View Full Version : Unacceptable censorship

10th Jan 2009, 19:16
I see that all threads that dare come anywhere close to criticism of current ops in Gaza are being deleted (not just closed and locked, but removed to a limbo in which no-one can see the opinions of current military aircrew and other aviation professionals).

Such threads include:

Gaza 2 (http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/356521-gaza-2-a.html)
What type of shell (http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/357389-what-type-shell.html)
shell thread closure (http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/357418-shell-thread-closure.html)

I can appreciate that there is no place on any board for anti semitism, nor for Hamas propaganda, but to stamp out legitimate criticism of Israel seems more like something we'd expect in a totalitarian dictatorship - and historically, Israel has not been one of those, and its supporters have been bigger men than to stifle civilised debate and discussion. Moreover, PPRuNe is a UK-based site, and in the UK we have always had a tradition of free speech and tolerance of opposing viewpoints.

Shame on whoever is responsible.

Perhaps if we refrain from discussing the rights and wrongs of the ops in Gaza, this thread might be allowed to stand as a platform for those who have a view on the side issue of censorship? PPRuNe must be big enough to allow such mild criticism (and, who knows, perhaps there'll be some support, too) surely?

Double Zero
10th Jan 2009, 19:39

with you all the way.

I'm not exactly a fan of Hamas, but found the 'what type of shell' very disturbing.

I may be guilty of going off-thread in a way on that one, but as I said in a vague post to the Mod's ( 'contact us' having also disappeared ), delete my & similar posts by all means, but not the whole thread, as there's info' people should see there.

Pprune is going to lose all credibility if it carries on in this high-handed way run by the agenda of a few individuals.

10th Jan 2009, 19:45

Could it be a case of 'he who pays the piper, calls the tune'?

I'm here as a relative newcomer to PPRune.

I don't know who started the site, I don't know the Moderators.

In some respects, I wish they would introduce themselves.

Similarly I don't know their politics nor religion nor beliefs nor history.

In the Interweb world, I have to accept that or else. I have to play by their rules.

Not ideal, I grant you. But how many votes do the members of this site have?


10th Jan 2009, 19:49
It's a private website. I'm not a moderator but I've been around since 1995. Some subjects have always been taboo. That's the rules and that's all there is to it.

The official advice will be, as it always was; if you want to discuss something that isn't welcome here, go elsewhere. :)

microlight AV8R
10th Jan 2009, 19:56
Jacko, I share your concern. However, this is the tip of the iceberg.

I am the first to show anguish at the casualties suffered by our people in sandy places who are defending our freedom (?)

Take a look at some of the laws that have been passed in the last decade here in the UK....

One could argue that we are in an elected dictatorship and it is increasingly totalitarian in its approach to laws & regulation of society. Terrorism has become a handy prop to justify them.

In daily life we see people who are afraid to express opinions because of politically incorrect interpretations which might be applied.

We are regulated by the nanny state to the extent that enterprise and initiative are stifled.

We are afraid to stand up for the cultural values that have been our foundation for centuries. Afraid of offending 'minorities'

Now we have the prospect of a record being kept of every email we send/receive. The very idea would have been unthinkable just a couple of decades ago if it had been applied to the Royal Mail !

Traffic monitoring CCTV systems with number plate recognition technology store data of journeys and share it with the increasing capacity of the Police National Computer.

Children are rewarded for spying on and reporting their neighbours..

A man is made a criminal because he overfilled his bin. If he'd just dumped the rubbish in a ditch down the road he'd still have a clean sheet !

We are assured by those in power that it is all for the good. Where is it all leading to ? We are now getting into a situation where there are laws that can be used to suppress the very freedoms that so many people have died (and are dying) to protect. The assurances from Westminster are worthless if the power slips into the wrong hands.

Hitler was elected.

Now standing by to be blasted as this is nowt to do with airstrikes in Gaza. Jacko, take a break from aviation and investigate the death of a living democracy in the 21st century.

Jeez, I get more like Victor Meldrew every day :rolleyes:

Aren't those Omegas smart moto....................................

Sounds like a country nearby in the 1930's.

10th Jan 2009, 19:58

I thought that:

1) The site was no longer owned by Danny, and so wasn't subject to the same 'personal' constraints.
2) That Danny, to his great credit, had softened on the 'blanket ban' approach, while remaining understandably hostile to overtly and blatantly anti-Israeli posts.

I'd hope that we'd all agree that Hamas are a pretty loathsome bunch.

Microlight AV8or,

Agreed. Perhaps that's why we get steamed at any further erosions of free speech in places such as this?

