Or……Make Orwell Fiction Again
“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.” – George Orwell
“We will continue to be your single source of truth…….so I can tell you this message. New Zealanders must prepare, but do not panic. Prepare. And when you see these messages, remember that unless you hear it from us, it is not the truth” – Jacinta Adern: Former NZ PM. Former policy advisor to the Blair regime. WEF young global leader graduate. Former president of the International Union of Socialist Youth. And for her services to the party, comrade Adern was made a dame by a monarchy.
From one nation of sheep to another, across the waters Australia also has its ministry of truth. In the wake of an ever expanding online media phenomena overtaking the mainstream, the ministry of truth is finally playing catch up by building another wing. This ought to be of interest to non Australians. Similar moves are afoot everywhere in a more or less co-ordinated manner and information in an economy of public private partnerships is already globalised.
ACMA, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has recently expressed that it wants more power over controlling the trade in online information. It says so itself as expressed in the Australian government factsheet.
“However, the ACMA recommended the government provide it with a graduated set of new powers to combat misinformation and disinformation across the sector”
Just how can the state resist such a request from a supposedly independent body. Naturally the request was granted in spades, finding its form in the current draft Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023. I link to both resources here and here.
While the lawyers are parsing through the legalese of a 60-page bill looking for those positivist traps and routes of escape, allow me, a non lex amicus curiae, present a lay interpretation of the bill and what really is at stake.
To begin with, you needn’t subject yourself to the torture of reading through the whole 60 pages. I did that for you. But even this was unnecessary. Power declared itself in the final paragraph of the simplified outline in the introduction.
“Where there is no registered misinformation code, a registered misinformation code is deficient or there are exceptional and urgent circumstances, the ACMA may determine a standard to provide adequate protection for the community from misinformation or disinformation on digital platform services. Digital platform providers are required to comply with misinformation standards that apply to them.”
That is to say, in states of emergency — or not even emergency but rather states of urgency — or not even urgency but rather the declaration of exceptional circumstances — or any time the powers that be can say “yes but this time is different” – those are the times when new standard can be conjured up and new censorships come into being. This is the danger of the state of emergency I have written on previously.
The plain fact of the matter, the covid era bearing this out, is that there is no law. Sure, there is that tissue of custom and habit borne out of doing today what we did yesterday. Granted the operations of custom will appeal to cases of the past and the power of words on a page. But the past, like a song once sung, has no power in the present save for those who would sing it still. And words on a page have no greater power than the echoes of a past song, for ink too is dried and dead. Only humans with power willing to exercise it (or not) have power, this measured against the power of human action to defy them.
I learned this as a junior doctor in another time. In the state jurisdiction of my practice there was a blanket prohibition against abortion. The words on the page of the criminal code combined the text of the law with three little numbers, 224,225 and 226. One cannot have, perform, or assist in the termination of the life of the unborn. There was a little get out of jail clause later in the criminal code, the spirit and wording of which appealed to those extremely rare, vexed cases where the life and limb of the woman was in jeopardy and circumstances forced the hand to do what it must. It was, so to speak, a little microcosm of the state of emergency. So why was it that countless thousands of elective abortions were conducted every year in almost factory procession, for reasons of objective convenience and not peril? The answer is simple. There was the existence of that escape clause and infinite plasticity in its interpretation as to what constituted necessity. Moreover, and more importantly, there wasn’t the will to prosecute or punish the case. The matter at hand isn’t the rightness or wrongness of abortion but rather the rightness or wrongness of our legal metaphysics. Without will and human action, there is no law. And in its impotence there never has been law, only the dreams of lawyers. These dreams, essentially an inductive fallacy, are spun from what they can do when they can do it. Give the system a little regularity and predictability and these dreams invest law with the magic of being. Probably it’s another case of crypto Luciferian hubris. Somewhere in eternity there is the perfect union between law and power. For the time being we all live in the real world where law is a tool of power.
Same with what constitutes the exception in restrictions of the movement of persons as embodied genomes in a “pandemic”. This virus is exceptionally different, or so they said in the last 3 years. Or has trauma repressed from front of mind that we battled the pandemic of a century…..or so they said. In any case this was war, and corners were cut to win it, including the first casualty of war…truth.
