back to article Did Bahraini activists closet anti-gay bus baron?

A theory has emerged as to just how the personal website of controversial bus millionaire Brian Souter came to be stuffed deep into Google's closet of invisibility. It appears that the (probably inadvertent) culprits may have been a group of Bahraini freedom fighters. It's possible that the activists torpedoed the Stagecoach co- …

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Search Engine De-Optimisation

This could open up a whole new industry.

Instead of paying someone to push your site to the top of Google's search results, you could pay them to push your competitiors down by duplicating their websites.

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Anonymous Coward

re: whole new industry

Not so new; its been popular pretty much since SEO was invented and helped greatly in recent years by problems in the way Google handles 301 redirects. Plenty of sites have headed several light years 'below the fold' as a result.

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Not far off

Already happening as far as I can tell.

Google recently "adjusted" their Al Gore Rhythms to push content-scraping sites to the bottom, after the duplicate content had started ranking higher than the original source.

Black Hat SEO is full of posting dodgy links with your competitor's site referenced alongside to put them in a bad light.

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I can't imagine why anyone would want to find the site of a spiteful, boring bus conductor like Souter. Who cares WHAT his opinions are?

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I'm curious...

"His PR team accused the Chocolate Factory of censorship and are threatening to bring the case to the UK Parliament for investigation."

Notwithstanding the content of this article, (which may provide an innocent explanation), if Google really had manipulated his page ranking, why would it be a matter for Parliament?

In other words, if Google said, "Yeah, we did that. So what?" exactly what sanctions would Parliament be entitled to impose? What misdemeanour would Goole be alleged to have committed?

I'm genuinely puzzled here.

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Quite.

If you choose to use Google as your Search Engine, then the results you get are those returned by Google's search/index process, not The Universal Truth About The Internet.

You don't like, you choose a different search provider. Were the UK govt. to run a search engine, that would have to be impartial, but Google are a private company, and I don't think that there's any legislation that binds them into returning any sort of approved results.

Still, look at all this free publicity for Brian Souter (who, by virtue of pursuing this, seems determined to let everyone know what a homophobe he is).

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Holmes

Surely this would only happen if somewhere was linking to www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com - otherwise the Google search spiders wouldn't have found it. Of course, now they are, because people are talking about www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com and www.briansouter.com on forums like this, so the spiders will check both.

I wonder if mentioning www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com and www.briansouter.com more will further enrage the spiders. It would be a damn shame if www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com caused www.briansouter.com to be downgraded further.

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Indeed. And to make sure that doesn't happen, it's important to mention www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com on a regular basis. Can't be too careful, as the bus operator said to the actress.

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Anonymous Coward

Or the actor.

as the case may or not be!

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On the other hand

while I have no time for homophobes I don't think I could be bothered to mention www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com.

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@I'm curious...

If they are a monopoly then the rules are a little tighter.

If say you were the only company providing bus and train services in most of the country and decided that you would sell tickets to gays then it might be regarded more seriously than if the village shop stopped selling readers-husbands.

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Negativity?

I assume you meant to say that there would be a (minor?) controversy if There's Only Us Bus announced that the only public transport service serving Little Blighty On the Down would NOT sell a ticket to The Only Gay In The Village.

So that he has to get on his bike and look for... look forward to making new friends.

The thing is, we all know, but how does Brian Souter know?

http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/people,1078,lucas-enlists-celebrity-divorce-lawyers-in-split-with-mcgee,31961

Fellah on the left - seen in happier times. The other chap has killed himself, I've been told, which is very regrettable.

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Anonymous Coward

"...you can visit other sites by..."

And another proxy bites the dust.

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Big Brother

"Why Bahrainis - or persons elsewhere - were looking up the personal website of an anti-gay bus baron via 14feb-youth.com is still clouded in mystery. "

Maybe it was a Ministry of Propaganda official searching for the best way to persuade Bahrainis that the Internet isn't all it's cracked up to be.

