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UPDATE 2009: The Discussion Of "Illegal Activity" On The Above Network Sites (ATS, BTS, AP).

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posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 07:15 PM
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The World We Live In


Originally posted by FreeThinkerIdealist
Hope maybe someone smiled. There is no animosity here, hope there isn't for anyone else

Not at all. :shk:

As SkepticOverlord so eloquently said, it sucks. We know it. Believe me we do.

We want our fellow members to understand if they can, to know why it has to be this way and that we're doing our best.

And we know there are plenty of members who disagree with this decision, as is their right.

Also, it's okay to vent in this thread. That's why it's here, after all.


But the bottom line is that this is indeed ATS policy, the staff will enforce it and in the world we live in, that's just the way it is.

I'm truly sorry.




posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 07:34 PM
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To set this straight -my own record included- I like to tell of an experience I had with google on another board, where we had the possibility individually to apply for ads on our blog and get the revenue ourself. I applied and got a two page answer back. It was some kind of legal writing hardly broken up in paragraphs, quite impossible to read. Well, what it said was: Your blog is of mature contents, therefore not family-oriented, so we are not interested to put ads on it.

Just to say several considerations are in play here. As I said earlier I respect them as the decisions of the owners.

My own place of posting in mind, I have given the argument put forth here a little thought and have come to the conclusion I must accept them. It would be more than a bummer to me if they closed down ATS in Thailand.

That said, it is a dangerous path to bow down for PC and legalities of every country, an issue I far from finished contemplating on. If the thinking would be taken to its furthest intend, we couldn't have reported on Burma like we've done the past month. If we had any members there, they're definately shut out now, and won't have s a change to access ATS before another regime is up.

For a close I will defend myself and say, when you start a thread you have very little influence where it is taken. The hotter the topic the less you can control it. I have started a few drug related threads and except for a three word slip, I have never advocated for its use. I have warned. You can see it here in the very very first thread where I discussed the subject.
www.abovetopsecret.com...

To Springer I would like to say thanks for coining stonealog, great word, says everything. Let me impress on the topic drugs, to me the overall importance is to distinguish between 'soft' and 'hard' drugs. Of the latter I see a few references (any is one too many for me) both in screen names and anecdotes on the boards.

I can only regret the stoners took us to this decision. Just yesterday there was a story from Holland, I would have liked to report, on magic mushrooms. It could have served as a warning, even soft drugs can kill. Now you have to learn yourself. Hopefully not with your life.

This for my part closes the discussion. I hope I made it clear no matter my own private association with drugs, I never advocates its use (except for my three word slip).

"Some things are too hot to touch / The human mind can only stand that much" Bob Dylan



posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 09:12 PM
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Originally posted by xpert11
In terms of the ATS election does that mean that because I posted elements of my Marijuana plank before the "enforcement" of the T&C I can still discuss the my policy which is legalizing Marijuana ?
Note I have already sent a U2U to a Mod about this matter and I never got a reply.



Right I am bumping my own question because I have yet to receive an answer in any form.
: not a one line post . :



posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 11:46 PM
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reply to post by xpert11
 


I not sure but I think the election is pretty much done. Too bad, it would have been fun.

khunmoon, I'm sending you a u2u that wouldn't be admissable on the board.



posted on Oct, 19 2007 @ 11:47 PM
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Caffeine is mind altering, alcohol is mind altering, I see "I got drunk, I'm going to drink, etc" on these boards all the time. Alcohol is a drug, to deny it is to proclaim pure ignorance. Its a drug that kills more Americans annually than guns do.

We have had extensive threads on the effects of chemicals put into our food which cause attention deficit disorder as well as many "I take that drug for my ADD" etc, without any mod action.

Threads in the news about anti-depressants increasing depression and suicide, etc.
Plenty of posts with "I took drug x for my depression"
That falls right into the mind altering niche.

I'm pretty sure mercury/thermasol causing autism would fall into "mind altering" unless autism has nothing to do with the mind eh?

Wasn't there just a very long thread about a guy with a video with another guy raping a four year old. That went on for how many pages. Isn't that specfically forbidden in the T&C?

Ignorance Denied or Hypocrisy Enshrined?



posted on Oct, 19 2007 @ 11:53 PM
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The Eye Of The Due Beholder


Originally posted by Legalizer
Ignorance Denied or Hypocrisy Enshrined?

