them to lose their blogging platform. Let’s have some intellectual honesty.)

    I’d also like your views on IB’s admission that she hasn’t read any of the blogs she wants banned to see if they actually contain any threats, etc. When you criticize another blog or news article, you always cite the source and always quote at least part of the article you are criticizing. (As do I on my blog.) Why is it OK for IB to make wild claims she can’t substantiate?

  72. 72
    Skeptico

    Inglourious Basterd

    I think we are in agreement that a rational person could read this phrase as well as the random mention in an unusually long 2500 word post full of details about a journalist’s personal life with sexist innuendos and a random mention of the fact that she has a 13 year old daughter as a threat of violence.

    (Sigh.) A threat of violence that is not on any of the blogs you want banned. How many times do I have to point this out?

    I’m not walking back anything. This is a group that has made a documented recent threat of violence on their official blog. I have not checked the history of their other blogs to see if the same has occurred there but that is beside the point.

    You haven’t checked any of the blogs you want banned to see if there are any threats on them. Unbelievable. You wrote “Despite repeated terms of service violations” on these blogs, and you ask people to sign a “petition to tell Google’s Board of Directors to shut down the Golden Dawn blogs” and yet you haven’t even checked if the blogs in question have violated the terms of service. And this is “beside the point”? It’s “beside the point” whether they are actually in violation or not? Seriously? Jesus.

    Well, thanks finally for the explicit admission that you don’t know what you are talking about. You have finally lost any shred of credibility that you might have had left on this subject.

    This brings me to another point which you’re also not addressing, namely the multiple references to episodes of immigrants getting beat up by the group’s members as well as the fact that one of their MP’s is on trial for taking part in the stabbing of three immigrants. I say this because you keep telling me that it’s just “ideas”.

    No, I’m saying that blog posts that don’t include direct threats, are just ideas. And since you’ve just admitted that you haven’t read any of the blogs you want banning to see if they contain threats, I think you are the one not addressing the issue.

    Also, to clarify what it is that you are saying: are we in disagreement that they employ hate speech? Or to put it more directly, do you believe that they are in violation of Blogger’s policy?

    I don’t know. But more to the point, by your own admission, neither do you.

    Actually, I just spent a while reading the first blog on your list: http://www.xryshaygh.in/. With the aid of Google translate (which isn’t perfect obviously, but I doubt that it would completely miss any death threats), and I haven’t yet found anything that remotely resembles hate speech. You wouldn’t know that, of course, not having read them. But so far, I don’t see anything that would violate the policy. But I’m not responsible for proving a universal negative. The burden of proof is upon you to support your claim that they re in violation. And we know you can’t do that.

    My assumption is that by opposing the petition you believe Golden Dawn should stay on Blogger. Since I am of the opinion that they are in violation (not sure where you stand on this at this point), I can only surmise that you think their policy is somehow over-riden by their right to free speech

    No, Google has the right to enforce its own rules. I’m questioning the wisdom of trying to get blogs banned.

    IG, I’m done replying to you. I don’t know how familiar you are with skeptical or critical thinking blogs, but we’re pretty big on providing evidence for our claims. Not only have you not provided evidence, but you have admitted that you don’t even know if the blogs are in violation, and (and this is the truly mind blowing piece) you don’t even think this matters! I am virtually at a loss for words to describe how profoundly stupid your argument is. I’m willing to debate anyone who has claims I might disagree with, or even with people who do not have evidence for their claims, but I’m really not going to waste any more time debating someone who doesn’t know or even care if her argument is correct or not. Good luck getting Google to suspend these blogs. And by “good luck” I mean that you will need luck, because you don’t have any facts or evidence.

  73. 73
    Skeptico

    Stacy:

    Does their new blogging platform have a content policy against hate speech?

    If they can’t find one of those, and they keep getting kicked off of free blogs, maybe they’ll have to spend some of their own money to provide a platform for themselves.

    So the objective is to get them to spend money on their blogging platform, instead of getting it for free? Seriously? Pretty weak, don’t you think?

    If you could show they’re not violating Google’s TOS, I would probably be on your side here, Skeptico. And yes, I’m comfortable putting the burden of proof on your side with this particular group at this particular time.