"Yes, you can poke your friends and download stuff for free, but on the other hand you might find yourself reading the blather of a fat bus controller, who spent £500,000 in 1980s money on a campaign to tell everyone in the UK that he really genuinely doesn't love the cock. At www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com."

"Censorship and oppression it is then! Death to www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com!"

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Boffin

Homophobe or just not "supporting" enough?

Whilst I haven't a clue what Mr Souter's agenda is (I suspect a large part is simply Christian upbringing), I am amused by the instant and vehement accusatuions of gay-bashing levelled at him. To re-cap, Mr Souter didn't personally pen the rather idiotic Section 28, and although he did put a lot of presence into the "don't-repeal" bid, he has not said anything homophobic that I can find. In essence, he has said he doesn't have anything against gays, he just doesn't think the idea of gay parents should receive equal-billing as opposed to heterosexual parenting, which is his own belief. Otherwise he seems to be saying that if gays keep themselves to themselves that's fine with him, which seems a long way from actively gay-bashing or asking for a re-run of the homophobic elements of the Final Solution.

There seems to be a snap response amongst some vocal PC people to instantly accuse someone of a thoughtcrime if they don't espouse complete and unquestioning support for their ideal - if you aren't loudly cheering the Palestinian bid for UN membership as a "country" then you must be a Zionist-loving racist; if you do support the Palestinian UN bid then you must be a fascist anti-semite; if you don't support the anti-foxhunting groups then you must be a rich farmer and/or enjoy coommitting cruelty to animals on a daily basis; if you do support a ban on foxhunting then you must be one of those anarchist whackos still fighting the class war out of petty envy; if you don't bash Section 28 loudly and at every opportunity then you must be a fascist, homophobic, queer-bashing, religeous nutcase. So much for free speech and accepting other people's point of view! And it's hard not to notice the fixation with attacking Christians, probably because Christians are seen as a "safe" target both socially and politically. I'm betting there were more than a few Muslims in Scotland that didn't turn out to support the anti-Section28 crew, but that's a bit more risky a target for the PC crowd.

I admit I can't resist the urge to poke fun of such PC zealots by asking them why do they think Christians should do more than accept homosexuality, why do they think Christians need to do more and actively promote homosexuality? The answers are bizarre, but usually boil down to "because they say homosexuality ain't natural, when gays are born gay, so we have to force them to accept us more". This is nonsense - as I understand it, paedophiles are usually "born that way", it's not something they develop due to "conditioning", so do we want to suddenly accept padophiles simply because they can argue "we were born that way"? How about beastiality, should that get equal billing if the animal fanciers can get some shrink to stand up in court and say "they were born that way, m'lud"?

No, before you start frothing, I'm not equating homosexuality with paedophilia or beastiality, I just want to suggest to the PC crowd that they please come up with some more calm and rational thoughts to persuade such people as Mr Souter that they are wrong, rather than just the insta-label squealling quite evident in some posts here. Oh, and because it is fun to watch you froth.

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Anonymous Coward

tl; dr

Presumably written by a self-loathing closet homosexual?

Certainly you equated homosexuality with paedophilia. If you cannot see there are numerous important differences between the two (even outside any particular cultural mores), then perhaps you have deeper issues.

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Happy

RE: tl; dr

And, exhibit A for the insta-label charge......

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To Matt, on paedophilia and bestiality

Matt, you seem to be rather confused. Let me try to simplify it.

1) You seem to accept the nature vs nurture argument, i.e that homosexuality is innate and religion is learned

2) Some people have random nasty innate traits (amazing how paedophilia is always used as an example!)

3) Nasty innate traits when expressed cause harm to other beings, so people should not have the right to express them

4) Homosexuality causes no more harm to other beings than does heterosexuality (in fact one could argue that it's a lot less due to pregnancy not being a consequence of it)

5) Therefore, there is no reason to deny homosexual rights on the basis of paedophilia, bestiality or any other phobia of the week plucked from the Daily Mail. There's absolutely no reason to mention those things at all.

