This is an article about censorship – particularly, in this latest instance, involving (unfortunately) the very platform I am publishing on right now: and whether it will continue to be as safe or as accomodating a space for blogs like this one as it has been until now.

But first, I’m putting up this notification – because I suspect there’s a real chance this website/blog could get taken down at any time.

I’m creating a back-up blog of all of this site’s archived content. I’ll explain why in the article below. But should The Burning Blogger of Bedlam be swept up in a censorship purge that appears to be occurring, I will activate the other site and begin publishing my current/future articles over there, at least as a temporary solution to what is – presumably – going to be an ongoing problem.

So any readers, subscribers or friends who want to continue with me – or continue following my articles – will have to go that site and subscribe over there in the event of *this site* disappearing.

However, I can’t make that site ‘active’ yet – because it’ll create duplicated-content problems while this WordPress site is still running. So that site will not be going live until it becomes necessary (i.e: if or when this site goes down).

Should this website suddenly cease to exist, the new (temporary) site will be under the name ‘Bedlam is Burning’: copy this link and keep it somewhere – ‘bedlamisburning.blogspot.com’ (https://bedlamisburning.blogspot.com/).

That site isn’t active yet – so it’s an empty link at the moment. The reason I’m notifying everyone here and now is simply because – as several other bloggers have recently discovered – your site can disappear in an instant, leaving you no time to communicate with your readers or subscribers.

Also that site-title may change, so it might also work to just type ‘Bedlam is Burning’ or even ‘Burning Blogger of Bedlam’ into a search-engine.

 


Why am I taking this measure? Well, because it’s looking like a censorship purge is happening: and right now it is difficult to tell how widespread that purge might end up being or how much it might expand in the future.


 

Yes, even WordPress – that last bastion of free speech when it comes to big platforms – appears to have been unceremoniously taking down a number of blogs: and these all appear to be blogs in the ‘conspiracy theory’ realm.

I’ve never actually considered this site a ‘conspiracy theory’ site (and also half of the content in my overall archive is about music, film, history or even comic books): but that won’t necessarily protect me if – or when – someone includes me on the delete list.

My first alarm bell was when ‘Jay’s Analysis’ – a very popular blog – went offline and never reappeared a few weeks ago. My second alarm bell was about a week and a half ago when I first read about certain other take-downs. And my third alarm bell was discovering that the Willy Loman blog – or ‘American Everyman‘ – had been ‘disappeared’ all of a sudden.

From Tech Crunch, a fortnight ago: ‘WordPress.com has taken down a handful of blogs, according to several complaints from affected blog owners and readers who claim the sites were removed from WordPress.com, despite not being in violation of the company’s Terms of Service. Some site owners also said they were not notified of the shutdown in advance and have lost their work…

These removals, it is reported, were due to a new policy that forbids bloggers from publishing “unauthorised, identifying images of minors”.

However, all of the sites taken down also appear to fall into the nebulous category of ‘conspiracy theorist’ blogs. From what I can tell, these take-downs have all centered – in this instance – on ‘Sandy Hook’ related content.

One of the latest of these blogs to be unceremoniously deleted from existence is, as I said, the ‘American Everyman‘ blog. This is a quality blog I have been following for years: however, it is no longer there.

Fellow W/P blogger, Wall of Controversy, wrote up a shocked piece a couple of days ago on this subject of American Everyman vanishing from WordPress. ‘The internet purge has begun in earnest — the last days of American Everyman’, he writes, warning that ‘his site is just one of a number of relatively small sites that WordPress has recently taken down, and doubtless this purge is set to continue…’

Wall of Controversy is right to question, as he does in the piece, whether his site could be next too.

 


That’s kind of the point: any W/P blogger who’s paying attention is going to feel uneasy. What’s the line and how can you be sure if you’ve crossed it or not? What could be an offense and what would be okay?


 

A fortnight or so ago, it was ‘Fellowship of the Minds’. The link between American Everyman and Fellowship of the Minds is clearly that they both feature a lot of content on false-flags and conspiracies, and also probably that they both had content on Sandy Hook.