Genome meets genome and antigen meets an immune system. Genes are often described as packets of information. Likewise, there is that packet of conventional information in future years that you may wish to deliver to another. It too will be also different and especially harmful. That is what they will say if they wish to say it, all for reasons of the common good against common harms. It might be a comment relating to the racial element in mass riots, even quoting the very words and intent of the protagonists who might want the dignity to be properly quoted. It might involve comment on the religious element in instances of child exploitation. It might involve certain lay interpretations of the mental health or clash between reality and ideology of sex and sexuality. It might involve interpretations of geopolitical affairs that are spun as threatening confidence in our country and its alliances with architects of foreign wars, with further inference that any fair-minded favourable comment about the enemy makes one an agent of the enemy. What of climate change, those who would deny it or deny the point of certain actions made to combat it? The burger eaten today furthers the industry that advertises it tomorrow and the cow who farts out climate change the next. All is connected in the biosphere don’t you know. It’s basic eco-theology. Is it harmful to suggest an election is rigged? The government thinks so. My own take is that culture wars are a distraction from the development of a totalitarian technocracy. Speaking of, what of surveillance apparatus and big tech. Is critique of rampant digitalization as an existential threat to privacy an oblique call to arms as saboteurs against the cameras popping up like mushrooms in the rain? The factsheet provides some examples orbiting around all these themes, including this final one:
“Misinformation that encouraged or caused people to vandalise critical communications infrastructure”
How does such “causation” work? Have I invented mind control to cause behaviour in another? Perhaps the deep state has such tech whereas I don’t. Can I fling an adult body, qua object of material causation, at a camera? If only I were that strong. Once upon a time inciting action involved a direct call to action. Now information as such can be thought to cause action. You see, in the world of biopolitics you already are a mechanism. More disturbing for the conspiracy theorist is the state’s motivation to use this example. What is communicated in the age of the internet of bodies, that they are worried we will damage the infrastructure of big data?
And the bill states:
“harm means any of the following: (a) hatred against a group in Australian society on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion or physical or mental disability; (b) disruption of public order or society in Australia; 12 (c) harm to the integrity of Australian democratic processes or of Commonwealth, State, Territory or local government institutions; (d) harm to the health of Australians; (e) harm to the Australian environment; (f) economic or financial harm to Australians, the Australian economy or a sector of the Australian economy.”
These are the harms ripe for infinitely plastic interpretation. We are all part of the ecosphere and the econosphere, of the ideo-sphere and biosphere. All boundaries are blurred. The wave function places most of me here and a little part of me there, most of you there but a small amount here. Even this article is harmful, or at least I hope so in my own intended way. Perhaps even to think it constitutes a risk before writing it?
Think I’m talking nonsense? The lockdowns were to create a sense of gravitas and fear driving us towards the mask wearing in turn driving us towards mass jab compliance. Dissidents such as I saw the spider spin its psy op web in real time with its telos spread across all nodes of operation. The powers that be sold a narrative of mission to preserve the public good and minimise harm by delivering us from the cocoon of lockdown all the way to the coerced jab. The novel virus will kill us and the novel jab would save us they said. Consequently, to speak of Swedish epidemiology was as harmful to public health and the vaccine rollout as a virus. To speak of differential risks in young vs old was also harmful to the vaccine rollout. To suggest mask wearing carried no biological utility was harmful, for maskless faces risked pausing covid consciousness and displacing the mind from its propagandised place on the web. You did not need to be talking about the vaccine to be threatening the vaccine. This is one of the essences of totalitarianism.
The bill defines misinformation as:
“For the purposes of this Schedule, dissemination of content using a digital service is disinformation on the digital service if:
(a) the content contains information that is false, misleading or deceptive; and
(b) the content is not excluded content for misinformation purposes; and
(c) the content is provided on the digital service to one or more end-users in Australia; and
(d) the provision of the content on the digital service is reasonably likely to cause or contribute to serious harm”
To which if to become disinformation another criteria is added:
(e) the person disseminating, or causing the dissemination of, the content intends that the content deceive another person.
