Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« on: May 30, 2020, 02:30:18 PM »
Hi. I recently purchased a copy of Rowbotham's Earth not a Globe as interest in learning more about the development theories for a flat earth.

For those that have either read his book or have a deeper understanding of Rowbotham's FE theory, was curious to know if Rowbotham also used or leveraged conspiracy theories to help develop FE theory.

Much like FE believe that space travel is a conspiracy and that astronauts are lying, did Rowbotham (during his time in the 1800's) also subscribe to or mention any conspiracy theories in his day to help support his FE theory.

Or did Rowbotham only subscribe to experimentation and testing as the method of proof.

Thanks.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2020, 02:35:20 PM by GoldCashew »

Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2020, 10:14:26 PM »
ENAG was written back in the mid-19th century.  Conspiracy theories are more of a 20th century thing. Especially since the 1950s when the space race started to gather pace.  Space travel is not exactly compatible with flat Earth beliefs so it is not surprising that flat Earth believers regard anything related to space travel as some sort of conspiracy against them. And that of course includes the many, many, many photos of the Earth taken from space and from a wide variety of sources which show that it is unquestionably very round.

Rowbothams book on the other hand is simply the product of someone who had a rather vivid imagination and very fixed ideas about the shape of the Earth. Flat Earthers like it because it falls in line with their beliefs. The descriptions of his 'experiments' are very detailed and suggest he was actually quite a competent observer. Unfortunately his figures don't add up because they were made using his false belief that the Earth is flat. 

You might now interpret Rowbotham as a kind of conspiracy theorist of his time in that he probably wanted to try and make everyone else believe what he believed. I don't think the word conspiracy was at the forefront of his mind when he wrote the book though.

It had been established that the Earth is round long before Rowbothams time but there will always be a small faction of people who decide not to accept that view. Those people have their own reasons and motivations for taking that different view. Usually the motivation has a political, anti-authoritarian or religious origin and this is the basis of modern conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories are also born out of aspects of life where is it difficult to prove the truth one way or another.  That was certainly true of flat Earth until the space age when images of the Earth from space became common. Any real evidence which becomes available and which directly shows that a conspiracy theory is wrong will be treated with a predictable level of scepticism by those who support the conspiracy theory. One thing which you will absolutely never experience is a conspiracy theorist openly admit they are wrong.  It is actually pretty hard to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Earth is round simply from direct observation at ground level.  And that of course is what keeps the flat Earth conspiracy going. The best evidence that shows the earth is round is not at ground level but rather up in the sky. Conspiracy theories such as flat Earth is actually a good thing I think because to make an effective counter argument you have to make sure you have absolutely got your facts right. And that can involve a little bit of research if your knowledge is not 100% up to date.

Usually you will find that flat Earth believers are also in denial about the Moon landings as well plus various other related conspiracies. Anything that seems too give the rest of us the impression that they know or think they know something that everyone else doesn't.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2020, 10:40:59 PM by IronHorse »

Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2020, 11:07:34 PM »
ENAG was written back in the mid-19th century.  Conspiracy theories are more of a 20th century thing. Especially since the 1950s when the space race started to gather pace.  Space travel is not exactly compatible with flat Earth beliefs so it is not surprising that flat Earth believers regard anything related to space travel as some sort of conspiracy against them. And that of course includes the many, many, many photos of the Earth taken from space and from a wide variety of sources which show that it is unquestionably very round.

Rowbothams book on the other hand is simply the product of someone who had a rather vivid imagination and very fixed ideas about the shape of the Earth. Flat Earthers like it because it falls in line with their beliefs. The descriptions of his 'experiments' are very detailed and suggest he was actually quite a competent observer. Unfortunately his figures don't add up because they were made using his false belief that the Earth is flat. 

You might now interpret Rowbotham as a kind of conspiracy theorist of his time in that he probably wanted to try and make everyone else believe what he believed. I don't think the word conspiracy was at the forefront of his mind when he wrote the book though.

