Archive for January, 2015

Polio as a Child, Man

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Kim Fowley died on January 15.  There are a lot of people who really despised Kim but I’m not one.  The first time I met Kim was at David Clayton Thomas’s wedding reception in Toronto at the Royal York Hotel.  (For those who don’t know, David was the lead singer for Blood Sweat & Tears.)  I was looking for the bathroom in a cavernous suite and opened the door to one of the bedrooms.  There was Kim, sitting alone at a table having dinner.

I was actually starving and said, where’s the food man?  Kim looked at me like I’d asked him which direction the Sun rose and he said, “Room service, man!”

Is this your room?

“It is now.”

And that was Kim all over.  And then there was the dark side.  If you saw The Runaways you kind of got the idea.

Years later, I met him again through my friends Bart Bishop and Laurie McAllister (last bassist in the Runaways).  I worked for Kim (during his Helen Reddy phase) on a number of his artists, writing songs, playing, producing, whatever needed to be done.  Singles, jingles and demos conveniently made.  He usually bankrolled the projects and almost always managed to get those records released.  The guy had pieces of publishing, “co-writes”, producer royalties on probably hundreds if not thousands of tracks.  Also had incredible luck–“Nut Rocker” a track he “co-wrote” with this guy Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky for B. Bumble and the Stingers was covered by Emerson, Lake & Palmer on Pictures at an Exhibition–all mailbox money for Kim.

Many times during this period we would start the day at Kim’s apartment off of Sunset Boulevard (where else?) across the street from the car wash.  I’d sit with another writer in Kim’s living room waiting for him to get off the phone, usually with some record guy in Australia or France who he was trying to get to put out one of the records he was shopping.  His coffee table was a complete mass of pieces of paper, receipts, fan mags, and one day a check for about $30,000 in royalties that I happened to notice underneath a mass of crap.  Who knows if it would ever have been cashed.

The first time I was in the studio with him, he got people to stop smoking in the control room by tapping his chest and saying, “Noooo, man, one lung, polio as a child.”  Everyone put out the cigarettes and didn’t light another.  Later that night we were in the studio kitchen and I said to him, I didn’t think polio had any thing to do with your lungs.

He immediately brightened up.  “You’re good, man.  Nobody catches that.”

Of course, Kim had both lungs and never had polio.  But he couldn’t stand cigarettes and that was really the point.

Kim always played the tension in the room, like he was orchestrating a continuing cinematic performance.  Once he knew you understood that he was playing everyone almost all the time, you would catch a little glance your way when the tension was rising.  It got a bit tiresome after a while, which was itself part of the…shall we say, hustle.  He had no illusions about himself, though.  In an LA Times interview about The Runaways movie he said:

So…you described Michael [Shannon]’s performance [as Kim]: “He portrays me as a cross between ‘Citizen Kane’ & a ‘Vampire From Outer Space.’ ”

Possibly. After seeing the final version, I would say, ‘Darth Vader as a used-car salesman.’ That’s what it is. Every movie needs a villain, and I’m a good one.

Last time I saw him was about 2004 at a conference in LA where he was on a panel.  Kim walked up to me like I’d just seen him that morning although it had been a good 20 years.  “Chris Castle, where’s the party, man.”  He completely took over the panel.

When I said goodbye to him that day, he said in an admonishing tone, “Chris Castle, push your own hustle first, man.”  Words to live by.  Just like having breakfast with Kim and Rodney Bingenheimer at Denny’s on Sunset.

#HowGoogleWorks for Jihad: The Internet Association Says “je suis spéciale”

January 29, 2015 Comments off

It should come as no surprise that following the Charlie Hebdo assassinations, France, Germany and the UK are considering how to deal with the spread of jihadi propaganda by means of “social media”.  Why?  Because the major social media platforms allow jihadi propaganda to flourish by hiding behind “intermediary liability” statutes, or more precisely broadening the Communication Decency Act and DMCA even further as the Internet Association is lobbying for on behalf of its multi trillion dollar members in a report released today.