Note: Disinformation includes disinformation by or on behalf of a foreign power. Are we gearing up for an information cold war, if not a hot one?
Note that ACMA want to shut down even one ear hearing what it wants to hear and what that individual wants to decide is true. This is important as free speech is dyadic within a relationship of information exchange towards the end of interpersonal growth and connection. In order to truly have the freedom to say what you have to say, I have to also have the freedom to hear what I want to hear. To silence your voice or the voice of an alt media network is to render me deaf. What follows is a constraint to my thinking to which I am deaf. Even the speech I might want to make even alone in a forest loses its range and perhaps its objective truth value. In a sense then, individual free speech is deeply wounded here by ACMA. Every individual everywhere is wounded.
ACMA themselves are explicit they will not determine what is true or false except via advice by establishment academy, government and think tank players (and trusted foreign establishment partners). The spirit of Adern floats over Australia now. False is what they say is false.
Now we must be clear here. The bill applies to specific modes of online information transfer, including online compilers and content creators in the dissident sphere. This is not a bill addressing so called freedom of speech of individuals. Though no one will hear you, you still can venture into the forest and say whatever you want. You can still send private emails, including bulk lists of digital town crier newsletters to others who want to hear your message. But if the influencer really wants to pack a punch, then ACMA will have it in their power to punch back harder. That is the game at hand. The establishment wishes to recapture the net and erect on its lands only friendly castles. Outside of a few executed examples, for a time at least it will be too lazy and bloated to care about small players and alt media amateur “journalists”.
Apart from the individuals and lower tech emails, some others exempt from the clutches of the bill include a) government advertising (they are mocking you with this one), b) educational content and content produced in good faith for entertainment, satire and parody included and c) “professional news content. No loopholes here I’m afraid. Educational institutions must be accredited by the state. The “Dissident University of Online Australia”, if there ever was such a thing, wouldn’t pass accreditation. “Professional” news content does not include dissidents who manage to monetise their content. Autistic critically thinking intellectuals might think they can comedy themselves out of Orwell Land. Apart from the fact they won’t be funny, neither will this guarantee the message behind the entertainment find its way out to the masses. We could deliver the message that Sweden dodged the mortality curve in the joke caricature of strong Nordic genes akin to the elvish folk of Tolkien. The equally autistic fact checkers will simply say that Nordic genes are not so different from Italians and elves do not exist. A notice will be attached to the website of the fact breech and a warning issued, if not a substantial fine. If the state is especially lacking in humour they will simply shut your site down. It’s been done before and not once. The late Richard Neville constructed a parody website in 2006 with a fake letter from Prime Minister John Howard apologizing for being Bush and Blair’s little buddy in the search for non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Neville thought it was funny. Many readers of the letter thought it was funny. Howard didn’t think it was funny. The website was taken down and flushed down the memory hole. Likely you have never heard of it. It is written in section 33 of the bill they can use tech to block you and trusted fact checkers to judge your content. Race, gender, pandemics, climate, elections, referenda, Ukraine, China, big tech, CBDC’s and the digital economy: War is no time for humour and we have many wars on the horizon.
Cunning foxes have more than one trick up their sleeve and needn’t resort to the brutality of Richard Nevilling your site. A fate worse than digital murder is digital bureaucracy. As the bill makes clear, they can audit and regulate you to death. They can bury your plucky little info site in more red tape than you have the life years or money to withstand their lawfare. Certainly, you will not be able survive in “free market” competition against the state info-whores who suffer no such obstructions. Accreditation sometimes can be a subtle and intangible thing. They have it. You won’t.
And buried in the bill is reference to Part 7A of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005. What is section 7a? It refers to the sharing of information between ACMA and other government services, security services included and
“an authority of a foreign country responsible for regulating matters relating to communications or media (including, for example, matters relating to broadcasting or the internet)”.