    Oh please – wrong. The burden of proof is always upon the one making the claim. Specifically, that the blogs contain threats of violence (or they violate some other rule). You don’t get to redefine the rules of logic just because you’re losing an argument.

    At this point, since I can’t go to the source, as it were–not knowing Greek–and given recent history–Inglourious Basterd’s argument carries more weight with me.

    Really? You’re going to pull an argument from authority based on someone who has just admitted that she hasn’t read any of the blogs she wants banned? You’re really willing to trust the authority of someone who has admitted that she hasn’t even read any of the blogs listed in the petition, and doesn’t even think this matters?

    Anyway, you can go to the source. Go here: http://www.xryshaygh.in/. Use Google Translate – go find an example of hate speech / incitement to violence. Report back. Or continue to be a sheep and blindly believe anything you’re told.

  74. 74
    Inglourious Basterd

    I’d also like your views on IB’s admission that she hasn’t read any of the blogs she wants banned to see if they actually contain any threats, etc.

    Wrong. I said I have not read all of the content. Big difference.

  75. 75
    Ophelia Benson

    Skeptico

    I’m afraid your position is incoherent. You’re not saying the blogs should be banned. OK then. But you then say that “Bad ideas should be refuted, not banned” is glib. So what do we do with these bad ideas if we don’t want to ban them but can’t refute them? What, exactly, is your position on this subject? Because I really don’t know any more.

    No my position isn’t incoherent. I don’t have to choose one of only two options in order to have a coherent position.

    My position is that it depends, and that there are problems no matter what we do. The fact that I’m not saying the blogs should be banned doesn’t mean I’m saying that no bad ideas should ever be shut down no matter what. That means it makes sense to say it’s glib to say “Bad ideas should be refuted, not banned.” It was a bad idea to kill all the Tutsis, and there wasn’t time to refute the idea – and the outcome was not good.

    I think you’re being too “coherent” by half.

  76. 76
    Skeptico

    IB:

    Wrong. I said I have not read all of the content. Big difference.

    Changing your story again? You wrote:

    I have not checked the history of their other blogs to see if the same has occurred there but that is beside the point.

    Nothing about read some but not all. Regardless, you can’t show one example of hate speech on a current blog, so you’re done. Which I’ sure is exactly what Google will tell you when you present them with your petition.

  77. 77
    Steven Bollinger

    Ophelia to Skeptico:

    “I think you’re being too ‘coherent’ by half.”

    Too something, certainly. Too wedded to an ideal. Ideals are often much more simple and clear-cut than reality. Skeptico says he’s for free speech. Like many ideals and clichees, this sounds great until you inspect it more closely.

    Libertarians say that they are in favor of freedom, period. Sounds great at first. Who’s against freedom? But typically the freedom libertarians are in favor of amounts to things like the freedom for industrialists to refuse to hire union workers, and to pollute more, and things like that. So that greater freedom for one industrialist to do as he or she damn well pleases, God bless freedom! results in less economic freedom for many workers, and less freedom from disease for many more people. Hm, seems like maybe freedom isn’t such a simple issue.

    Here we’ve got the freedom of some Nazis to spew their madness, directly opposed to the freedom of immigrants to live in peace, journalists to say the truth, authors to write bi-lingual dictionaries, publishers to publish them, readers to read them, and many other people besides. Freedom of speech is clashing with freedom from fear, freedom from violent xenophobia. As Inglourious Basterd pointed out above in the case of a journalist being threatened, these Nazis are against freedom of expression. If a young child is blown up in his or her apartment, then potential decades of his or her free speech are destroyed. It’s a big messy inter-related word if you step back from your ideals and look around at the material 3-D stuff.

    Just as in the discussion of another Butterflies & Wheels post, having to do with vaccines and certain widespread irrational unscientific fears of them, we’ve got an individual’s freedom to follow irrational and unscientific advice concerning the treatment of his or her own body versus the general public’s longing to live free of plague.

    No-brainers in both cases, imho, as to which side actually represents the greatest freedom. The non-idealists confronting the Nazis, and the scientists combating disease.