How many times have you heard that ISIS and other terror groups are experts at using social media to spread their message of hate and their death fetish?  “Social media” means Google’s YouTube platform, Facebook, Twitter, you know–all those services that brought democracy to the Middle East in the Arab Spring, at least if you listen to Jared Cohen, the Most Interesting Man in the World, advisor to Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice oh yeah baby.

Here, for example, is an ISIS video of Tangos on Mount Sinjar celebrating something or other:

The fact that YouTube is rife with videos glorifying jihad will come as no surprise to MTP readers as we have been documenting jihadi recruiting videos on YouTube for years.  Credit where credit is due, we didn’t come up with that by ourselves, we cribbed it from The Long War Journal, the definitive site for information on the perpetual war with terrorists.

Does the jihadi Al-Furquan Brigades want to inspire recruits with a story of their attack on tankers in the Suez Canal?  Easily done, brother.  Shoot a cell phone video and post it on YouTube.  Ironically, Google monetizes the video with ads by Shell Oil–and you have to ask yourself where does that money go.

Al Furquan Brigades Video

The video is still up there, when we confirmed it there was an NBC Sports NASCAR ad on the preroll:

jihad nascar

Google also uses jihadi videos to drive traffic to other channels on YouTube.  For example, here’s a screen shot of a video from the “Jund al-Aqsa” (JAA) channel that was called out on the floor of the UK House of Commons by Diana Johnson, a leading Labour MP, who had quite a lot to say about Google’s involvement with jihadi recruiting.


I seriously doubt if Disney Parks or any of these other channels had any idea their YouTube traffic was coming in part from jihadi videos, particularly if they are ad supported.  Which means that part of their revenue was being driven by jihadi videos.

The truth is that “social media” platforms are contributing mightily to the spread of the jihadi propaganda and profiting from it to one degree or another.  Can Facebook say with certainty that ISIS hasn’t ever boosted a post?  Does Google have any idea who they are sharing revenue with on these channels?

As Ms. Johnson told the House:

A very brief look at what was available on social media enabled me to come across deeply offensive and worrying videos and tweets. I am very pleased that we are proscribing the organisations that produced them, but I think that the Minister should bear in mind that social media companies are making such videos and tweets available for everyone to see, and consider what more can be done about those companies.

According to Reuters:

France is hoping to make internet companies such as Google and Facebook accountable for social media posts promoting terrorism, Bloomberg reports.

The French government is mounting pressure on web companies to take responsibility for online hate speech as the nation battles against extremist groups in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Bloomberg reports that President Hollande spoke in Paris on Tuesday about a new law that would make internet operators “accomplices” of such offences — making a racial statement is a crime in France. A draft of the legislation could be made next month and challenges messages across social media platforms.

The president was talking at a memorial for Jews deported in World War II. He said that social media sites “can no longer close their eyes if they are considered accomplices of what they host,” and added: “We must act at the European and international level to define a legal framework so that Internet platforms which manage social media be considered responsible, and that sanctions can be taken.”

Why does it come down to passing laws and conducting criminal investigations of these companies?  Because they shove it in our faces and really have no discernible social conscience.  Because they appear to be providing material support to terrorists who want to kill us and destroy our way of life.  Instead, we have Google trying to block criminal investigations of their activities.  Why?

We can find an answer in the Internet Association report calling for even greater “intermediary liability”–that would allow their members (notably Google and Facebook) to continue to profit from hate videos and potentially share revenue with those who distribute them by duping advertisers.

That’s right–because they’re special.  They’re on the Internet.  Can you imagine if NBC engaged in such activities?

Or said another way, je ne suis pas Charlie, je suis spéciale.

