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Gatwick City of Ideas (GCI) :Who We Are, What We Do, and Why

Re: Gatwick City of Ideas (GCI) :Who We Are, What We Do, and

Postby kingswood » Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:09 pm

I think wer'e splitting hairs here. It's the fear factor, this is not just a play on words. We can see what is happening in todays world, the attempt to stifle the truth by whatever means is plain to anyone who cares for a civilised society.
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Re: Gatwick City of Ideas (GCI) :Who We Are, What We Do, and

Postby RichardWSymonds » Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:16 pm

I don't understand you Eddie - and I don't think I'm "splitting hairs".

You slagged off Ben Gurion's wise words because of his Zionism - which perplexed me.

I agree with his comment - but by agreeing with his comment doesn't mean I agree with his Zionism.

Even Hitler must have said certain things we can agree with - although nothing comes to mind !
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Re: Gatwick City of Ideas (GCI) :Who We Are, What We Do, and

Postby kingswood » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:06 pm

I'm a little confused myself. The fact that one makes a remark about the freedom to speak out, well that's ok but if those words are meaningless what then. David Ben Gurian talks about democracy and freedom while denying the Palestinian people that very thing.
Of course it's admirable to hear that Hitler and Stalin at some stage
said that enjoying the right to free expression was fine if it suited them, but as many discovered to their cost it meant very little.
I would like to repeat something I said many years ago when I was on the old chat line. During the course of the old soviet regime going
right back to when Kruschev exposed some of passed effects during
Stalin's oppressive rule. A note was handed to Kruschev while on the platform which asked the question why he or other Party heads had not spoken out. Kruschev asked the person who sent the note to stand or raise their hand after a short time nobody responded, to which Kruschev said this is why nobody questioned Stalin.
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Re: Gatwick City of Ideas (GCI) :Who We Are, What We Do, and

Postby RichardWSymonds » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:35 pm

Eddie, how many politicians can you think of, in power, who DO talk about "democracy & freedom", and DON'T deny that to a group of people ?

In other words, how many politicians genuinely 'walk the talk' of democracy & freedom ?
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Re: Gatwick City of Ideas (GCI) :Who We Are, What We Do, and

Postby kingswood » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:16 pm

I'm sorry there's a fault my computor as soon as I am able I will be back
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Re: GCI Analysts : Who We Are - What We Do - and Why

Postby RichardWSymonds » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:10 pm

http://inagist.com/all/236569867988385792/

Noam Chomsky: "Good indication of the importance of whistleblowers is the way they're being treated"

The more you can increase fear of drugs & crime, welfare mothers, immigrants & aliens, the more you control all the people. ~ Noam Chomsky

Chomsky on Assange
Interview on whistleblowers and how they are treated ...
http://newmatilda.com/2012/08/17/assang ... ew-chomsky

“It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies.” - Noam Chomsky

Chomsky: "Good indication of the importance of whistleblowers is the way they're being treated" http://t.co/TSNmfTlh
Noam Chomsky Applauds Whistleblowers - YouTube

Video interview. Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, author of No FEAR: A Whistleblower's Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the Environmental Protection Age... ...

Intervention : Says it all, no? Assange supporters: Michael Moore, George Galloway, Jemima Khan, Tariq Ali, Seumas Milne, Noam Chomsky & co.@MoAnsar : Noam Chomsky once said “It's not radical Islam that worries the US - it's independence”.

Britain's Foreign Office says Julian Assange will be denied safe passage out of the country - even if he's granted asylum by Ecuador -

LIVE UPDATES
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19309183


RichardWSymonds wrote:Julian Assange & The Freedom of Free Speech - by Professor Stuart Rees (University of Sydney)

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13709

There are a few days left to appeal the British High Court's five to two ruling that Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to be interviewed about alleged sexual assault. Regarding that appeal, almost all the commentary since the Court announced its decision has revolved around legal nit picking on issues such as whether the Swedish prosecutor is a recognised judicial authority. Assange's lawyers can't be faulted for their focus on such technicalities but other issues will stand the test of time long after this extradition paraphernalia has been resolved.