It had been established that the Earth is round long before Rowbothams time but there will always be a small faction of people who decide not to accept that view. Those people have their own reasons and motivations for taking that different view. Usually the motivation has a political, anti-authoritarian or religious origin and this is the basis of modern conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories are also born out of aspects of life where is it difficult to prove the truth one way or another.  That was certainly true of flat Earth until the space age when images of the Earth from space became common. Any real evidence which becomes available and which directly shows that a conspiracy theory is wrong will be treated with a predictable level of scepticism by those who support the conspiracy theory. One thing which you will absolutely never experience is a conspiracy theorist openly admit they are wrong.  It is actually pretty hard to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Earth is round simply from direct observation at ground level.  And that of course is what keeps the flat Earth conspiracy going. The best evidence that shows the earth is round is not at ground level but rather up in the sky. Conspiracy theories such as flat Earth is actually a good thing I think because to make an effective counter argument you have to make sure you have absolutely got your facts right. And that can involve a little bit of research if your knowledge is not 100% up to date.

Usually you will find that flat Earth believers are also in denial about the Moon landings as well plus various other related conspiracies. Anything that seems too give the rest of us the impression that they know or think they know something that everyone else doesn't.


I think the reasons why some folks also fall into conspiracy theory rabbit holes, like Flat Earth theory, is that it offers them a kind of therapy. Therapy in that it maybe gives them purpose, meaning, and belonging. I believe that some of the FE's on this site deep down don't really believe the Earth is flat but feel purpose and meaning in being part of a unique group think. Perhaps they like being part of a small knit group community that is an underdog. Or perhaps they feel empowerment by the attention that comes with believing in something so non-mainstream. Mark Sargeant is someone whom I think falls into this category. Per Behind the Curve, you can almost tell he's just looking for conspiracy(s) to believe in. Perhaps Rowbotham fell into the same category.

There are also those whom have been impacted by significant life events. And so grabbing onto a conspiracy theory or a non-mainstream belief like Flat Earth serves as a kind of outlet or a way to deal with things.

Anyways, looking forwards to receiving the book and reading it.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2020, 11:14:07 PM by GoldCashew »

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2020, 11:49:56 PM »
What makes you think that it's a belief in conspiracies more so than a disbelief of government?

« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 12:26:00 AM by Tom Bishop »
"The biggest problem in astronomy is that when we look at something in the sky, we don’t know how far away it is" — Pauline Barmby, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy

Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2020, 08:48:02 AM »
Whilst it's certainly true that governments lie, it's not true that everything they say is a lie and I don't think you believe it is.
You selectively choose to disbelieve NASA because it suits your wider world view.
It's not like NASA are claiming to have technologies that no-one else does. Quite a few countries have space programmes and now with SpaceX private enterprises are getting in on the act.
If you are making your claim without evidence then we can discard it without evidence.

Nearly all flat earthers agree the earth is not a globe.

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2020, 01:23:31 PM »
Whilst it's certainly true that governments lie, it's not true that everything they say is a lie and I don't think you believe it is.
You selectively choose to disbelieve NASA because it suits your wider world view.

I think that you and many other RE here would be the people in the second panel of the illustration I posted with their hands down.

So it is actually you, who selectively chooses to believe NASA, because your love for space fancy overrides its source. The blind belief in NASA appears to be more based on emotions and love of space and sci-fi than anything. Any other branch of the federal government or military is more readily distrusted in what they are doing or claiming to be capable of.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 01:33:22 PM by Tom Bishop »
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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2020, 01:26:24 PM »
and now with SpaceX private enterprises are getting in on the act.
NASA subcontractors are just NASA with a new badge. There is nothing special about them, other than Elon Musk's obvious mental instability.
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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2020, 01:33:45 PM »
Whilst it's certainly true that governments lie, it's not true that everything they say is a lie and I don't think you believe it is.
You selectively choose to disbelieve NASA because it suits your wider world view.

I think that you and many other RE here would be the people in the second panel of the illustration I posted with their hands down.
A strange assertion given that I've just said that "it's not true that everything they say is a lie"
I don't believe you'd be in that panel either, unless you believe that everything the government says is a lie.
Which would be a strange stance given that you seem to endlessly defend Trump (despite the fact that he is one of the presidents with the worst record of lying - but even he doesn't always lie)
If you are making your claim without evidence then we can discard it without evidence.

Nearly all flat earthers agree the earth is not a globe.

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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2020, 05:53:14 PM »
I think that you and many other RE here would be the people in the second panel of the illustration I posted with their hands down.