Stop Them Before They Pimp Again: Google’s Human Trafficking Rhetoric Should Start with Cleaning Up YouTube

January 28, 2015 Comments off

If you follow Google’s policy blog, you might have seen this post by Google’s head lobbyist, Susan Molinari:

There are few issues more horrifying than human slavery and trafficking. Yesterday, the House of Representatives took important steps to address these issues by passing twelve bills aimed at helping the victims and calling attention to these criminal acts. We are encouraged by the actions taken yesterday and applaud the House’s leadership.

Given Google’s horrible track record on human trafficking starts with YouTube–an environment that the music industry knows too well is entirely within Google’s control–it’s a little hard to believe that Google is really all that horrified about promoting trafficking through Google’s own properties.

And making money off of it.

The Forrest Hayes Case

Google executive Forrest Hayes was murdered by a prostitute he met through the according to reports.

Alix Tichelman apparently met Google executive Forrest Hayes through a sugar daddy site called  Ms. Tichelman is accused of manslaughter and other charges relating to Mr. Hayes death.  According to SF Gate:

During interviews with police, Tichleman boasted of having more than 200 clients, all of whom she said she met through a website,, according to police.

YouTube distributes the “Sugar Baby University” video linked above and also promotes a YouTube partner channel.  One might well ask Ms. Molinari if Google is getting in business with, how does Google manage to make the ethical case for being so much in favor of laws against human trafficking?  Stop them before they pimp again, maybe?

Here’s the channel for the very service that brought together Google’s own executive with the sugar baby accused of murdering him:

YouTube Seeking A 2

It’s easy to find:

YouTube Seeking A 1

Even if Ms. Molinari can make the case for why Google should profit from this particular site, it’s hard to understand why it is not placed behind Google’s much vaunted “Safety Mode” that is supposed to protect children from something, not quite sure what if they allow this kind of thing to get through.

YouTube Seeking A 3

Ms. Molinari might be interested in this video on the SeekingArrangement Channel that advises girls of all ages on how to create the perfect sugar baby profile:

Sex Tourist Videos

If you search phrases like “Thai teen girls” in YouTube it won’t take you any time to run across what apparently are sex tourist videos shot in South East Asia.  Some of these are set to the music of well-known artists such as Jack White:

philippines sex tourism2

sextourism prudential

While some of this advertising is sketchy, I seriously doubt that Apocalyptica had any idea their ad would show up on a sex tourist video.  And then there is duped advertiser #1:


All with ads by Google.  Last time I looked, defrauding advertisers is not covered by the Communications Decency Act or the DMCA–if for no other reason than it’s not third party actions.  It’s Google’s own actions.

So maybe Ms. Molinari should turn her attention to cleaning up her own house before she visits her hollow sanctimony on others.

For State Attorneys General, Take A Closer Look at Google

We can easily understand why Ms. Molinari is trying to deflect attention away from the seamy underbelly of Google’s crown jewels–they are currently being investigated by a number of state attorneys general about just this kind of thing.  For example, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has a vigorous campaign against exactly this kind of thing:

So while Ms. Molinari would like us all to believe that Google is oh so concerned about human trafficking, it’s hard to believe when you take a cursory look around YouTube, an environment that is 100% within Google’s control and for which Google sells 100% of the advertising.

Ms. Molinari’s protestations are a bit late in the day–in the last session of Congress, i.e., before Google received Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s subpoena–there were reports that Google was working behind the scenes to stop trafficking legislation.

According to the Daily Beast:

Lawmakers are trying to pass a landmark bill to halt child trafficking, but congressional aides say it is facing resistance from big tech companies that have launched a stealth campaign to fight the legislation….Both human trafficking and forced prostitution are already illegal. But what Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Ann Wagner, who are pushing the initiative in the Senate and House, respectively, seek to do is create liability for those helping make the connection between pimps and johns….

“The Googles of the world are in a tough spot. They’re not going to speak out publicly against a human trafficking measure. But they also are opposed to it,” said a Wagner legislative aide. According to the aide, negotiations with tech associations usually lead to suggestions that legislation enhance penalties for pimps or johns, rather than online advertisers.