These 'other issues' concern the WikiLeaks-Assange challenge to governments' secrecy, the barely concealed violence, which characterises American policy in regard to whistleblowers, the cowardice of leading Australian politicians over the Assange controversy and, finally, the implications of the Assange-Bradley Manning cases for any future conception of justice.

As the project for democracy evolved over many centuries, secrecy became a key means of governance. Rulers assumed, ironically, that not only was this a key means of sustaining open government, but that citizens who challenged such notions threatened the very viability of a State. WikiLeaks and Julian Assange follow a tradition of highly significant dissenters to whom we owe gratitude for key freedoms, of speech, of the press and of association. Those WikiLeaks forerunners include the 18th century English satirist Daniel Defoe who, in 1702, was imprisoned for challenging the power of Church and State but who wrote in the famous Hymn to the Pillory, 'Tell them I stand exalted there for speaking what they would not hear.' Ninety years later, in 1792, Tom Paine, author of The Rights of Man was charged with sedition for questioning the secret manner in which State authority was maintained and false claims made about citizens, who dared to say that human rights represented a much higher authority than governments.

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At a time when the Nixon Administration in the U.S. attempted to cover up details of the conduct of the Vietnam War and the extent of the casualties resulting from it, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg revealed truths about government policies and in his own recent words, did no more then than Bradley Manning is alleged to have done now. In his revelations in the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg provided a key service to democracy little different in principle from that which Assange and Manning have given. If those two citizens - one in a U.S. jail awaiting trial, another about to be extradited to Sweden - could be judged, as Ellsberg was, according to the historical value of their actions, the world's media would be concerned with human rights issues. In 1971 Ellsberg was charged with conspiracy and espionage but all charges were subsequently dropped and a U.S. Supreme Court, in covert praise for Ellsberg's courage insisted, 'Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.'

There is justifiable fear that so great is the U.S. government's desire for revenge against anyone who dares to challenge their authority, that the utterances of US leaders should be listened to very carefully. We might begin by comparing U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich’s comments last week that his government was not interested in Assange with the anger of other U.S. leaders and commentators. The latter includes a Presidential hopeful Mike Huckerbee who said, 'Whoever leaked that (Wikileaks based) information is guilty of treason and I think that anything less than execution is too kind a penalty.' Republican Sara Palin wanted Assange 'Hunted down like Bin Laden' and a Fox News anchorman commented, 'It may be illegal but I encourage any concerned U.S. citizen to get their gun and shoot the son of a bitch.'

The idea that violence of almost any kind is the best response to dissenters like citizen Assange should make Australian leaders repudiate the U.S. 'revenge is sweet' culture. There has been ample opportunity for the Australian government to ask whether a grand jury in Virginia was attempting to concoct charges against Assange and to insist that it would use every means to prevent such a citizen being extradited to the U.S.

The Australian Prime Minister at first inferred that Assange had committed an offence, a claim subsequently disproved by the Australian Federal Police. Subsequently the Attorney General said that he'd need to consider confiscating Assange's passport, even though no charges had been laid, let alone any conviction recorded. It's as though the mantra about the value of secrecy in a war against terrorism ensured that leaders of an important democracy too easily forgot their responsibilities to sustain openness, to demystify the games played by secret agents of a State, and did not consider whether the best service they could provide to their ally the U.S. was to say that violence or threats of violence have no place in government.

A lesson from the Assange controversy is what we may learn about the nature of justice.

Regarding the value of various Wikileaks revelations about the conduct of governments, such as the diplomatic cables about the conduct of the Afghan war and the collateral damage video showing U.S. marines 2007 murder of eleven civilians including children in a Baghdad street, the Australian Prime Minister confessed in an ABC Q & A program, ‘I don’t get it.’

