David Miller - Unspun
Focusing on deception and manipulation

Sagit Yehoshua tries to censor Powerbase - Again PDF Print E-mail
David Miller - Unspun

By David Miller 7 August 2010

Renewed attempts to remove censor the website Powerbase are being made by terrorism researcher Sagit Yehoshua.

A few weeks ago our website Powerbase (or rather its predecessor Spinprofiles) was temporarily removed from the internet after a complaint by neoconservative think tanks operative Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens.

At the time we noted that Meleagrou-Hitchens attempt to have the entire page on him removed from our website was not the first. Back in February this year, Sagit Yehoshua complained to 1 & 1 Internet with which we had registered the domain name, that the page on her was defamatory. 1&1 refused to tell us the precise text that was alleged to be defamatory and insisted that the whole page be removed. At the time we did so, hoping to get clarity from the company.

It was not forthcoming, although the issue appeared to hinge on the question of ‘personal’ information; 1 & 1 told us that ‘Ms Sagit Yehoshua has expressly stated in a phone call to us that they do not want their personal information placed on the website.’ Now however we have reinstated that page, leading to further, ongoing, attempts to have the material removed. This time Yehoshua has targeted our ISP

 
On Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens Comment Is Free piece PDF Print E-mail
David Miller - Unspun

David Miller 13 July 2010 (as posted on Comment is Free)

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens thinks our website PowerBase (formerly Spinprofiles) should offer a right of reply. We agree. In fact it has always been our policy, which is why we offered him a right of reply before his Guardian piece demanding one. He declined to answer our email.

Meleagrou-Hitchens argues that his profile should not appear on our website Powerbase, because he did not want to feature on a site which in the past ‘published’ the work of racist academic Kevin MacDonald.

Meleagrou-Hitchens well knows that - to our regret - one of our researchers did quote MacDonald on one of our sister sites – as opposed to ‘publishing’ anything by MacDonald. The quote was removed as soon as the mistake was spotted and an apology made. The person involved is no longer a contributor to our wiki projects. Note also that our project is a wiki with literally hundreds of registered users, many of them volunteers.

 
Guardian comment piece on SpinProfiles' removal from the internet PDF Print E-mail
David Miller - Unspun

David Miller 6th July 2010

Comment piece published in today’s Guardian about the removal of SpinProfiles from the internet:

When the anger of a prominent young thinktanker causes one of the world's largest web-hosting companies to shut down a site that monitors lobbying and transparency, it is time to start asking questions about online free speech and censorship.

Last week, as Hugh Muir reported in the Guardian diary, the website SpinProfiles was taken down by the domain name registrar, 1 & 1 Internet, following a complaint from Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, son of journalist Christopher.

SpinProfiles, run by sister organisation Spinwatch, aims to stitch together publicly available information to provide a detailed picture of who's who in the shadowy world of lobbying. It features close to ten thousand profiles of think tanks, lobbying organisations and those associated with them.

 
Fergie's not the Scandal PDF Print E-mail
David Miller - Unspun
24 May 2010 David Miller
The Duchess of York’s willingness to offer access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew for £500,000 is the latest in a long line of “cash for access” scandals that has undermined our trust in politics and those who supposedly represent our interests.

The true scandal remains that we still do not routinely have access to information on who is meeting / lobbying government ministers, officials and even junior Royals dispatched on our behalf.

The Coalition Government has now promised to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists but as yet no detail has emerged. An effective lobbying register should include financial disclosure.
 
Where has all the money gone? PDF Print E-mail
David Miller - Unspun
11 May 2010

An unpublished  letter to the Guardian on where all the money has gone:

Each time I turn on the BBC I hear that difficult decisions have to be made, by whoever is elected. This comes down to:  Do we want to give all our money to pay for the bankers this year or would we rather wait a bit? In all this debate no one has asked the obvious questions of how much wealth there is in the country, and who is best able to pay.

The focus groups which we conduct, light up when such issues are raised, but heaven forbid that politicians should be asked about such indelicate topics. The total UK wealth is £ 9 thousand billion, the top 20% own between 5 and 6 thousand billion of this, nearly all in property and pensions.*

Remember in a single year the denizens of the city paid themselves £21 billion in bonus payments and now we know where these went. The deficit is a mere £150 billion or thereabouts. But instead of discussing who could pay without missing it too much, public debate is constrained to issues like vat rises, which would hurt the poorest, who have no wealth, only debts. 
 
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