10th Jan 2009, 20:18
Free speach, mmm I see - when has that been part of the military thing - may be go to another forum/thread???? Got enough problems in Stan without bothering about the other fools.

10th Jan 2009, 21:00
For what it's worth, I have about as much military experience as this here pencil eraser, and I took one look at news footage of those shells exploding and thought "ho hum, the Israelis are firing white phosphorus into Gaza."

So nobody's really keeping any secrets here.

Double Zero
10th Jan 2009, 21:08
The 'go elsewhere' may become a reality if this sort of thing carries on; it's not difficult to build websites.

If I were to set one up, I'd listen to Hamas and Israel to an extent,( though not taking blatant propaganda from either, and Al Queda can go and ----- themselves.

I hope that sounds fair enough...

10th Jan 2009, 21:19
I don't think this issue is unique to Proone.

10th Jan 2009, 22:05
I was puzzled, I have to say, since the threads had generally been good humoured and civilised, if occasionally impassioned, and since undercurrents of anti-semitism (which do exist) had not shown their ugly face. Even Israel's critics weren't shy of condemning Hamas, either.

Only the issue surrounding the use of one particular type of weapon looked seriously damaging to the Israeli case.

Censorship like this therefore looks a bit desparate, and it looks as though the Israeli side is afraid of debate. Which would be uncharacteristic.

10th Jan 2009, 22:17
Oy vey, say it isn't so.

Brewster Buffalo
10th Jan 2009, 22:20
I don't think this issue is unique to Proone.

I'd read that radio phone-ins were being very careful with the subject.

There is no real British connection to either side so I'm not sure why the sensitivity here though I could support a rule that any references to Hitler or the Nazis in a post gets the thread locked! :)

10th Jan 2009, 22:29

I am a very busy bloke who wishes he had time to politically stand up in a "Clarkson type of way" and kick the UK back into the 1970s.

If your not too busy please run for Govt.

If there was a party who were left of BNP, non racist, not Euro condescending and willing to tell the flourescent jacket brigade to shove it, we could possible restore us to a good country again.


10th Jan 2009, 22:38
If you DO go for political appointment - I'll vote for you.

10th Jan 2009, 22:52
There is no real British connection to either side so I'm not sure why the sensitivity here though I could support a rule that any references to Hitler or the Nazis in a post gets the thread locked!

Godwin's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_Law).


11th Jan 2009, 00:11
Highlander, that's just mischief making; I invoke Quirk's Exception - carry on!;)

The Equivocator
11th Jan 2009, 01:37

Isn't this all part of the reason that PPRune is half(?) as busy as it has been in the past.

There are the usual suspects (and I don't discount myself!) but the number of well informed posts from occasional posters is much lower than it used to be...

The Nimrod and C130 threads (CH47 too?) caused a malaise in nascent posters.

Maybe it's spreading..

Bunker Mentality
11th Jan 2009, 11:20

There is no need to invoke Quirk's Exception, since Godwin's Law was not invoked - it was simply mentioned as the name of the rule regulating mention of the Nazis and the automatic loss of an argument by the first person to compare their opponent unjustifiably to Hitler/Nazis.

It's not enough simply to mention the Nazis or Hitler (or Brewster's post would have done the trick) :8

11th Jan 2009, 11:48
I thought that:
1) The site was no longer owned by Danny, and so wasn't subject to the same 'personal' constraints.
2) That Danny, to his great credit, had softened on the 'blanket ban' approach, while remaining understandably hostile to overtly and blatantly anti-Israeli posts.
I'd hope that we'd all agree that Hamas are a pretty loathsome bunch.

Jacko, I didn't mention a name, or an opinion, only the forum rules as I have always understood them.

Mick Smith
11th Jan 2009, 12:01
There are clearly legitimate issues to be discussed over the air attacks on Gaza, rules of war, proportionality, the need to keep civilian deaths to a minimum that are as relevant to any conflict as they are to Gaza and are actually the sort of issue that a forum for military air crew should be all about.

The problem with this issue is that it attracts idiots who arent interested in reasoned debate on the specific issues, which make life impossible for those moderating the thread. Unfortunately the problem is less about anti-semitism - although it undoubtedly comes to the fore as well - than about a limited but vocal group of supporters of Israel who seek to suppress any criticism of Israel however justified. Between the two sides the job of any moderator does as I say become impossible so presumably that is why the threads are taboo. It is however paradoxical that criticising US pilots for occasional lapses is allowed while criticising a nation for policies that inevitably mean large scale civilian casualties is banned.