I can’t remember for certain if American Everyman did have any “unauthorised, identifying images of minors”: but given how vast his archive of content was, he probably did have some pieces on Sandy Hook. Fellowship of the Minds – an extreme right-wing blog, unlike American Everyman – definitely did have Sandy Hook stuff up. The Sandy Hook controversy is also a main catalyst for why Alex Jones has been in a lot of trouble – so the best advice for now seems to be to stay clear of Sandy Hook entirely.

For the moment, Sandy Hook seems to be the catalyst: but that could presumably change or expand to other things at any time.

I’ve never covered Sandy Hook – just like I’ve never touched ‘Pizza Gate’ or any number of other popular subjects. But I’m probably justified in suspecting my blog/website could be targeted at any stage.

In laying out the justification for the take-downs, Tech Crunch notes (and the bold text is my highlighting): ‘While some of the affected sites – which include some extreme right blogs and those floating conspiracy theories – had already been flagged for other violations, many were hosting Sandy Hook conspiracy theories and other “false flag” content…’

Well, I’m clearly not extreme right or even mild right (or any kind of right) – but if “floating conspiracy theories” and “other false flag content” is a potential offense worthy of a take-down, then it might only be a matter of time before I wake up one day and find my site (with its archive of articles on false-flag terrorism) completely missing.

And so might anyone else who ever explores those subjects. Or at least that’s the implication.

Note that Scott Creighton, who wrote the American Everyman site, received NO notification from WordPress that his site was being removed, received no explanation for it, and was presumably therefore given no option or chance to retrieve his content before the site was terminated. And yet, as he says, he was in violation of NO WordPress terms.

After a number of years of building up an archive, building up a readership and a community, his site was just suddenly gone.

On American Everyman in particular, the same Tech Crunch article notes; ‘his site hosted 9/11 “truther” content and claimed that Sandy Hook was a staged event. These are generally repugnant points of view to a large swath of people,’; but the same article adds ‘but he’s correct in saying they weren’t views that WordPress.com had prohibited…’

Surely, if WordPress was updating its terms or policies in this regard, it could’ve sent out a warning or update to users/bloggers?

At the very least, shouldn’t Scott have been notified in advance?

Or couldn’t he have been asked to *remove* the specific content, images or articles that were deemed to be an offense?

Apparently not.

 


 

Why has this started to happen?

It seems to have been pushed by the New York Times, which published an article on the 13th of this month (a few days before the FotM take- down), in which it specifically condemned WordPress and Automattic for allowing ‘conspiracy theorists’ to keep their content on its platform.

Again, specifically they were focusing on the Sandy Hook business; but of course there is a broader implication beyond just that specific subject. The piece, titled ‘This Company Keeps Lies About Sandy Hook on the Web’, went out of its way to demonise WordPress/Automattic for its lack of censorship.

Almost without doubt, WordPress/Automattic felt pressured into doing something – probably against its own better judgement, as WordPress has otherwise for years been a bastion of free speech and a staunch defender of its users’ rights.

Presumably – and I’m just guessing – some kind of broad search for Sandy Hook related content on WordPress was carried out and a bunch of blogs that had any offending material in its archives were summarily removed (even if the vast majority of those content archives were otherwise not related to that subject).

That’s Sandy Hook today. Tomorrow it could be something else – 9/11 perhaps. Because it seems odd to me that Sandy Hook would be the only issue – and that other conspiracy claims about other events will go unpenalised.

Hell, the way this pantomime with Jeremy Corbyn is going in the UK, sooner or later it could be something as simple as using certain words in any way perceived to be derogotary (that political idealogy, for example, that begins with the letter ‘Z’ seems to be a hot topic now bordering on a taboo).

The fact now is simply that WordPress has opened the door to being pressured by external parties (often with vested interests) into taking down any content or content-producer who someone deems to have been offensive or responsible for ‘fake news’.