You decide.



posted on Oct, 20 2007 @ 12:09 AM
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Personaly. If something here of mine gets edited by a mod I take it with a grain of salt. There are many forums on the net and many moderators that will censor and edit with alot less provaction than the mods show here.... However I rarely see a site with more mods than this one and while I understand the high volume of posters requires a high amount of mods it can lead to some preferential edits. And again I care with a grain of salt. My speech although free is being displayed on someone elses property. so if my speech is removed from there property then I accept it as I don't own it.

Just for the record I am anti-prohibition.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 12:37 PM
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That said, it is a dangerous path to bow down for PC and legalities of every country, an issue I far from finished contemplating on. If the thinking would be taken to its furthest intend, we couldn't have reported on Burma like we've done the past month. If we had any members there, they're definately shut out now, and won't have s a change to access ATS before another regime is up.


I am in agreement here.

"Illegal activities" - according to whose laws?

As khunmoon points out, demonstrations for democracy are "illegal activities" in some places. Uncovering government conspiracies is legally shaky under many countries' national security laws.

As a poster from the Netherlands pointed out, marijuana use is not illegal there - the same is likely to be true of Canada soon.

On the other hand, for instance, homosexual behavior is illegal in much of the Middle East. Should discussions that touch on gay rights be closed down because in some poster's countries it is "illegal activity?"

I don't mean to sound dismissive, I understand SO's rationale as spelled out in the opening post.
But I have to disagree.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 12:48 PM
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reply to post by xmotex
 


That makes me wonder as well. I was thinking along the same lines until I read your post. The common reasoning is that this is a family site and they want the content clean for a general audience, but then the concept of homosexuality comes up. You are correct, in some middle eastern countries, homosexuality is highly illegal. The punishment in some countries is death, so why allow it here? It certainly does not regard the sensibilities of anyone who might live in those countries does it?

With that, I believe the reasons given are actually an ATS conspiracy in and of itself. I think the real reasons, besides the superficial one of being PC, is to protect ATS from being under the scrutiny of the countries where the server(s) are hosted. By disallowing certain topics, they are trying to keep the government from coming down on them and the possibility of having their servers confiscated and the site shut down. That is probably closer to the truth.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 01:16 PM
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How about looking at the problem from the following perspective... what you post is public.

Being in the public arena means that it is viewable by whomever wishes to mine a website for information, wouldn't you agree?

Now suppose you were to type a threat against a public figure... Ron Paul, for instance. Do you not suppose that might be taken seriously with the resultant authorities eventualy knocking at your door? The identity you've chosen is hardly anonymous and can be traced to the location of the computer you used. Even using a proxy is not enough if the need to intervene on a threat is high enough. There is no anonymnity, really.

Since most of the members who frequent ATS are from countries where certain substances are illegal, would it not be prudent to avoid providing information of illegal activity? Are you willing to have a post stay forever in the public realm, for all to view for years to come, that you are actively doing something illegal?

[scenario]

An American/Canadian member states in a post that s/he purchased a quantity of a particular banned substance.

Another member, a policeman, takes note because he knows which province/state the other member is in.

A phone call, an IP check, a visit from the local constabulary and the subsequent arrest. No more trips abroad, no more good jobs... oops, they've got a criminal record.


[/scenario]

Think it can't happen?


Maybe not today, maybe not next year... but the post is still there in the public record and the War on Drugs carries on.

My 2 cents says 'If you wanna stick your neck out, do it somewhere else, because ATS doesn't allow it and I'm glad they've taken that approach."

Not worth the trouble, imo.

spelling edit



[edit on 12/12/07 by masqua]



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 01:59 PM
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"Sites dedicated to such topics" lack members on all sides of the issue.

The state of conciousness of the masses is the basis of the underlying conspiracy we all seek to understand.

To talk about inner city crime without an understanding and discussion of methamphetamine usage is to endorse ignorance.

To talk about the mexican boarder security with the US without discussion of compressed blocks of mexican flowers and columbian powder is an endorsement of ignorance.

To talk about the war in Afghanistan without discussion of my neighbor's heroin habit... head deep in sand... ignorance.

The subjective set and setting of the people is founded in what they consume.

You are what your food eats

The truth may be in here...

but apparently we're not allowed to talk about it.

it has been said that so long as you do not use your words to encourage another to break the LAW, you have not done so yourself.

pharisaical edicts enacted...