Clean up your own house first, Ms. Molinari.

@IMPALAmusic Takes Action at European Commission on YouTube Abuses Against @zoecello

January 28, 2015 1 comment

Thanks to the efforts of music makers and the fans and journalists who love them–who clearly respect music more than YouTube does–the latest round of abuse on Zoë Keating from YouTube has resonated all the way to Brussels where indie label trade group IMPALA launched a new initiative against Google inspired by the reaction to YouTube’s treatment of Zoë.  Paul Resnikoff of Digital Music News, Andrew Orlowski of The Register and Stuart Dredge of The Guardian deserve special recognition for doggedly sticking to the story despite Google’s Spotify-like whisper campaign to discredit Zoë.

IMPALA’s press release today in Brussels tells the story:

Independent music companies launched a unique Digital Action Plan today, calling for a new European industrial policy to drive the digital market through the cultural and creative sectors, which account for 4,2% of EU GDP and 7.1 million EU jobs.

The role of culture in Europe’s digital market will be one of the issues debated in the European Parliament today during an extraordinary meeting of the Culture and Education committee with Digital Economy and Society Commissioner Günther Oettinger. MEP Sabine Verheyen, Co-ordinator for the EPP group in the Parliament’s culture committee commented: “This Action Plan presents very practical ways to boost creativity through smaller actors and deliver a dynamic digital single market built on diversity.”

One of the strands of Europe’s new industrial policy would be a range of measures to boost SMEs including independent music companies, who account for 80% of jobs and 80% of investment in new music in Europe today.

IMPALA also asks the EU to rethink how citizens, artists and businesses engage online. The “rules of engagement online” are important in the music world with reports surfacing last week that YouTube is continuing the same abuses which prompted IMPALA to lodge a complaint to the EC last year.

With the debate on copyright a hot topic, the action plan takes a robust stance and calls on the EU to reinforce copyright as a fundamental right, a liberator of the creativity that drives the digital market. The importance of stopping the abuse of the so-called “safe harbour” exemption is also underlined, as well as not transferring creators’ rights to trade to those who are behind calls for weaker copyright.

Remember–the indie labels went through this same YouTube brutality last year that resulted in a nasty negotiation.  Of course, YouTube imposed a complete blackout on disclosing the terms of the settlement so they could keep all of us in the dark.  The is long standing Google practice designed to pit artists against labels and songwriters against societies.  This time, however, Google did not get out of their mess–IMPALA filed an action against Google in the European Commission as a result of Google’s antics before the settlement.  And to the great credit of the negotiators for the labels, they did not give up their complaint in Brussels as part of the settlement.

David Lowery’s post at the Trichordist of his letter to the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission crystalizes the connection between how YouTube gored the indie labels and how they were running the same bully tactics against Zoë Keating.

IMPALA launched a 10 point plan, read it here.  We could well model in the United States with the Federal Trade Commission:

The 10 points:

1.    Reinforcing the rights that drive the digital market and grow Europe’s copyright capital

2.    Giving citizens the best digital infrastructure in the world

3.    Improving pluralism and diversity online as well as offline

4.    Revisiting the “rules of engagement” online

5.    Growing Europe’s “missing middle” by improving conditions for smaller actors

6.    Effectively tackling websites which are structurally infringing

7.    Increasing investment through a new financial approach to culture

8.    Introducing greater fairness in taxation

9.    Mapping how creativity works and measuring the sectors

10.  Placing culture and diversity at the heart of Europe’s international work

We are all in debt to Zoë Keating for having the incredible strength to stand up for herself against the Google monopoly and inspiring lovers of the independent spirit around the world by her story–exactly what we would expect from such an incredibly articulate, deep and passionate artist and her fans.

Thanks to IMPALA for standing with Zoë, thanks to Paul, Andrew and Stuart for sticking with the story, thanks to David for fighting back and standing with Zoë, thanks to the #irespectmusic crew for adopting Zoë’s story as their own, but especially thanks to all of you–everyone who helped bring this story to life around the world on social media.