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The people protesting on behalf of Julian Assange on Sydney and Melbourne streets last week do ‘get’ the value of Wikileaks releases, they do understand that a superpower has no more entitlement to seek revenge than ordinary citizens. Those protesters’ conception of justice includes an insistence on the right to protest and a demand that powerful institutions and individuals should be held accountable irrespective of governments’ claims about a need to protect national sovereignty

Professor Noam Chomsky knows the significance of Julian Assange’s actions. On my way to London last year, to award Assange the Sydney Peace Foundation’s ‘occasional gold medal for human rights’, Noam Chomsky penned the following message to Julian. ‘I would like to thank you for fulfilling your responsibilities as a member of free societies whose citizens have every right to know what their government is doing.’

When the dust has settled on the legal technicalities and the political inanities, the real issues of openness and accountability as the cornerstone of democracy will remain. Assange needs to be supported because of the service he does to the presentation of human rights and democratic governance.
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Re: Gatwick City of Ideas (GCI) :Who We Are, What We Do, and

Postby RichardWSymonds » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:02 am

One Reason Why Gatwick City Of Ideas (GCI) Will Remain Committed To A "No Constraints" Policy

http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithh ... ght-blogs/

The New Order at Freethought Blogs
August 22, 2012 at 1:37 am Daniel Fincke

A year ago I wrote my first post at Freethought Blogs (before I found out that my blog wasn’t going to be formally introduced or linked from the front page for another week and a half). It is staggering to think of how much has gone down in the last 12 months in my life, on my blog, on the Freethought Blogs network, and behind the scenes of Freethought Blogs. On net, it has been an extraordinarily exciting, productive, and satisfying year for me and I like to think for the network as a whole. But as is well
known there have been some real dark spots for our community.
In the beginning there was such a wonderfully instant collegiality among all the bloggers who were here by the time of the September 1 launch of new blogs. We gelled together quickly and were all so enthusiastic about the prospects for our new venture. We were able for months to reason out decisions by consensus, to trust one another easily, and to simply assume that our shared values didn’t need codification to be reliable. We were a strong community of independently minded people bound informally by common purpose.
But there are reasons that groups need structures, rules, procedures, institutions, and explicit articulation of what they stand for. As we have learned the hard way, you cannot always naïvely trust that every new person who wants to join is simply going to share the goals and ethos that define you as a group. It helps to establish upfront for prospective candidates for membership what you are fundamentally about, and for you to have a clear idea about that yourself  when looking for new members in the first place. It also helps to look at what kinds of practices worked when things were running smoothly and lay them down as general expectations that newcomers should be expected to understand and adopt as norms. It also helps to look at sources of chaos and dissension and figure out how to remedy them.

In the last year, we have grown too big to operate by voice votes and we have had a few bloggers bring to our group dealings a poisonous penchant for instigation that was wholly absent for the first months of the network. In the beginning things ran so very smoothly than when we had our first experience with an acrimonious person we were all primarily bewildered. Now we have had a few more serious meltdowns and realized what all successful organizations that have gone before have–that you cannot rely on people’s good judgment and self-control alone to establish a thriving community. You need to have some explicit guidelines for the confused, the immature, and the weak of will.
As a result, Ed and PZ have devised some very good new rules spell out both the procedures by which we will make sure future bloggers we add will be the kinds of people who will fit our community well and the kinds of expectations for dealing with one
another that will be necessary to avoid having the group be riven by factiousness.
PZ has given us permission to publish our new, provisional, statement of values, rules, structures, and procedures. This is a good idea so that should anyone be fired in the future, it is clear to all onlookers what the explicit expectations that they violated were. This will also be a helpful clarification to readers about what our shared core values are and help prospective new bloggers who might join the network to know what we stand for and how we are committed to treating each other as colleagues.
I’ll also be explicit in saying that while if I had been consulted I probably would have lobbied for some minor differences in emphasis here or there, I am in the main very satisfied and impressed with what they have come up with and am quite happy to
endorse the document.
So, with no further ado, below the fold are the details of the new, more formal, arrangement Freethought Blogs bloggers will be working under:

Freethoughtblogs Rules

These are provisional rules. We’re going to implement them now, and in March 2013, after they’ve had a fair trial, we’ll consider revisions.

