Remember when on Wednesday the Internet search engine Google protested Congress' attempt to "censor the web" via-the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) by participating in a purely symbolic "black out" with several other big-time websites?
We've come to find out that on the same day Google was (ahem) fighting for free speech, the search engine removed a blog from the Internet, apparently because it was scared of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
You see, also on Wednesday, Arpaio's boys in beige crowed about their plan to serve a search warrant at Google's California headquarters in an attempt to get a blog that glorifies murdering cops removed from the Internet -- or at least get the IP address of the person authoring the website.
Guess what -- the blog that had Arpaio's pink panties in a bunch has been removed from the Internet...and the First Amendment heroes at Google are the ones who removed it (Google owns blogspot, which hosted the offensive blog).
Click here to see where the link to the blog www.targetingcops.blogspot.com takes you now.
There are two ways a Google-hosted blog can be removed from the Internet -- the owner of the blog can remove it, or Google can determine the blog violates the company's policies and remove it itself.
Google won't say why this particular blog was removed -- when asked about its removal, company spokeswoman Christine Chen tells New Times that Google "doesn't comment on individual cases."
However, MCSO spokesman Jeff Sprong confirms to New Times that the search warrant was carried out -- but Google had already removed the blog after the sheriff issued a press release announcing his plan to investigate the company.
The blog in question is one of the more despicable pieces of trash we've seen on the Internet -- it praises people who kill cops, and mocks fallen officers.
For example, prior to the blog's removal, it features a photo of slain MCSO Deputy William Coleman with the words "officer down, LOL!!!"
The author of the blog even hails Coleman's killer, 30-year-old "U.F.O.-ologist" Drew Ryan Maras, as a "brave warrior," a "citizen martyr."
Below is how the author describes Coleman's shooting:
"2012 is getting off to a great start! Officer William Coleman, one of Pig Joe Arpaio's gestapo deputies, got his ass smoked - GOOD! Coleman, a top sheriff in Arpaio's racist AZ police regime, was supposedly answering a "burglarly call" in the early morning on Sunday January 8th 2012, in the north Phoenix community of Anthem (It must be noted that AZ sheriff's deps. have, in the past, routinely used "burglary calls" as a false pretext for conducting night-time terrorist raids on residential homes without a warrent, regardless of alleged criminal activity or lack there of). It was reported that pig Coleman took it right in the face, too."
The blog also featured a photo of Arpaio with the words "You're Next, Joe -- watch your back, bitch!" written directly above it.
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The sheriff apparently considered the message to be a credible death threat, which is why he (very publicly) threatened to serve Google with a search warrant.
It's been argued that the websites involved in Wednesday's protest are more concerned about protecting their bottom-lines than they are with protecting free speech -- if SOPA becomes law, many of the sites could be forced to shut down, or lose a ton of cash. Google's completely removing a blog from the Internet seems to lend some credibility to that theory.
Just to be clear, we don't agree with anything posted on the shameless blog, but we respect the author's right to say it.
That said, the fact remains: on the same day Google protested censoring the Internet, Google censored the Internet.