God bless us every one.

Zoë Keating vs YouTube: The End of an Artist’s Right to Choose Where Their Music Appears on The Internet.

January 27, 2015 Comments off

David Lowery’s letter to the Federal Trade Commission about YouTube’s treatment of Zoë Keating and how to make your voice heard!

The Trichordist

musiThis is a call to action folks.

Many of you may already be aware of this blog post from  Zoë Keating detailing the new terms of the Google/YouTube “Music Key” service.  YouTube’s “communications manager” Matt McLernon has followed the Spotify approach and attacked Zoë Keating’s story as “patently false” although it looks like Google is not exactly backing up their “communications manager“.

I’m pretty sure that Google is not truthful about their conversation with Zoë–you know Google’s lying when their lips are moving–if for no other reason than I believe Zoë’s notes of her conversation with Google are accurate.  Not to mention that the description of the Music Key deal points from Zoë’s notes shows Google tying the YouTube and Music Key deals together in pretty much the same way as the Music Key deal that Google threatened indie labels with last year.

But I’m not sure if the mainstream…

View original post 1,356 more words

The Revolution Shall be Monetized: Zoë Keating Confirms YouTube Learned Nothing From Indie Labels

January 24, 2015 2 comments

…there was lunch in the larger, first floor cafeteria where, in the corner, on a small stage there was a man, playing a guitar, who looked like an aging singer-songwriter Mae’s parents listened to.

“Is that….?”

“It is,” Annie said, not breaking her stride.  “There’s someone every day.   Musicians, comedians, writers….We book them a year ahead.  We have to fight them off.”

The singer-songwriter was signing passionately…but the vast majority of the cafeteria was paying little to no attention.

“I can’t imagine the budget for that, ” Mae said.

“Oh god, we don’t pay them.”

The Circle, by Dave Eggers

Once again, Zoë Keating provides a leading voice for artists rights and leads by personal example.  In her compelling viral blog post, “What Should I Do About YouTube,” Zoë describes a recent encounter with the demands of YouTube the definitive “new boss” monopoly video service owned by Google.

She asks her community for advice in making a decision about whether she should allow herself to be bullied by Google.  The “decision” that she must make crystalizes what my friend Rick Carnes (President of the Songwriters Guild) meant in the phrase he coined to describe how Google uses the DMCA: Notice and Shakedown.

Why is this an issue?  As Zoë tells us:

I am independent because I didn’t want a bunch of men in suits deciding how I should release my music. For 10 years I have managed to bushwhack a circuitous path around them but now I’ve got to find a away around the men in hoodies and crocs (I’m sorry, that was low, but that story was so funny).

Or as we say around MTP, meet the new boss, worse than the old boss.

Google is routinely and continually misusing the privileges that Congress provided in the now hopelessly outdated DMCA “notice and takedown” safe harbor.  If the 345 million takedown notices Google received last year alone for search alone doesn’t confirm that to you, Zoë’s description of the YouTube shakedown should make it crystal clear.

By telling her personal story, Zoë identifies adroitly the future of YouTube.  First, Zoë’s experience clearly demonstrates that Google learned nothing from its hugely bad press experience last year with the world’s independent record companies.

It also shows that Google fully intends to profit from the YouTube “bad acts” window–the period of time from when a video is posted and when Google ultimately take it down that gives “windowing” a whole new meaning.  This bad acts window is not limited to copyright infringement; it can include videos selling illegal drugs, recruiting young women into prostitution or young men into the jihad, demonstrating how to shoot heroin, sex tourist home movies, holocaust denier videos (illegal in many countries where YouTube makes them available), or plain old skin head racist videos.  MTP readers will require no citations for these videos, but if you are new to the blog just look under the “Bad Acts Videos” tab.

