Twitter locks Socialist Equality Party (Australia) account over video defending Dr David Berger, Julian Assange and free speech
In a major act of political censorship, Twitter yesterday locked the account of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), rendering it unable to post content, issue replies or send messages. Indeed, such a lock disables an account.
The ban was imposed on Thursday morning Australian time. A notification sent to the SEP account said it violated unspecified rules and was locked for 12 hours. The message provided a link to Twitter’s general usage guidelines. There was no way to appeal the decision.
At the same time, a video previously posted on the SEP account was hidden by the Twitter administration. Where the video was, a statement on Twitter read, “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules.”
The video in question is 59 seconds long and draws attention to official attacks on four people who have been singled out for their free speech activities. The video was released as part of the SEP’s campaign in defense of Dr David Berger, an Australian GP who was targeted for opposing the official ‘let it rip’ program of mass COVID infection .
The video can be viewed on the SEP’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. It can also be viewed below.
After the 12-hour ban passed on Thursday evening Australian time, the SEP account remained locked. A post from Twitter’s administrators said the penalty was imposed for “violating our rules against posting or sharing someone’s privately produced/distributed intimate media without their express consent.”
In order for the account to be unlocked, the message stated that the SEP “must delete” the video. The SEP administrators filed an appeal against this edict, which had not received a response at the time of publication. The SEP’s Twitter account remains locked.
The reasons given for the censorship are absurd and bizarre.
None of the video’s visual content is “intimate”. All of this is in the public domain, with common license terms, or has been provided directly to the World Socialist Website and published there before.
Three of the four people referenced and depicted in the video have collaborated with the World Socialist Website, including providing their images. The fourth, Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, is currently incarcerated in Britain’s maximum-security Belmarsh prison without regular internet access.
In other words, it’s demonstrably clear that if there was a complaint related to the video content, it didn’t come from any of those featured. The allegation of “intimate” content is patently false. Notably, the lockdown was imposed minutes after the video was posted yesterday morning, indicating the possibility of a quickly coordinated campaign to remove the content.
It is striking that the video that was subjected to censorship was itself about the censorship of principled workers and public figures, who took a stand against the power in place. It is worth briefly reviewing who they are:
* The WSWS reported earlier this month that Dr David Berger had been censored by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA). The official body demanded he undertake special ‘education’ or be disbarred and accused him of ‘undermining’ public health messages.
Berger’s “crime” was to condemn the “let it go” policy of all Australian governments, based on letting the virus spread endlessly. He had always advocated the science-based measures needed to eliminate transmission, which are rejected by authorities because they can impact corporate interests.
The attack on Berger comes amid a new global wave of the virus, including in Australia. State and federal, Labor and Liberal governments have rejected any measure to tackle the outbreak, in conditions in which nearly 9,000 people have died this year alone and more than eight million of the 25 million Australians have been infected .
Berger’s fate was completely obscured by the corporate media.
* Lisa Diaz is a British worker who has organized a series of powerful parent strikes, opposing the forced reopening of schools under conditions of rampant COVID transmission. The face-to-face schooling policy has no other purpose than to ensure that parents can be at their place of work so that full commercial and lucrative activity can continue, whatever the consequences.
In late 2021, Diaz was threatened with malicious prosecution by local council authorities because she refused to put her children at risk at a COVID-infested school. His principled campaign has won the support of medical experts, teachers, parents and other workers around the world.
*David O’Sullivan is a London bus driver who was victimized and fired for campaigning against the mass infection of transport workers, in conditions where dozens of his colleagues had died of the virus. He acted, independently of unions, which enforced dangerous COVID policies, and won the respect of transport workers around the world.
O’Sullivan, like Diaz, has given repeated interviews to the WSWS and has been a featured speaker at international online events he has hosted.
* Julian Assange is the most famous political prisoner in the world. He is incarcerated in Britain and faces extradition to the United States, which has issued 17 charges against him under the Espionage Act for publishing real documents revealing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. If sent to his American persecutors, Assange faces 175 years in prison.
The decade-long campaign against Assange, involving several governments, including the United States, Britain and Australia, is the culmination of a broader effort by ruling elites to suppress anti-war opposition and set a precedent for victimizations targeting emerging struggles. of the working class. Assange has been obsessively pursued by intelligence agencies and their creatures, including on social media, for at least 12 years.
In other words, the individuals featured in the video all fought for the social and democratic rights of working people, in opposition to the deadly COVID policies, militarism and war. In the process, they earned the ire of powerful political forces.
Banning Twitter therefore raises obvious questions. If there was a complaint about the video, why did the social media giant immediately lock down the entire SEP account, without any means of recourse, for 12 hours? Such action has not been taken since the account was created in 2010.
Why, more than 24 hours after the introduction of the ban, has the video not been deleted? A cursory examination of its contents by any objective human reviewer would conclude that claims that the video contains “intimate media” are nonsense.
A tweet from Australia’s SEP National Secretary, Cheryl Crisp, demanding an explanation for the ban and its immediate reversal, was posted from her personal account at 4:47 p.m. (AEDT) on Thursday. He tagged Twitter Support, the department responsible for handling these issues. Currently, the post has received over 370 likes and over 165 retweets. It has not been acknowledged or responded to by Twitter support.
This situation cannot be tolerated. This sets a precedent for attacks on other Twitter pages and posts that oppose the “let it rip” agenda, war, and other abuses of people’s rights. This threatens a broader crackdown on any left-wing political alternative advanced on Twitter.
We call on all WSWS readers and advocates for democratic rights to share this article on Twitter, with a caption above directed to @TwitterSupport, demanding an immediate lifting of the lockdown and a full explanation of why it was imposed. Share the censored video on other social media platforms and alert your friends, family and colleagues about this attack!