  78. 78
    Skeptico

    No my position isn’t incoherent. I don’t have to choose one of only two options in order to have a coherent position.

    What third option is there then? IB’s post only offers one. Do you not agree with her position that these blogs should be closed?

    My position is that it depends, and that there are problems no matter what we do. The fact that I’m not saying the blogs should be banned doesn’t mean I’m saying that no bad ideas should ever be shut down no matter what. That means it makes sense to say it’s glib to say “Bad ideas should be refuted, not banned.”

    Yes, but what is your view in this case? Do you think these blogs should be shut down?

    It was a bad idea to kill all the Tutsis, and there wasn’t time to refute the idea – and the outcome was not good.

    Well, since I have already said that blogs containing direct threats of violence should be closed, I fail to see the relevance

    I think you’re being too “coherent” by half.

    That sentence is incoherent.

  79. 79
    Skeptico

    I’ve been reading some of these “Nazi blogs” that supposedly promote hate speech. Translated with Google translate which is pretty clumpy, but you get the gist.

    For example, #1 on the list:

    http://www.xryshaygh.in/

    I found nothing that is hate speech

    #5 on the list – since its title had “white women” in its name, I thought it might be racist:

    http://whitewomenfront.blogspot.com/

    I found nothing that is hate speech

    #2 on the list since it had “resistance” in its name, I thought it might be more militant:

    http://resistance-hellas.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2012-01-27T22:02:00%2B02:00&max-results=7

    Mainly conspiracy nut stuff. Here’s an example of some of the worst I could find:

    The People’s Nationalism stands neglected Values ​​of Honor, Duty, of ethics, Blood, discipline, strength of will for life and self-improvement and the end of the heroic lifestyle. All this, which lead to virtue and perfection, so that there are civilized people, gentle with idealistic purposes, beyond the search for material goods as set forth political theories of bourgeois democracy, liberalism, Marxism and capitalism, in which ultimately are creations of the Jews, who incite the New World Order.

    This is about the worst I have been able to find anywhere – ie blames the Jews for something. I’m sure you can find much worse on many US based websites.

    Last but one one on the list:

    http://xa-kriti.blogspot.com/

    Complains about political party Syriza:

    These are the positions of SYRIZA for illegal immigrants, drugs, gays and military service.

    […]

    The abolition of all restrictions on access to public institutions and Health Education. (For free health and education to illegal immigrants for free as the Greeks (who pay through their contributions for decades!) Today, after a broad international dialogue, it is commonplace that we should abolish the prosecution’s use of addictive substances (legal or pinch and mastoura, but hard drugs!) with safeguards to combat the trade.

    […]

    Free sexual selection, without fear and shame is a human right that must be guaranteed by the state without discrimination on the living and the conclusion of civil marriage or civil partnership.

    They sound about like many Republicans.

    These are the blogs that Blogger should suspend?

    Ophelia, did you check any of these before you allowed IB’s post? Aren’t you embarrassed that you have allowed your blog to support a hysterical call to ban blogs that are little more than childish conspiracy and wing nut sources?

    Regardless, I have now done as much work as I am prepared to do to try to prove a universal negative. (And, I’m guessing, a lot more than anyone else reading this.) I somehow doubt that Google is going to ban any of these, based on what I’ve read. This petition is pathetic. You should be ashamed.

  80. 80
    Stacy

    So the objective is to get them to spend money on their blogging platform, instead of getting it for free? Seriously?

    No. The tactic is to get them to spend money. The objective is to register disapproval and make things difficult for them.

    Oh please – wrong. The burden of proof is always upon the one making the claim.

    You do realize that the evidential standards are determined by context? We know that Golden Dawn commits and incites violence, and we know that Golden Dawn published threats to a journalist on its other blog. Knowing that, I chose IB’s report over absolutist free speech rhetoric like yours.

    Let’s see if I was right, shall we?

    Report back.

    Okey doke:

    Whatever anarchoaplytoi to do, we chose the people you and not anti-Greek Breeds of dirt.