Freethoughtblogs is a community of bloggers who share a goal: the advancement of secularism through argument and discussion. To achieve that goal, we also value diversity (reaching every element of society is a priority), social justice, equality, and science and reason. We are skeptics and critics of dogma and authoritarianism.
Our network of blogs is designed to encourage independent thinking and individual autonomy — freethoughtblogs.com itself is a vehicle for giving vocal secularists a venue for discussion of their values and interests. The administration of this organization will interfere in the activities of individual blogs as little as possible, and will not impose any specific dictates on how individual blogs are managed. However, there must be some minimal regulation of the activities of the network as a whole that require some administrative structure, and providing that is the purpose of this document — to define a hierarchy to regulate the network (but not individual blogs) activity, and to lay out a set of procedures for changes to the network.
The official entities in this organization are:
Manager: Ed Brayton, founder of the network, fills this role. The Manager’s job is to handle the business side of the group, selling ad space, disbursing revenues, and managing network hosting.
Webmaster: The webmaster is in charge of the technical aspects of the site. He or she answers only to the Manager.
Executive Committee: The Executive Committee will have the job of making decisions about new additions to the network, and taking punitive measures against bloggers who violate rules. Decisions made by the Executive Committee will be based on feedback from the Network.
The Network: The group of individual bloggers who are hosted at freethoughtblogs will be referred to as the Network. Each blog will have equal input to all decisions affecting the group.
Other committees: At the discretion of the Executive Committee, other committees may be formed from members of the Network to perform specific tasks. In particular, an Admissions Committee will be formed to evaluate candidates for new blogs.
The Executive Committee

The membership of the committee will consist of:
Ed Brayton
PZ Myers
Two members to be appointed by Ed Brayton, with renewable one year terms
One member to be elected by majority vote of the Network, to have a renewable 6 month term.
The Executive Committee will meet by Skype or phone conferencing at least once a month, to discuss the state of the organization and to evaluate any pending action items. Minutes will be taken and published to the Network mailing list.
All decisions of the Executive Committee will be made by a majority vote in a conference call or email conversation.
The Network

Every blog on freethoughtblogs.com is considered a part of the Network. Each blog (not each blogger, since some blogs have multiple contributors) will have one equal vote in all decisions. Any questions submitted to the Network for voting will be announce on the network mailing list, with a specific deadline for voting; a 2/3 majority of the members that actually reply is required for passage.
The Network Mailing List

The network mailing list is maintained by the webmaster; it includes every member of the Network who wishes to be on it, except those who have had access restricted.
All emails sent or received on the list are considered to be private. Disclosure of the contents of discussions on the mailing list to others outside the Network is grounds for revocation of mailing list privileges; continued or egregious violations of privacy will be grounds for removal from the Network.
Since the purpose of the mailing list is to encourage open communication between members of the network, all discussions must be civil and drama is frowned upon; disagreement and criticism is encouraged, but only in the spirit of constructive improvement of the content of the Network. Other kinds of disagreement must be taken off-list, so that they do not disrupt free and friendly discussion. The mailing list is not to be an arena.
Threats, harassment, and personal abuse will not be tolerated on the mailing list. If personal conflicts are interfering with your ability to discuss matters politely, take it to the Executive Committee by email for mediation.
The Executive Committee can revoke mailing list privileges in response to any violations of privacy. The purpose of the mailing list is to allow discussions, however, so revocation should never be made lightly or permanently; losing internetwork communication is a very serious issue.
PROCEDURES

Admitting new bloggers to the Network

There are certain criteria a blogger must fit to belong to this Network:
They must be a freethinker, not a proponent of a specific religion or dogma
They must have demonstrated quality and reliability of output, with good reason to think they will be active bloggers
They must share a commitment to the values of the Network, which include diversity, equality, and social justice as well as atheism
They should be collegial, and willing to participate enthusiastically in the shared goals of the network
As a Network, we’ll also aspire to recruiting diverse bloggers to the cause; differences in background, values, and priorities within the broad framework of our mission are to be sought out and valued.
The Admissions Committee