Moreover, Google’s treatment of Zoë is surely not limited to Zoë–it’s probably exactly what Google is doing to tens of thousands of artists.  If anything, Zoë probably got the star treatment version.  This is very Googlely–Google’s version of an “artist relations” team comes and tells you nicely how they are going to run roughshod over you (NP: Everything is Awesome).

Remember–the indie trade association IMPALA has filed an antitrust complaint against Google in Brussels over the way Google handled the MusicKey roll out which essentially involved the same deal.  So does Google say, that didn’t really work out too well for us, maybe we should handle it differently with the independent artists?

Nope–Google says, unfortunately, the indie labels fought back, but the independent artists cannot.  So Google says let’s screw them even harder.  As Zoë concludes her blog post:

What should I do? As much as it makes me grind my teeth, does having all my music forced onto Youtube’s music service really just not matter all that much? Should I just close my eyes and think of England?

Maybe after writing this blog Google will make the choice for me. They will block my channel and I will have to decide whether to block those 9,696 videos….and anger 9,696 fans. The usual people will talk about it for a day or two (*5) and then it and I will be forgotten.

Anyone starting up a new video service?

We’ll see.  Because what Zoë is really pointing to is the next step in the evolution of multichannel networks–leaving YouTube altogether and en masse.  Why would you want to drive traffic to YouTube for free when all they do is jack you around?  And speaking of “thinking of England”:

When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, ‘In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken.’

Some chicken.

Some neck.

Winston Churchill, Ottawa, Dec. 30, 1941

YouTube’s Failure to Block Jihadi Recruitment Videos Laid Bare in UK Parliament

January 22, 2015 Comments off

As we have pointed out many, many times on MTP, YouTube routinely hosts videos that can only be described as recruitment tools for jihad.  Some are fundraising tools, such as “Equip A Fighter for Ramadan”–the most bone-chilling metadata we’ve seen on YouTube.

Some use copyright infringement–a YouTube specialization–to glorify jihad.  The Ridley Scott picture “Kingdom of Heaven” is a favorite.

No one should be surprised that Google is depraved enough to try to make money off of these videos.  But I have always wondered why no one in the vast counterterrorism cadres in the US government has done anything about it.  With all the attention to the way ISIS uses social media, you have to ask if Google’s lobbying muscle protects them from any review of these loathsome business practices.

Fortunately, Google’s jihad connection is not lost on Members of the UK Parliament.  Speaking yesterday on the floor of the House of Commons, Diana Johnson, a leading Labour MP, had quite a lot to say about Google’s involvement with jihadi recruiting:

We recognise, of course, that events in Syria, Iraq and northern Africa are fuelling a rapidly evolving network of inter-related terror groups who pose a real threat to the UK and our allies. It is absolutely right to use all legal measures to try to counter the spread of these groups and to ensure that they cannot establish themselves in the United Kingdom.

In this case, we have two groups with close links to other proscribed groups. Jund al Khalifa-Algeria is an Algerian-based Islamic militant group, linked to al-Qaeda and hoping to establish a caliphate in northern Africa. The group is affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Secondly, Jund al-Aqsa or Soldiers of al-Aqsa is a splinter group of the al-Nusra front, and it is just three months since we proscribed JKI—Army of the Islamic Caliphate, another splinter group of the al-Nusra front. In common with the al-Nusra front, the JAA is largely based in Syria, and as a group has attracted many jihadists from outside Syria. JAA started out as a campaign against the Syrian Government, but in recent attacks the group has seemed happy to target innocent civilians….

In this case…there is no need to see sensitive information to conclude that these are terrorist groups. Far from hiding their activities, they are actively boasting about them on social media, using YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to spread images of the most horrendous violence, alongside messages justifying it. These are not groups that want to hide; these are groups that are actively recruiting.

Why is it that jihadis are able to use these social media sites so freely?  For the same reason that Google allows videos promoting human trafficking, illegal drugs, “how to shoot heroin”, racist groups, sugar baby videos recruiting young girls into prostitution, and yes plain old copyright infringement.