    Immediate arrest and deportation of all illegal immigrants. Sui generis offense is whatever a foreigner. Penalties will not be served in prisons but in specialized detention facilities, which will also produce work for the government.

    Breeds of dirt. Concentration camps.

    Took me a few minutes to find those.

  81. 81
    Stacy

    The objective is to register disapproval and make things difficult for them

    I should have added, …and send the message your ideas are rejected by civilized society.

  82. 82
    Inglourious Basterd

    Skeptico, to be clear: we are talking about Nazi blogs and you are asking for a specific example of a post that contains hate speech? I am not aware of any Nazi organizations that don’t use hate speech so I would have thought this is kind of redundant. If I do provide some examples how will this change your mind?

    On a separate note, this is now the second time that you are making what seem to be snide and presumptuous remarks against me that I really don’t appreciate and frankly I don’t believe my attitude towards you or anyone else on this thread warrants. I do know that the principle of charity is well-respected among skeptics and your comments appear to fall short of this.

    1) Your comment about “I don’t know how familiar you are with skeptical or critical thinking blogs, but we’re pretty big on providing evidence for our claims.”

    2) Your jumping to the conclusion that I have never read the blogs in the petition. Where you really under the impression that I would go to the trouble of composing an entire original blog post with sources and go back and forth in comments providing multiple links to more sources but somehow not read the very blogs I want removed?

  83. 83
    Inglourious Basterd

    Let the record reflect that Skeptico’s comment #79 just showed up for me right now (probably caught in moderation) so I’ll assume Skeptico hadn’t read my comment #82 when #79 was written.

    Will wait for Skeptico’s response to my questions and comments before responding further to him/her.

  84. 84
    Ophelia Benson

    Skeptico, no, I am not embarrassed.

  85. 85
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh – yes, #79 was in mod because of links, and I was away throwing a tennis ball for a dog.

  86. 86
    Skeptico

    Steven Bollinger

    Libertarians say that they are in favor of freedom, period. Sounds great at first. Who’s against freedom? But typically the freedom libertarians are in favor of amounts to things like the freedom for industrialists to refuse to hire union workers, and to pollute more, and things like that. [Snipped for brevity]

    You’re conflating the word “freedom” as in freedom of speech with the Orwellian version of “freedom” that Libertarians/tea party people use. Nice try at guilt by association. Unfortunately for you I’m not a Libertarian or a Tea Partier, so your smear attempt fails. BTW your argument is the fallacy known as equivocation.

    Here we’ve got the freedom of some Nazis to spew their madness,

    Well, that is one of the penalties for living in a (relatively) free society.

    [Snip] As Inglourious Basterd pointed out above in the case of a journalist being threatened, these Nazis are against freedom of expression.

    Yes I know they are. So what? We should be better. I don’t think that’s the bar we should set ourselves – no worse than the Nazis on free speech.

    If a young child is blown up in his or her apartment, then potential decades of his or her free speech are destroyed. It’s a big messy inter-related word if you step back from your ideals and look around at the material 3-D stuff.

    And now the dramatic appeal to emotion. “a young child is blown up in his or her apartment…” – except you have not shown a connection between this and any of these blogs (as I asked a few days ago). So you fail. Again.

    Just as in the discussion of another Butterflies & Wheels post, having to do with vaccines and certain widespread irrational unscientific fears of them, we’ve got an individual’s freedom to follow irrational and unscientific advice concerning the treatment of his or her own body versus the general public’s longing to live free of plague.

    Yes, the anti-vaccine analogy is apt, but not in the way you think. It is you who is using the tactics of the anti-vaccine loons, not me. You are the one who came out immediately with the insults, you are the one smearing your opponent by association, you are the one with the emotional appeals unconnected to reality. You are the woo here, not me.

  87. 87
    Skeptico

    IB:

    Your post makes no sense. I have asked you for direct links to the threats of violence, in the blogs you want banned, many times now, and you still do not provide them. Even now. And surely you must have these links. And yet you don’t. Instead you have time to write a whiny post about how I’m being mean and not treating you fairly etc etc – if you’d just used that time to post the links that you say you have anyway then you would have proved your point and we could move on. I honestly have no idea why you don’t simply post a couple of links to some threats of violence in the blogs you want banned. Unless they don’t exist.