There we go - "calm and rational" thoughts explaining why there was no reason for you to bring these things up. The trivial way in which your argument is dismissed in turn that points to you being far from rational, and your general tone ("PC", "frothing", dismissing the prevailing view as being based on a knee-jerk reaction when you have no idea how many people have known about this character for a long time) leads me to suspect that you are far from calm as well.

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To Matt, on "thought crimes"

"if you don't bash Section 28 loudly and at every opportunity then you must be a fascist, homophobic, queer-bashing, religeous nutcase."

Erm, Brian Souter was not failing to bash Section 28. Brian Souter spent half a million pounds bankrolling the subvertion of the democratic process by leafletting every house in Scotland with a sham postal ballot dismissed by the Electoral Reform Society because it "would not be a legitimate democratic exercise to ask people to give an opinion on the repeal of Section 28 without knowing the detail of what would replace it."

Now, presented with those two contrasting positions, who do you think is the nutcase?

Really, there is so much wrong with your posting that it's just not worth analysing it any further - it stands up to no critical analysis whatsoever.

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Anonymous Coward

First mistake: this is about politics, not rational argument!

There's no point arguing rationally with the politically anti-normal brigade, they define themselves as an oppressed minority, despite the fact that any real oppression was outlawed decades ago. As long as they pose no threat to anyone it's best just to ignore then. If kids have to endure 5 minutes out of their entire school education when the teacher announces that some people are gay and that's OK it probably wont psychologically damage them for life. I expect most of the "my daddy and daddy" type books are printed just to meet some education authority check list of requirements, but will gather dust on the bookshelf as most kids wont be remotely interested. Similarly if a bit of paper with the words "marriage certificate" on it makes them happy, why not placate them?

No doubt in a thousand years time there will still be Gay Pride parades where they announce how proud they are, despite straight people never declaring how proud they are of their sexuality, even though they claim all they ever wanted was equality.

You're right though, if normal people give up any more ground, next kids will be taught that bestiality and paedophilia are perfectly "normal" lifestyles, after all if 1 in 10 to 100 is 'normal' why not 1 in 1000 to 10000?

Most people are born with a genetic trait which puts them in some kind of minority, but it's no big deal. If that gene affects their way of life and a doctor can offer a cure, most people would graciously and eagerly accept the cure. But if ever there was a cure for the psychological disorder of attempting to mate unsuccessfully with persons of the same gender, a minority of that minority would protest to the extreme that anyone should be allowed to take the cure.

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Boffin

RE: To Matt, on paedophilia and bestiality

<Sigh> No, I'm not confused, I already stated that I though Section28 or Clause 2 or whatever was completely daft. I'm merely asking you to try and put yourself in Mr Souter's shoes, to stop saying "we're gay, deal with it" because that's not really going to overcome his religeous beliefs. Instead, come up with real arguments to overcome Mr Souter's belief that a homosexual lifestyle should not be portrayed as equal to a heterosexual one, without he typical knee-jerk response of accusing anyone not trotting out your POV as a homophobe.

1) Agreed.

2) Agreed. But, you are assuming all paedophillia is an agressive and nonconsensual, which does not cover teenagers experimenting at the pre-consent age - if either is older than the age of consent and the other is younger, then the older can be tried as paedophile and can end up as a registered sex offender. It is also subject to the whim of the day in the society of the day - currently, across Europe, the age of consent that legally defines paedophillia varies from twelve to twenty-one. Historicly, it's varied in the UK from twelve (when first set in the 13th Century, though in other areas of Europe it was as low as seven at the time!), to just nine in the 17th Century, and only in the end of the 19th Century did we see a rise to higher ages before another decline to the current UK age of consent (sixteen) in the last century. In short, what is currently illegal in the UK is common and accepted in other countries in Europe. To simply assume what is the consensus today will be the norm tomorrow is very short-sighted. Our own modern acceptance of homosexuality is only of very recent historical occurence. Hopefully, time will remove religeous objections, but there is the worry that hard times will lead to a resurgence in religeons, and most of them don't exactly view homosexuality with gusto, they tend to class it right down there with beastiality.