Google wants to make money and they don’t care how.

Here’s a couple of examples:

Monetized jihad recruitment videos with 1.6 million views.  And how are they monetized?

jihad android

This playlist has a variety of jihadi recruiting videos on it, some of them with English subtitles, and all of which have substantial numbers of views.

Jihad 2

The Ridley Scott movie “Kingdom of Heaven” is a popular source of imagery (although only a mere 400,000 views):

Kingdom of Heaven 1

So the question is, who gets the money from YouTube’s advertising on these videos?  Aside from Google, of course.

Ms. Johnson’s examples should start to sound familiar:

The JAA YouTube channel was opened on the 28 July 2014, apparently replacing a previous YouTube channel that had been closed down. The latest Twitter account opened in September in English, again replacing an account that had been closed down. The English Twitter account—we looked at it just yesterday—has 1,460 followers. Tweets declare fallen supporters to be martyrs, and there are links to YouTube videos and other Twitter pages run by JAA. One of these pages is the official JAA Twitter page in Arabic, which has some 17,500 followers.

The videos on the YouTube channel are even more disturbing. Let us take, for example, the video uploaded on to the official JAA channel on 21 September 2014.

This video depicts JAA fighters engaging with Government forces—kicking, hanging, abusing the bodies of the dead and taking part in training exercises. It seems quite clear that this video is intended to glorify grotesque violence as a form of extremist propaganda. This video has been viewed 13,000 times, attracted 40 comments and has been “liked” on the YouTube rating system 96 times.

Is it hard to find these channels?  Not really–here’s the result of a YouTube search for “Jund al-Aqsa” (JAA):


How does this continue?  Ms. Johnson met with Google about the problem on YouTube and was given the party line:

I have met Google in the past to discuss YouTube’s hosting of terrorist propaganda, and it is supposed to be taking down extremist content when it comes across it.

And there it is–“when it comes across it.”  Google has no problem hosting the content and even profiting from it in some cases, certainly trying to drive traffic to other pages on YouTube if nothing else.


And “when it comes across” jihadi videos–which probably means when the government catches them hosting the videos–they’ll take it down.  Of course, if they’re taking it down, there’s no telling how long it’s been up there in the first place.

The Home Office’s counter-terrorism internet referral unit is also supposed to be identifying this content and getting it taken down. Here, however, is a whole YouTube channel run by, as we know, a known terrorist organisation and including sermons advocating terrorism and videos of violent terrorist acts attracting thousands of views.

And Ms. Johnson makes the point that since Google, Facebook, Twitter et al are so obsessed with profiting from these videos, these companies have refuse to police themselves.

At one level, there is an irony that these extremist terrorist groups, rallying against western consumerism, are happy to use these enormous western companies [let’s be honest–Silicon Valley money machines] to spread their message of hate, but there is also a very serious point. As the Minister said in an earlier speech to the House, the “effect is that a listed organisation is outlawed and is unable to operate in the UK. It is a criminal offence for a person to belong to…support…arrange a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation, or wear clothing or carry articles in public which arouse reasonable suspicion that an individual is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation.”—[Official Report, 2 April 2014; Vol. 578, c. 948.]

A very brief look at what was available on social media enabled me to come across deeply offensive and worrying videos and tweets. I am very pleased that we are proscribing the organisations that produced them, but I think that the Minister should bear in mind that social media companies are making such videos and tweets available for everyone to see, and consider what more can be done about those companies.

As Google continuously reminds us, they don’t think much of the nation state.  But since Google seems so concerned with protecting their users, you would think that Google would lead the charge to protect their users from the jihad.

We have to thank Ms. Johnson for standing up to the Google lobbying machine–which is almost as virulent in the UK as it is in Washington.  Hopefully she will set an example to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate to thoroughly investigate Google’s complicity in distributing the jihadi war cry particularly from a company like Google that benefits from so many U.S. Government contracts including from the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency.

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