The judge’s authority depends upon the assumption that he speaks with the mouth of others. Judge Learned Hand

I'm biting my lip,

Sri Oracle




posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 02:17 PM
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Now this is where I get confused - threads regarding the relaxation or tightening of the law regarding certain substances are trashed - rightly so by SO's logic, but a thread about a submarine smuggling is allowed, and even contributed to by mods?
www.abovetopsecret.com...

Personally, I'd discuss anything, but isn't there a ban on ALL discussions of this nature?

i.e. anything where illegal substances are mentioned.

I hope someone can clear this up for me, as I am most definitely confused.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 07:21 PM
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all i can say is we all( knew the rules/should have read the rules) when we signed up.

thx for the refresher(and i see that the MODS do spiels on the rules every once and a while)

as was said before(you can be traced, so before you spout off about what is legal where and your right to talk about it, think about the others who don't want to hear about someones delusions of clarity through mind altering practices(as there seems to be a few practitioners who decided to argue these points of rule in this thread while on a trip lol )

doesn't matter how many different ways you ask the same question ( and there have been some almost convincing arguments posed with the same question lol ALMOST but no pass go,NO means NO, it's in the rules,the mods are holding up the red card for ONE topic out of how many.

as was said,you can always go to other sites that are more than receptive to your views. i still don't say f%c@ in front of my mother and i'm 41(it can be a regular part of my vocabulary at times but i know when i shouldn't say it)

let it go and act as enlightened as some claim the practice makes you lol



posted on Dec, 13 2007 @ 05:05 AM
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Hello everyone,

With all due respect, I do not believe the 3 Amigos are being completely candid with us about why they are censoring member’s relevant topics and intelligent discourse on such an important subject matter. The so-called War on Drugs is one of the granddaddies of American conspiracies, tied to a legacy of racial hatred and economic apartheid. In the end, I suspect, this censorship is not as much about drug related content as it is about business and the capitalist mindset.

Because this 900lb gorilla in the living room isn’t going away anytime soon, under the current T&C, ATS members will continue to face this censorship dilemma and ATS staff will constantly be placed in the untenable position of enforcing this obviously irrational policy. I know for myself and some other members, ATS’s basic credibility, due to this issue, has already been harmed.

At this point I suggest that ATS management take the pulse of the membership. I suspect there would be widespread agreement on ATS and even in the general population that we have a huge, decentralized global drug conspiracy. Also, I think there would be considerable agreement, especially on ATS, that today’s drug laws lack Constitutional authority and have seriously weakened civil society. I also think ATS members, for the most part, can separate personal use issues from the bigger policy issues and would support a ban on the first, while still able to carry on meaningful discussions related to the later.

While I do not begrudge the Amigos a living - I know they have earned it - nonetheless if your primary interest at this point is sucking money from the corporate teat, be honest about it. Make it clear that ATS values profits over free speech, that your “aggregate domain score” is more important than the truth.

But please don’t insult our intelligence and pretend you’re protecting us from a few who might go off-topic or be so impertinent as to demand drug policy reform. You concern that children might stumble across a discussion on drugs or drug policy is as inane as it is hypocritical. Kids have nearly unfettered access to illegal drugs that are essentially out of control. Kids these days know more about drugs by 13 than I knew at 50. Of course that’s also a sad commentary on American society today.

Thank you for your kind consideration…

Ps: ATS is a place where adult topics are covered and you amigos should take the proactive step towards implementing age verification and parental permission without having to be told to do so. That’s the appropriate thing, and a smart business move, for any Internet forum. At the same time I think ATS should also proactively recruit young people to participate. The kids – with their parent’s permission and hopefully supervision - need honest exposure to all the topics, including perhaps even especially, drugs and the so-called War on Drugs. Most of what they get in school is propaganda and obviously conflicts with the reality they see everyday on our drug infested streets.


March, 2007, interview with ATS founder, Simon, and co-owners SkepticOverlord and Springer about the site’s fascinating history.


www.youtube.com...



[edit on 12/13/2007 by GreenFloyd]



posted on Dec, 13 2007 @ 06:21 AM
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There are some very interesting and valid points brought up on both sides of the argument.

- A site geared toward conspiracies may well have quite a few 'illegal' topics in the near future.
i.e., gun-control - If the 'prophesies' in the N.W.O. forums come true, then add this topic to the list.


- Also, legal in what country?
Tajikistan now will enforce a fine of $200 for anyone caught practicing fortune telling and other 'mystical' acts.
There goes the whole paranormal forum, at least to the audience in Tajikistan.