Perhaps they can close that door again. Perhaps they won’t go crazy with indiscriminate purges of sites or authors. But in taking down these sites – especially something like ‘American Everyman’ – in so uncommunicative a manner, WordPress/Automattic without doubt will have lost the trust of many of its users.

Sarah Gooding examined this fast-developing subject a couple of weeks ago at WP Tavern, arguing that the new/updated policy (which was not forwarded to WordPress bloggers or users, but quietly altered) allowed WordPress/Automattic to engage in censorship in a way that could be passed off as something other than censorship.

She wrote; ‘Without the new privacy policy in place, removal of a site based on offensive material constitutes censorship. Automattic had already determined that the post using the child’s image, while distasteful and offensive, was fair use for the material. The image had likely already been used thousands of times by news organizations with a different narrative attached to it that is more in alignment with the majority’s view of the tragedy…

She continued, ‘As it is a private company, Automattic’s terms of service do not have to reflect the full freedom of speech allowed by the law. However, the company has always upheld its reputation in the past as an uncompromising defender of its users when presented with requests for censorship.’

She is right too that WordPress has always been a defender of its users’ right to produce whatever content they wanted to.

I’ve always respected WordPress a great deal: and trusted it as a platform, which is one of the reasons I chose it in the beginning. It has always seemed like a proper ‘safe space’ for honest discussion, debate, true non-compromised journalism, diversity of opinion and perspective.

And yes, that sometimes includes or means some very fringe or extreme stuff – but that’s human life. Human life has fringes and extremes.

It is doing its image and reputation a lot of damage right now: and I hope that – as unlikely as it is – someone high up in the WP/Automattic decision-making realms is actually reading this and is reminded of the value of the platform being trusted by its users.

WordPress, for me anyway, has always been a great home – and I would feel better about the situation if I could think that the platform might choose to care more about its users and its oft-stated principles than about what some overpaid hack is saying over at the New York Times.

 


 

Anyway, to recap: should you be looking for ‘The Burning Blogger of Bedlam’ one day and find that “this page no longer exists”, use the other web-address I’ve provided here to find my relocated blog.

Or if the specific address doesn’t work (it might change between now and then), try typing ‘Bedlam is Burning’ or even ‘Burning Blogger of Bedlam’ into a search-engine and something should come up.

No fucking way do I want to randomly find one afternoon that seven years of work has simply been deleted – without any notification or explanation. Read WoC‘s article on the ‘American Everyman’ take-down to see some of how Scott Creighton reacted to his site’s deletion: years’ worth of work suddenly removed, without any advance warning and without any real right of reply.

If this website doesn’t get ‘disappeared’ any time soon, then I guess it’s business as usual and I’ll (probably) keep posting here. To be honest, another reason I’m not activating the other site preemptively is because it’s just too much work that I don’t have time for right now – to re-format and reorganise that much content is just not something I have energy for right now.

It would only be a temporary solution anyway – as I’m sure Blogger/Blogspot (owned by Google) will simply conduct its own purges (and it is actually less trusted than WordPress anyway) – but it’s just a brief emergency measure until I can work out a better, longer-term plan.

Also, as I’m sure Scott Creighton would attest, even relocating a blog is only a partially effective measure – as you’ll inevitably lose a ton of subscribers and readers and will have to start over again, as well as lose all of the intricate modifications, formatting and customisation I’ve fine-tuned over seven years. I’ll also lose a lot of the inter-connectedness I’ve forged with other WordPress users and/or fellow bloggers, whereby our respective blogs are basically interactive.

It takes a lot of time to establish a reasonably ‘successful’ blog: it takes some years to build up readership, reputation, rapport, and all of that other stuff. It isn’t something you can just magically reproduce.

I would advise other W/P authors/bloggers to also back-up their content asap: unless you blog mostly just about kittens and puppies, in which case you’re probably fine.

I want to finish again with Sarah Gooding’s article from a couple of weeks ago at WP Tavern, because some of what she wrote is exactly right.