3) See above, you are assuming all acts classed today as paedophilia were "nasty", and have and will always be judged that way. As for pregnancy, that is of value to the country (kids = future workers = future taxes), so you could argue that unless gay couples start adopting kids as a standard they are effectively not generating the same future benefit as heterosexual couples. Now, if you had argued that homosexuality does not incur the pain of nagging common to most marriages I'd have agreed.....

4) Consensual underage sex, legally classed as paedophillia, also usually doesn't "harm" the couple involved. I really don't want to think about the "harm" and farm animals, but I suspect, given the size of a bull's tool, that a cow isn't going to be too bothered by gents such as this http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-man-arrested-twice-for-having-sex-with-his-cow-and-other-bizarre-crimes/. So, by your argument, are you saying the chap should have been left to enjoy his cow in peace and quiet? The reason we don't accept beastiality is because we have a conception (through "nurturing") that sex with animals is bad. In other societies (such as many Islamic ones) it's just fine, but homosexuality is outlawed. Obvisouly, for Mr Souter and co, their accepted POV is homosexuality is fine as long as it's not in their backyard (pardon the pun).

So, whilst I agree with you in general, your calm and reasoned arguments don't really hold much value, and would hold little sway with peeps like Mr Souter. To simply say "homosexuality is good 'cos we say so" isn't really going to persuade him. Instead, can I suggest you do a bit of verbal jujitsu and use the Good Book against him ("it's all about the love of one man for another", etc, etc). For further ammunition, you may want to check out why certain Amercian churches are more accepting of homosexuality (e.g., The Metropolitan Community Church, The United Church of Christ, The Episcopal Church USA, The Disciples of Christ, The Unity Church) than Scottish ones.

".....leads me to suspect that you are far from calm as well." Well, you are kinda ruining the game by not going insta-flame, but I do in turn suspect there is an element of "I-really-want-to-call-you-a-homophobic-fascist" lurking just below your reply.

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Bronze badge

webmaster?

Use PHP or whatever language.

Check the HOST and the Referrer in the header of the page request?

return 404 for any probable proxies?

Not exactly rocket science :/

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Block/fake referrer? I would.

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Anonymous Coward

is Souter going to apologise?

Like shite he will, the wanker!

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Happy

Off topic but.....

An office I worked at in Bahrain had a couple of quite technically-capable Indian admins running the firewalls. Unfortunately, whilst they were technically more than competant, unlike most of our Asian consultants this pair had some trouble writing in English, and had a habit of writing up reports in Marathi and then running them through tools like babelfish to produce the final result. One hilarious consequence was the blocker message that came up if you tried to surf something on the blacklist - "You are doing naughty and must stop!"

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Happy

Excellent. We have a big picture of an angry-looking Captain Kirk and the caption 'Angry Shatner Is Watching You Surf'

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Bronze badge

Interesting phrasing

This article says:

"Sir Brian - who drew criticism in 2000 for backing the Section 28 ban on schools promoting homosexuality to kids"

My understanding is that Section 28 said that it was banning 'promotion' was actually banning any mention of homosexuality in schools. 'Promoting homosexuality' meant mentioning it. Even if you said 'all gays are evil' you would have let slip the fact they exist, and therefore you promoted homosexuality. This left teachers in the awkward position of not being able to use any word in reference to 'that'.

Better to say:

"Sir Brian - who drew criticism in 2000 for backing the Section 28 ban on mentioning homosexuality to kids in a school setting".

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Mushroom

Couldn't happen to a nicer fella....

Than the obnoxious nationalist bullying homophobic religious zealot Souter.

Scotland can do without him and his ilk in the SNP.

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Happy

RE: Couldn't happen to a nicer fella....

Yep, more insta-label.....

"....Scotland can do without him and his ilk in the SNP." Some might argue that Scotland could do better without the SNP, fullstop.

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