Node to node to node. Naturally this in turn includes the intelligence agencies of the foreign country interested in the regulation of its own online content. There is a saying in the digital information media sphere. When the information content is free the information product of interest is you! And the readers interested in you are those handlers in Washington and Langley and the neon con world behind the machine behind Howard who did not find Richard Nevilles little website funny. We have already entered the totalitarian state. That’s the way the system works. A foreign neo con and Zionist adjacent establishment of the military industrial complex is fronted by an Australian policy think tank whose fellow hosts (or hosted) an Australian government backed panel question and answer show. The narrative is tightly controlled. When not marketing war on bodies they are marketing war against viruses. When they are not marketing war on viruses they will market war on financial insecurity or hate speech in culture wars. Makes no difference if the media outlet is state owned or superficially independent and right wing. Behind the media outlet is a think tank. And behind the think tank is the government, its corporate partners and security services. As a rule of thumb, if it’s at all mainstream it’s already been captured. Has your red pill turned black now.
Speaking of tentacles of the global media regulation octopus, you might think the American first amendment can save you. If Australia goes dark of dissident content all you need is grab a VPN and tune in to the land of the free and the home of the brave. Well not quite. Notwithstanding a) this is small comfort for those wanting uncensored local content anywhere outside the USA and b) the first amendment is not as virile as it used to be, we face c) the trap of globalism and the dark side of market forces in the world of “public private partnerships”. Brevity does not allow me to elaborate here. Likely I’ll write another piece or series of pieces on UK’s OfCom, of US media control, of Russia and the EU. But suffice to say the online information regulatory war is global. Like all world wars, it will mostly be fought in Europe. In its digital services and markets acts (and many other euro managerialist regulations besides), the EU are crafting online information censorship traps that make Australia’s look like the derivative it is. In a nutshell, they can compel large digital platforms to either sit at the European heel or be deprived of a 400 million head market. No greedy American platform will pass up that opportunity and all opposition is theatre. The kicker speculation is this: perhaps this is what American big tech wants? Leverage its power with the EU to manufacture consent for finding a way around the first amendment and passing the buck in the process. That is why the EU is most interested in the larger platforms mostly based across the Atlantic. Smaller organisations than twitter, facebook, the large media giants can survive under the radar for a little while longer. But they must be agile, creative and punch above their weight. As Assange rots in the jail of a formerly free country, the information arms race is accelerating.
Think I’m exaggerating the threat? The ACMA oversees Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation (Feb 2021 and updated Oct 2021), both of which precede and portend the nastiness of the bill at hand. Whilst many dissidents were obsessed with covid vaccines and the culture wars, all the major international players in big tech have already signed onto the Code of Practice (sites, platforms and operating system providers capable of blocking small app content creators). They voluntary opted in! It is these documents to which we should also refer to understand the real intent behind the current bill. ACMA calls for content providers to use algorithms, warnings and censorship, intentionally favour establishment media, universities and state permitted fact checking services.
These documents are also largely influenced by UTS “Centre for Media Transition”. What is this centre and who staffs it? Not surprisingly its “researchers” are heavily integrated into left wing and government media and social justice causes. No one is anti-establishment. No one is remotely libertarian or conservative. The centre for media transition in its very name implies change (i.e. transition) towards a brave new world model of digital media, hyper-regulated and saturated with psy op anchors. They wish to dissolve the world of media into the metaphors of warfare, ecology, disease, and mental illness. Take these two fragments from their website for example. They are concerned with information disorder and infodemics, defining these constructs as:
“Information disorder refers to the breakdown of the news and information ecosystem, where the information environment is polluted by degraded forms of information including misinformation, disinformation, fabricated news and manipulated media.”
“The ‘infodemic’ unleashed by Covid-19 brought the problem of information disorder to public prominence, and increasingly, other major events including natural disasters, war, conflict, and elections are accompanied by waves of misinformation and related problems.”
Your ideas are pollution, disease, pestilence. Your brain is the wet market for dissident mind viruses. And the government and its partnerships with darlings in the academy and mainstream media are the cure. This is the beating heart of the therapeutic state. Everything is biopolitical. Everything is health. Has the red pill turned black yet?
This articles previously appeared on Robert’s blog, Robert Against the Machine here.