- Holland has liberal laws on various issues found illegal in America.

A couple of things here.

Yes ATS is operated from America, so they have to consider the U.S. laws first.
And so far the balancing act has been fine. The thread on Tryptamines and God would seem to be a good example.

Secondly this is an 'english' speaking forum only. - meaning no posting in another language. - I wish this would also mean no annoying flashing ads in Hungarian on this site, any chance of blocking those?


Point is that ATS is geared, it would seem, primarily to a U.S. audience.
(and U.K., whose way of life and laws are not too different.)

But is ATS to go 'global'?
If so what impact will this have?

In one sense it is global now, but to an audience who probably consist of a bunch of expats. So in this regards, it would seem that the perspective of these 'international' folk would align with the views held by the majority here who are American/Brits.

However, living over seas does tend to expand ones mind and view points on things quite a bit. So discussing some topics that may seem taboo isnt that far fetched or frightening as it is to others.

And even further, as people around the world (nationals of the countries, not American/British Expats) begin to find ATS, there may seriously begin to be a larger issue of ATS being blocked in places like China and Tajikistan, etc.

So how do you walk this fine line is the point Im trying to point out.
After all, it is a fine line, and life is made up of perspectives.

Part of that, I suppose, is in how the conversations are carried out.
As S.O. brought up, if you want to protest, there are forums for that elsewhere. - though I swear the N.W.O. forum here feels like a place of protest.


It is a tricky thing indeed to reach a world audience that is quite diverse...not only from the cultural outlook from country to country, but from within those countries and even families.

Religion plays a heavy role in a lot of this, ultimately. (As well as in the U.S.)
So discussion on topics like Tryptamines and God are quite valid as a conspiracy, in and of itself, along side the fact that a lot of abuse is from synthetics coming out of labs backed by government & private funding.

Anyway...interesting topic indeed.


Peace

dAlen



posted on Dec, 13 2007 @ 07:32 AM
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Originally posted by GreenFloyd
With all due respect, I do not believe the 3 Amigos are being completely candid with us about why they are censoring member’s relevant topics and intelligent discourse on such an important subject matter.

We have been completely candid. The policy began several years ago as part of a number of steps to ensure the AboveTopSecret.com domain is minimally censored. If you install and run typical home and office site filtering software (I have), you'll discover that currently there are several outright content alerts and a handful of outright blocks when browsing this site. The problem would be much more pronounced if we were to allow profanities or topics promoting illicit drug use.

Additionally, as we've stated several dozen (if not hundred times), some of the topics we choose to avoid tend to attract a membership that is counter productive to the forward-looking ideals of our overall goal. For example, even the most academic and intelligent thread related to the legalization of certain drugs will attract a disruptive "stoner" element into the discussion... it's unavoidable... it's happened in the past. The same holds true for the discussion of computer hacking.

I also agree that the "war on drugs" is an expansive conspiracy in the most pure definition of the word. Unfortunately, it's impossible to examine that particular conspiracy in an appropriate amount of detail without discussing the legalization option.

In the four years since adopting these policies, as well as strict rules of general decorum, this site has been among the fastest growing "boards" on Big-Boards.com... and for extended periods, the fastest growing. And we're now the most popular and highest-trafficked site in the general conspiracy genre. The policies have worked, and worked well. We get nearly 1 million visits a month from search engine searches... that's unprecedented.



At this point I suggest that ATS management take the pulse of the membership

Among the policies put in place several years ago is an evolution toward a completely agnostic editorial strategy that relies on the "wisdom of our crowd" to create and promote topics of importance to them. The site home and forum summary pages are the culmination of these strategies as the flags assigned by members promote important or interesting subjects to higher priority. Such a system would be worthless if no one visits the site.

And thanks to the interesting topics our members create, and the policies in place, we receive 10 times more general visitors than members... unprecedented for a "discussion board." This means that a vast and growing audience is attracted to what our members create... exposing their thoughts, theories, and priorities to millions of people. We promised to create an infrastructure that would do just that, attract millions. Taking a step backwards in relation to any of these successful policies would jeopardize the popularity of this site and potentially break our promise.

Our traffic is twice what it was this time last year, five times what it was two years ago, eight times what it was three years ago, and nearly fifteen times what it was four years ago. The policies work.