A committee of at least 3 members will be formed by nomination of the Executive Committee. The role of the Admissions Committee is to mediate nominations for new members, conduct preliminary assessments of candidates, and to carry out interviews of potential new Network members.
At any time, the Executive Committee can dissolve the current Admissions Committee and request the Network to form a new one.
Any Network member can suggest new bloggers (Nominees) to the Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee will maintain a list of suggestions, and carry out preliminary investigations of the suitability of Nominees.
The Admissions Committee, and only the Admissions Committee, can at any time request that the Executive Committee consider a nominee for admission to the Network. The Executive Committee is then obligated to make a decision within two weeks about whether the Nominee should be taken on.
A request to the Executive Committee to consider someone for admission requires:
Documentation of the current writing skills of the candidate
References from at least 5 Network members other than those on the Admissions Committee who approve of the Candidate
Results of a poll of the Network that show a majority approving of admission
A summary of a direct, personal interview of the Admissions Committee with the candidate to assess the suitability and collegiality of the candidate
The evaluation will be submitted to the Executive Committee for approval.
Dismissal of bloggers from the network

Removal of unsuitable bloggers from the Network is never to be undertaken casually. The criteria for asking that someone be removed are:
Multiple violations of privacy
Persistent disruption of the mailing list with violations of etiquette
Harassment — continuation of a behavior when requested to stop
Criminal behavior, such as the posting of child pornography
Active violations of the mission of the network: using a blog to set up an anti-atheist, racist, or anti-gay center, for instance
Prolonged abandonment of the blog, without suitable explanation (for example, a soldier sent off on active duty, or a blogger with a book commitment are reasonable excuses)
The following conditions will not be considered valid reasons for expulsion:
Personal animus
Disagreement on tactics, style, or focus
Change in philosophy or religion, unless it actively conflicts with the mission of Freethoughtblogs
Any blogger can request the expulsion of another, given good grounds. However, these requests should not be made on the mailing list, nor should the mailing list be used to threaten colleagues with expulsion. This is not behavior conducive to uninhibited communication, and can poison the well for further discussion. All suggestions for expulsion should be sent to the Executive Committee by email.
Consideration for expulsion will be made entirely at the Executive Committee’s discretion. Do not nag the Executive Committee; requests will be tallied and discussed privately.
If the Executive Committee decides that there are reasonable grounds for expulsion, this fact will be disclosed to the offending blogger, and they will be given an opportunity to explain and correct their behavior. This will not be subject to public discussion. That a blogger has been censured will not be disclosed to other members of the Network, and if the problems are addressed, will never be revealed to the community.
The blogger may request a conference call with the Executive Committee to discuss the issues.
If the offending blogger is recalcitrant or in any way refuses to address the concerns of the Network, the Executive Committee will vote to determine if the blogger should be removed. If a majority agree, the Webmaster will be asked to immediately remove the blogger from the mailing list, remove the blogger’s posting privileges, and close all comments on their blog.
Because continuity on the network is important, the blogs of expelled bloggers will be retained on freethoughtblogs (without the option for adding new posts or comments) at the bloggers choice. If they decide otherwise, the blog may be deleted. A backup of the archive will be provided for the blogger.
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Re: Gatwick City of Ideas (GCI) :Who We Are, What We Do, and

Postby RichardWSymonds » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:19 am

Comments from Above
http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithh ... ght-blogs/

Skeptikel says:
August 22, 2012 at 1:55 am

Time to change the name, I’m thinking… Something other than “Free,” perhaps. “Thought” and “Blogs” are fine as is.

Maybe the top-level domain should best be moved from .com to .gov
Ah well, it wouldn’t be the first misleading domain name. No worries, it’s no biggie at the end of the day. Might as well just keep the current one regardless of the issues, since it’s an established name/domain. I am empathetic to the massive undertaking of changing to more fitting names/domains for sure…
It was a thought, anyway.


Richard W. Symonds says:
August 22, 2012 at 2:15 am

“New Order”…..”Free Thought Blog Rules”…?!

I find this a disturbing & concerning development – sorry.
post2656.html#p2656 (please
scroll to end)

Richard W. Symonds
Founder Member of the Gatwick City of Ideas “No Constraints” Forum
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