    I didn’t jump to the conclusion that you never read the blogs in the petition. You wrote yourself that you hadn’t bothered to check most of them. And I am sorry but you most certainly did not compose an entire original blog post with sources. You have not provided one single source to a current blog. Either in the original post or in the comments. It baffles me that you think you have. To reiterate, you posted links to a news article talking about violence (but not violent threats in and blogs), and a link to the text of a blog that does not exist any more.

    No matter. You’ve had more than enough opportunity to support your claim. I’m done with this discussion now.

  88. 88
    Skeptico

    Stacy

    You do realize that the evidential standards are determined by context? We know that Golden Dawn commits and incites violence, and we know that Golden Dawn published threats to a journalist on its other blog. Knowing that, I chose IB’s report over absolutist free speech rhetoric like yours.

    I know that you do, but it’s still fallacious. You are expecting me to prove a universal negative. To do that I would have to quote every post in all of the 15 blogs, in full, paragraph by paragraph going “no death threats in that paragraph” each time. Absurd. That’s why the burden of proof is with the one making the positive claim.

    Speaking of which, you actually read some of those blog posts and posted a section of one. Congratulations – you did what no one else including IB has done – you have posted a citation to an actual blog post. Well actually only half done, since for some reason there is still no link. Why not? Never mind, I’ll accept it at face value. Let’s examine:

    Whatever anarchoaplytoi to do, we chose the people you and not anti-Greek Breeds of dirt.

    Nasty, racist language, no doubt. No threats of violence though.

    Immediate arrest and deportation of all illegal immigrants. Sui generis offense is whatever a foreigner.

    That’s pretty much standard Republican party talk. I believe Arizona even has a law on its books to that effect. Not a threat of violence and nothing illegal.

    Penalties will not be served in prisons but in specialized detention facilities, which will also produce work for the government.

    Strangely, this conflicts with the previous sentence. Do they want to deport foreigners “immediately” or imprison them? Anyway, still not an actual threat of violence like ‘lets meet at _____ street at 8pm and beat up some foreigners. Not even intimidation like publishing someone’s home address, or a google map picture of their house. Just ranting – something the poster clearly has no ability to do. No worse than a certain pastor in the US saying that gay people should be rounded up and put behind an electric fence until they die off, and even saying that is (presumably) not illegal in the US. But OK, I’ll be generous and say that this is over the line. Well done – you found some hate speech. I spent about an hour and a half reading 4 of the 15 blogs yesterday and didn’t find anything even remotely like that. Which leads me to say that the correct approach would be to tell them (ie get google to tell them) to remove the offending post(s) or the blog will be shut down. Give them, I don’t know, 24 hours. 48 hours. Blog hosts have done that sort of thing before.

    But I realize you prefer to just shut them all down regardless, even blogs that don’t contain the kind of language that you found. I just disagree that this is the best way to handle it. At this point I’m happy to leave it at that and let anyone reading this far in the comment thread make up their own minds. I’m done.

  89. 89
    Skeptico

    BTW thanks Ophelia for allowing this discussion and for keeping it mostly civil.

  90. 90
    Stacy

    Well done – you found some hate speech. I spent about an hour and a half reading 4 of the 15 blogs yesterday and didn’t find anything even remotely like that.

    Funny. It took me inside of ten minutes to find that.

    Ah, well. You finally acknowledged it, at least, after claiming you couldn’t find any, no, no hate speech at all. And despite your attempt to shift the goalposts here:

    Nasty, racist language, no doubt. No threats of violence though

    after this:

    go find an example of hate speech / incitement to violence.

    Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, does it, how long it takes to find the hate speech on Golden Dawn’s blog?

    Google has a policy against hate speech. Here’s their policy:

    http://www.blogger.com/content.g

    That link also lays out their response to violations.

    People have legally petitioned Google to enforce their terms of service against a blog that violates their terms of service. A blog by a group that is actually violent.

    This petition is not a threat to Western civilization and its ideals of Freedom of Speech.

    Whether or not Golden Dawn is, remains to be seen.

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