Have you guys run across this little post at antiwar.com?
– because we have a page showing the Abu Ghraib abuses.
Update: After channels of communication were opened as a result of this article on Gawker, Google contacted us and said they would be restoring our ads.
However, Friday morning I received another demand to remove content from our site. Google has decided this page must be removed.
We have no intention of letting Google dictate our editorial policies.
On 3/18/15 we received a note from Google Adsense informing us that all ads for our site had been disabled. Why? Because of this page showing the horrific abuses committed by U.S. troops in Iraq at Abu Ghraib.
This page has been up for 11 years. During all that time Google Adsense has been running ads on our site – but as Washington gets ready to re-invade Iraq, and in bombing, killing, and abusing more civilians, they suddenly decide that their “anti-violence” policy, which prohibits “disturbing material,” prohibits any depiction of violence committed by the U.S. government and paid for with your tax dollars. This page is the third-most-visited page in our history, getting over 2 million page views since it was posted.
To say this is an utter outrage would be an understatement: it is quite simply the kind of situation one might expect to encounter in an authoritarian country where state-owned or state-connected companies routinely censor material that displeases the government.
Is Google now an arm of the U.S. State Department?
This is the first time I have heard of Google using its monopolistic advertising position to “reverse censor” this way, but it doesn’t come as a surprise. Usually we hear about how Google manipulates search results for commercial gains (see e.g. this or this) or to remove politically sensitive materials (see e.g. this or this or this or this or this). Over the past few years, many have also finally woken up to how dangerous gatekeeper companies like Google truly are .
With this latest hoopla with anitwar.com now, plus the trends toward ever increasing comprehensive surveillance throughout the West (see e.g. this or this), can anyone really say there is a “Free” Internet?
Much have been made of China’s Great Firewall in the past … as if there is really a “Free” Internet and a “Dark” Internet. But as I have always maintained: walls such as China’s are not so much about keeping free information out, but about keeping separate gardens or ecosystems of information – about preserving autonomy, freedom, and sovereignty from Western voracious appetite to colonize the world’s information on its term.
I wish there would be more walls. This would mean that there would be more diversity of information platforms (i.e. walls are designed to resist the use of market powers to dictate universal information standards). One may lament how each platform is censored, but the truth is that all platforms must be censored (if you think there is a real free platform, you are blind; just like there is no real communism, there is no real freedom, just politics; if you feel there is something that’s really “free,” it’s “free” only because you are obtuse to its subversion). The more walls the merrier because there would be more diverse gardens of information. That to me is much better than any one de facto world platform. As more people realizes it, the Dark Age of Internet may finally be coming to an end….