She criticises the external influences who forced WordPress’s hand: ‘Calling out a free speech platform like WordPress.com, without any distinction for its vital role in enabling journalists across the globe, is a coercive attempt to exact a desired result. What WordPress.com has done is groundbreaking in democratizing publishing and enabling bloggers to break news on their own sites…’

She continues, ‘The New York Times raking WordPress.com over the coals for its refusal to censor its users is an egregious double standard. A publication cannot call for free speech for itself while eating up the rights of everyone else they don’t agree with. Principles aren’t principles if they only serve you when they are convenient… Forcing the censorship of offensive speech may feel like swift justice in the short term, but it weakens the fabric of a free society…’

I still respect WordPress a great deal: and believe that the platform had to be coerced into taking the actions it recently took.

But give it a while longer and I’m not sure there’ll be anywhere left on the Internet that hasn’t been massively censored and brought under control. Years from now, I wonder if typing something like ‘9/11 theories’ into a search-engine will yield *anything* other than the official, government-approved version of events.

In the meantime, I’ll continue publishing articles here anyway. But it’s difficult to do it comfortably or enthusiastically anymore when you sense the Sword of Damocles might be poised over your head.

 

 

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Comments
  1. John Hawk says:

    Well, we all know who is behind this censorship pogrom, don’t we? The term ‘conspiracy theory’ was introduced in 1967 by the CIA to challenge any historian/investigative journalist/researcher who questioned the establishment’s narrative of the JFK et al hits. I am a student of history, and when you study history first and foremost you are studying how humans act, speak, and think. Gee, and don’t you think that in the study of history you just might find some well-documented ‘conspiracies’? Even Black’s Law Dictionary has what I consider to be the best definition of ‘conspiracy’. ‘Facts ma’am, just the facts’. Fascists always freak out when the population begins to wake-up and smell the real shitzky. They get uber-paranoid when more and more common citizens call them out about their palpably ‘conspiratorial’ behavior. …and they get violent!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yep its defo happening except tae the nonce sites like Hoxstead…funny that

    Like

  3. […] Posted: August 28, 2018 in (All Things) CULTURE, Uncategorized Tags: Alternative Media Purge, American Everyman blog, Bedlam is Burning, Blogs being removed, Censorship, Internet censorship, Internet Purge, Willy Loman blog, WordPress 1 […]

    Like

  4. Brian Law says:

    Copied! Thanks for the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. billiamsbloggmailcom says:

    Please add me to http://bedlamisburning.blogspot.com/ notifications if you are forced to activate it.

    Like

  6. This sets a dreadful precedent and all sorts of pretexts can now be used to shut down the internet – the ones you highlight are likely to come sooner, but “fake news” of all kinds is being cracked down on and this has no foreseeable end. Like you, I suspect WP is only following orders, and likewise I encourage them to review this policy. Meanwhile, your backup plan is an admirable response – indeed I may come asking for advice on doing the same thing (hopefully not).

    Liked by 2 people

  7. William Grosh says:

    You might want to host your site on your own domain, using the free WordPress software. It would cost a bit for hosting and email service, but WP.com wouldn’t be able to touch your material, and you might be able to transfer your content over with little or no reformatting. Do it before they pull your WP site down, so you can link to the new site, and email your subscribers to switch over.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. larryzb says:

    Just read a piece by another blogger about Facebook losing nearly half of its monthly traffic since 2016 due to its censorship, especially directed at conservatives and those critical of Israel. Hopefully, WP management is paying attention. Yes, WP is a private company, but if it censors too much, it will see its bottom line shrink considerably.

    When you think about it, this day had to come, sorry to say. The Internet was allowing too much free flow of information, analysis and opinions. The elites must control information to keep their firm grip on power. YouTube has really banned and limited videos in the past several months. Search algorithms on Google seem also to have been altered in the past year or so. Much content will either be shut down or extremely difficult to find online.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sha'Tara says:

    Want a comment from “crazy la-la land”? We desperately need to reactivate our ability to communicate telepathically? Did we ever in the past? There is information that says we had that ability but it was “censored” from our minds.