If it were about money, I wouldn't be doing this. There are far easier ways to make much more money online. This is hard work. But it's meaningful work, and that's important to me and my other two Amigos.



posted on Dec, 13 2007 @ 09:15 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 

Sir, it seems to me that most of these posters miss the point;go over the ratio and this wonderful site that,SO,AND MR SIMON,AND SPRINGER, have worked so hard to make available to everyone will be restricted to the point that the general public at large will not have the opportunity to find it,much less enjoy it or participate in all this wealth of information for the intellect to feast on. i applaud you,sirs, and hope that some of the posts i have read will be re-evaluated by the authors; minimal censorship and availability to all far out weighs the arguments over one topic and its restrictions by the t&c. again,thank you.



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 02:41 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Dear SkepticOverlord,

I appreciate your direct reply to my concerns and let me state for the record, that I too admire the scope and scale of this massive meta_monument to Babylon Above, Insurrection Below. You certainly have a tiger by the tail and I don’t think there is anything wrong with enlightened self-interest. I practice it all the time.

Nonetheless, I think you are flat-out wrong about the way ATS currently censors valid news content and discourages civil discourse on what you yourself described as “…The "war on drugs" is an expansive conspiracy in the most pure definition of the word.” Please read that again, “…an expansive conspiracy in the most pure definition of the word.” Those are your words.

I know your first concern has to be ATS, and I know most members share that concern.

For me though, I cannot go along with a lie of this proportion. It’s like accepting the Bush govt.’s official 9/11 story without question and then telling members to go get lost and talk about it somewhere else.

We’re all surfing in an ocean full of hunting sharks and they are killing or imprisoning us in huge numbers, already! NWO mind games get more intense everyday. We cannot stop the killers directly, but we can kill the lies they hide behind to justify their “legal” crimes.

In the end trust is the most valuable commodity, and honesty is the currency that builds it. Revolution will come of it, eventually, when enough of us little people learn to trust each other, work together and throw out all tyrants.

It is not illegal to discuss “illegal” drugs or activities, it’s not illegal to discuss, organize and promote adult drug legalization and regulation, at least not yet. These pictures are still legal, albeit censored by ATS:
Legal Images

I certainly could not support any organization or individual who by active denial promotes a censorship agenda and ignores such a grand hypocrisy. In the hands of any major media player it’s a serious violation of public trust and ethics.


Among the policies put in place several years ago is an evolution toward a completely agnostic editorial strategy that relies on the "wisdom of our crowd" to create and promote topics of importance to them. The site home and forum summary pages are the culmination of these strategies as the flags assigned by members promote important or interesting subjects to higher priority. Such a system would be worthless if no one visits the site.


Such a system would produce skewed data results because you are denying certain content any meaningful chance to be viewed and flagged by members. Content Denied!

I also think you are misinterpreting the real “wisdom of our crowd,” condemning many of us to the cold steel jaws of your “agnostic editorial strategy.” I wish I knew a good agnostic joke, but I don’t think you can have it both ways… J

Thanks again for your kind consideration…

Ps: For what it’s worth, here’s what I’d like to see happen.



Ps: For what it’s worth, here’s what I’d like to see happen.

1) Valid news content posted at “Alt Breaking News” stays there for at least 24 hours from its post date/time stamp.

2) All members notified when their subscribed or favorite thread is moved, with a seamless link to new page.




posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 04:31 PM
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Originally posted by GreenFloyd
I know your first concern has to be ATS, and I know most members share that concern.

As it will always be. I've explained our position. There's no need to go further.



Such a system would produce skewed data results because you are denying certain content any meaningful chance to be viewed and flagged by members.

You're referencing a topical skew, it doesn't apply. And we'd have much worse than a "skew" if fewer people came here and created less content, less feedback, and created less data... we'd have irrelevance.



1) Valid news content posted at “Alt Breaking News” stays there for at least 24 hours from its post date/time stamp.

I don't understand this one. All news threads that are not trashed remain in the forum.



All members notified when their subscribed or favorite thread is moved, with a seamless link to new page.

If a thread is moved, the URL remains the same... so your subscription link still works.

[edit on 14-12-2007 by SkepticOverlord]



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 06:04 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Originally posted by GreenFloyd
I know your first concern has to be ATS, and I know most members share that concern.

As it will always be. I've explained our position. There's no need to go further.


Perhaps Robin Williams, in Fudd Fire, said it best:

FuddFire


[edit on 12/14/2007 by GreenFloyd]



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