11th Jan 2009, 13:28
I was under the firm impression that the problem was criticism of Arab/Muslim sensitivities that earned a ban or a thread pulled.

I can just about cope with some the antics displayed by management but it's the way that they treat their "customer", ie, us, that gets my goat. If they are going to pull a thread then why not have some sort of statement saying why. At least they appear to be sending messages to individuals saying why they are being banned. I suppose that's some form of progress.

Ewan Whosearmy
11th Jan 2009, 13:44

Whilst it does not answer the question of censorship, do remember that Google is always your friend.

It'll be interesting to see if this thread is closed then deleted, and whether I get banned for having the cheek to exercise free speech! And if it is, there'll at least be a permanent record of it on Google's all-capturing cache :).

As for the nitwits who talk about this being a 'private website', or say 'go elsewhere', you fail to realise that this site is subsidised by the very members that you are flipping the bird to - whether that be directly, or indirectly as the target audience of the advertisers who pay for banners here.

Cached copies of all three threads:

What type of shell ? - PPRuNe Forums (

Gaza 2 - PPRuNe Forums (

Shell thread closure. - PPRuNe Forums (

11th Jan 2009, 15:11
You have been banned for the following reason:
You get a ´NO´on the Mil forum and then try to start the revolution on JB? Learn to take no for an answer if you want to continue ppruning.
Date the ban will be lifted: 17th January 2009, 09:00

Funnily enough, the person in question wasn't given a 'NO' from the moderation staff despite sending two polite private messages to the mods asking on what grounds the threads had been closed. No replies recieved by all accounts. The original Shell thread had the message 'Closed due to going off thread' placed by PPrune Pop. And the thread has now been pruned but not re opened? If he stuck to his guns and locked every thread that went off topic, Pprune wouldn't have any threads.

11th Jan 2009, 16:02
Censorship is always ugly no matter how it is dressed up.

OUTDOORSmagic Forum (http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/forum/forum.asp?sp=372267262163230280582&v=8)

That's not a mil site, but is run by a UK walking/mountaineering type magazine.

Click on "Soapbox" then go to the "Israel attempts at genocide in Palestine" thread.

Right ding dong in there, but no censorship.

11th Jan 2009, 16:31
This isn't the only website where discussions like this are either banned or restricted. It is becoming more common. Another site I frequent, is American and during the recent US election, the mods got fed up and simply banned all political and religious topics. Not just Israel based topics, all of them.

The reason? Simple enough, people couldn't behave themselves. The bigots and extremists used every opportunity to hammer home their extremism. Flame wars escalated. It was the same here. That kind of thing won't be tolerated on a website for long.

It's not censorship, PPRuNe isn't a free country. It's owned by someone and is a business. You don't have the right to free speech here and you shouldn't expect it.

11th Jan 2009, 18:20
Call me old fashioned but I would have thought that a much viewed site would be popular with advertisers. That said, do we as individuals choose to support advertisers who object to what we are saying. Are we wrongly assuming that it’s the advertisers, though?

In all fairness, such debate can be a nutter magnet and the Moderators do have other things to do. Why is life never bloody simple?

11th Jan 2009, 18:20
It is, however a UK-based discussion board, so one would expect some degree of free speech, and certainly not over-sensitive and one-sided censorship.


Thanks. When I looked, only Gaza 2 had been cached.

What most exercises me is that valuable threads are being removed altogether - when (if they're veering off topic) a better option would simply be to close them, so that they remained visible as they plummeted down and down to obscurity.

11th Jan 2009, 18:39
and the Moderators do have other things to do

Like what? Moderate? :hmm:

11th Jan 2009, 18:58
Maybe the best thing for everyone, except Hamas, is for Israel to finish the job?

The West Bank model

James Forsyth (http://www.spectator.co.uk/search/author/?searchString=James%20Forsyth) 12:34pm http://www.spectator.co.uk/article_images/articledir_6445/3222556/1_listing.jpgAt the beginning of Israel’s action in Gaza many claimed that it would bring down the more moderate Fatah-run Palestinian Authority on the West Bank. But it has not. Walter Isaacson of the US Palestinian partnership tells Jeffrey Goldberg (http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/01/good_news_from_palestine.php) that it is because the Palestinians on the West Bank can see what peace would bring that things have remained relatively quiet: "There has been double-digit growth in the economy, and people have a stake in the future because of what Salam Fayyad and others have done to improve conditions there," Walter said. "And Israelis have responded by encouraging economic development. I think that people in the West Bank have a clear sense of what peace would bring them, and that's a prosperous state."
As Goldberg comments, “What was true before the Gaza incursion remains true now: The best hope for a two-state solution is a vibrant West Bank that could serve as a role model for the people of Gaza.” But Hamas’ opposition to a two state solution and commitment to the destruction of the state of Israel means that there will never be peace as long as it controls Gaza.