    Like

  10. Reblogged this on CanadianWildflower and commented:
    Worth the whole read. But I guess all of us must keep on blogging while we can, and hope enough people will be awakened before it happens. If WP can be bullied and coerced into censoring their users without notice, none of us are safe!

    Like

  11. Copied the Link.

    They probably will go after Blogs like yours who tell us the realities of the war crimes in the M.E.

    They try to Slander Vanessa Beeley, and Eva Bartlet..They hate us being told the truth.

    Facebook are up to their neck in it too..

    from Craig Murray – 28 Aug, 2018

    Facebook Censorship, Mad Ben Nimmo and the Atlantic Council

    ” Facebook has deleted all of my posts from July 2017 to last week because I am, apparently, a Russian Bot.”

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/08/facebook-censorship-mad-ben-nimmo-and-the-atlantic-council/

    Also the BBC are at it too, in getting Youtube to close The Scottish Indepence supporting sites ‘ Wings Over Scotland ‘ And Peter Currans blog.. ( since Replaced )

    I hope you are Ok with this blog, All the best

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mountain Voyager, where has your blog gone? I just looked for it and it’s not there.

      Like

      • BrianFujisan says:

        Hi BBoB

        I don’t run a blog, was thinking I might get one up though.

        I read a lot of alternative sites, there are some very good ones around, I have been a regular commenter at Craig Murry’s blog, and have met craig many times, and also some of the other comment, regulars, They run probably the most peacful music festival, ( Doune the Rabbit Hole )

        I comment on an off shoot blog too, where it’s less serious, Less politics, More science, weather, music ect
        i’t not a very busy blog – like Craigs – it’s called ‘ Squonk tk ‘

        I am an activist too. we were over at the big international Anti nukes rally last Saturdy at Faslane on the Clyde..My river, And been to many Support palestine protests, even got amy photo taken with Norman Finlestein at a Conference in Glasgow.

        Thank you for the work you do, it’s so valuable

        Like

      • Ahh Sorry BBoB.. I should have said, Mountainvoyager, and BrianFujisan are the same Person.

        Like

  12. Anthony says:

    Just confirming that “Deusnexus” has been removed from the ‘net. David Nova, owner of the site, posted this on his personal page:

    https://davidnova.com/2018/10/30/deus-nexus-censored-wordpress/

    He, too, suspects it has to do with Sandyy Huuk (maybe spelling things phonetically may help evade the censors?!).

    As you and others have said, this is probably just the beginning. Soon, anyone writing on the Gulf of Tonkin or even the “Maine” or “Lusitania” may be removed – but what really depresses me is that history has shown that once they start burning books, bodies come next. I pray that doesn’t ever happen again, but at this time it’s best to be a realist and prepare accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s funny you mention that about the spelling. I was genuinely thinking, a month or so ago, of establishing a code where I replace certain words or names – let everyone know what the code is – and then write articles where I never have to use any ”trigger words” again. But your way of just deliberately misspelling might work better.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anthony says:

        Yeah, a friend of mine and I have been doing that (in e-mails) with almost anything that could potentially trigger a metadata search engine looking for keywords. It is actually kind of a game seeing how badly one can butcher a word or a name and still figure it out. The key seems to be in keeping the consonants; the vowels don’t really matter much. I think many of the sites that have gone down have been reported by people actually looking through content, however (and possibly paid to do so). Still, it might be worth a shot.

        In other censoring news: I came back here to ask if you or anyone else has noticed an inability to post comments on some websites, even when logged in. Just today I logged into ZeroHedge and was unable to post replies or even hit up- or down- arrows, which was weird in itself; but then I was also unable to post on another blog like yours. I hope this one gets through…

        Buckle up. This ride looks like it’s about to get bumpy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sha'Tara says:

        If you are going to develop a “code” for trigger words, they’ll soon wise up and do a phonetic search, so be very creative in how your word will sound when verbalized. Word to the wise…?

        Liked by 1 person

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