Double Zero
11th Jan 2009, 20:21
My post , and my sentiment, was actually pro-Israeli, just disgusted by the use of airburst phosporous, a huge mistake at every level, and I do feel sorry for the civilian victims ( which I'd think would be 99% of what such a weapon ends up hitting ).

The nuts firing rockets don't care, and will count this as a PR victory beyond their wildest dreams.

If there are 'unwritten rules' on Pprune, then write them; i.e, as I'm interested in aircraft history I might well mention Hitler etc, but it wouldn't be in a positive way !

12th Jan 2009, 09:22
Western Media show wounded/dead Palestinian kids but fail to show other viewpoints.

http://www.pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_AhmadYassinClipKids.asx :rolleyes:

A whole generation of hatred will not fade away. Religion is not for the pious but mainly for the bigot - sadly.

12th Jan 2009, 09:33
thanks Bo Nalls.

Straight answer to a straight question. Those that want to find out more on this smoke projectile go to:-

M825 155mm Projectile (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/m825.htm)

12th Jan 2009, 13:40
Like what? Moderate? :hmm:

Like a day job Sidrat. I have been invited to moderate a different BB and while it offers the means to satisfy meglomanic maniac tendencies I would not do it for all the tea in China. A thankless test where you may be accused of over-moderating, as here, or under-moderating where you may be too slow.

On the whole I think the mods do a good job and probably moderate to their own rules rather than a cook book of banned substances.

Possibly an underused function is the red triangle and exclam. That seems to work a treat.

12th Jan 2009, 13:46
thanks Bo Nalls.

Straight answer to a straight question. Those that want to find out more on this smoke projectile go to:-

M825 155mm Projectile (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/m825.htm)

A fascinating link and a view from the other end of the telescope perhaps?

12th Jan 2009, 13:51

I don't think anyone is criticising PPRuNe moderating in general, it's the specifics on censorship on this particular issue.

13th Jan 2009, 12:23
I do wish that if a mod sees fit to move a thread he would have the decency to leave a 'moved' shadow in the original forum.

Anyone would think they wanted to bury criticism......

13th Jan 2009, 12:38
Anyone would think they wanted to bury criticism......
The mods do their job according to what the owners want. Their personal preferences have little to do with it.

And the free speech thing that everyone is so fond of bleating about ... think of it like this: if you do not like cricket being discussed in your house, you have every right to stop your visitors from talking about it. They can whine about freedom of speech all they like but it won't make a shred of difference ... in your house, YOU say what goes and what doesn't. It's exactly the same here. Private website = owners controlling what happens.

13th Jan 2009, 12:48
Jacko, I have a suggestion for you.

Build your own website, over which you can have full personal control. Invite everyone over for political discussion. Moderate it as you wish, or allow free rein. Stop whinging on this one.

Everyone should be happy.

13th Jan 2009, 13:01
Free Speech is for the Town Square.

On another site I frequent It is made quite clear:

"Consider this a dinner party on Private Property".

13th Jan 2009, 13:21
No-one's arguing for unrestricted freedom to discuss anything, but this is supposed to be a DISCUSSION FORUM, and it's very purpose is surely to provide a platform for whatever the members want to discuss - even including matters relating to how the site is run.

One therefore expects it to 'do what it says on the tin', and for moderation to be light, intelligent, transparent and accountable.

When PPRuNe was Danny's private fiefdom, there was some justification for a "my trainset, my rules" approach when it came to the subject of Israel, but there's clearly no such justification now, while heavy handed censorship could hit the advertisers.

I would observe that moderation (across the board, and not just in relation to Israel) has become progressively heavier, to the evident dissatisfaction of many members.

JB Mods
13th Jan 2009, 14:53
This thread was sent here from the Mil forum.
As has been explained ad nauseam here on JB off late:

We'd prefer you not to discuss politics & religion. Two subjects that almost inevitably seem to lead to some people losing the plot completely and Mods having to work overtime. For those who can't help themselves there are the Hamster Wheel threads. If you absolutely need to talk politics, do it there. Do not start new political threads, they will be closed or merged. If you choose to participate in a Hamster Wheel thread, show some restraint and a goodly dose of maturity. If the Mods feel that members lack the willingness to behave in an adult fashion, a politics free time-out for some or all political subjects will be implemented