I don't give a monkey's which panel I'm in

So it is actually you, who selectively chooses to believe NASA, because your love for space fancy overrides its source. The blind belief in NASA appears to be more based on emotions and love of space and sci-fi than anything.

Aren't you selectively disbelieving them based on the fact that what they do is non-congruent with your world view?

If they weren't doing what they claim, then other entities like Roscosmos, ESA, Jaxa, and the other space agencies would have rumbled them by now. There's a host of non-space agencies who would also have rumbled them if they weren't doing what they claim - Jodrell Bank, The Space Geodesy Facility, The International Laser Ranging Service, and a host of others....
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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2020, 06:46:05 PM »
Lets compare Space Travel to Human Rights Violations in the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, which several countries are influencing. Lets say that the US, Russia, and France are involved for some reason.

The US claims to have only committed xx human rights violations. Only xx terrorists were tortured this quarter. Russia claims to have committed xx human rights violations. Only xx terrorists were tortured this quarter. France claims that xx terrorists were tortured. They are self-reporting, performing their own oversight with their own agencies of how they violate human rights, just how they self report for space travel claims.

Now, with this analogy in place, you are claiming that if the one country misstepped in some manner on human rights violations, that Russia or France would sound the alert. That there is no way that these groups, who are allied on some diplomatic level, would conspire together to overlook violations.

This would, of course, be absolutely absurd to claim. They would be distrusted by default to self report, let alone what they would do against each other. We see that when we extend the analogy beyond your imagined feel-good honest space travel world that those countries can't really be trusted to do anything honestly. Honesty is not the default.

Add in the fact that for space travel claims these countries often share the same international space contractors, we find that they aren't really doing anything truly independently, and are all tied together. Denmark's 'space agency' didn't develop space travel from scratch for their 'space program'. They have no rockets, launch pads, or space ships. They pay the international contractors for space services.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2020, 01:40:11 PM by Tom Bishop »
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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2020, 07:03:41 PM »
Lets compare Space Travel to Human Rights Violations in the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, which several countries are influencing. Lets say that the US, Russia, and France are involved for some reason.

The US claims to have only committed xx human rights violations. Only xx terrorists were tortured this quarter. Russia claims to have committed xx human rights violations. Only xx terrorists were tortured this quarter. France claims that xx terrorists were tortured. They are self-reporting, performing their own oversight with their own agencies of how they violate human rights, just how they self report for space travel claims.

Now, with this analogy in place, you are claiming that if the one country misstepped in some manner on human rights violations, that Russia or France would sound the alert. That there is no way that these groups, who are allied on some diplomatic level, would conspire together to violate human rights in Afghanistan, or overlook violations.

This would, of course, be absolutely absurd to claim. They would be distrusted by default to self report, let alone what they would do against each other. We see that when we extend the analogy beyond your imagined feel-good honest space travel world that those countries can't really be trusted to do anything honestly. Honesty is not the default.

Your analogy is flawed. Countries do indeed call each other out on human rights violations. In fact that is the norm, and I'm not sure I've ever seen Russia, the US and China all conspire to hide some violation they all participated in. I wouldn't say it never happens, but if it does, it's rare. For your analogy to be true, every space-based country and agency in the would will have had to have been part of this conspiracy for the entire time, without one ever calling the rest of the world out.

But you don't see Russia officially claiming the USA never landed on the moon, you don't see any of the dozens of space agencies that launch hundreds of satellites into space pointing out that some other launch was a fake.

It is also only your opinion that countries (and people I guess) default to lying.  I would disagree.  In my opinion honesty is the default, lying is the exception.

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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2020, 07:44:32 PM »
Add in the fact that for space travel claims these countries often share the same international space contractors, we find that they aren't really doing anything truly independently, and are all tied together. Denmark's 'space agency' didn't develop space travel from scratch for their 'space program'. They have no rockets, launch pads, or space ships. They pay the international contractors for space services.

Again, there's a host of non-space agencies (who are also non-contractors on the design, build and launch side) who would also have rumbled them if they weren't doing what they claim - Jodrell Bank, The Space Geodesy Facility, The International Laser Ranging Service, and a host of others....
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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2020, 08:03:04 PM »
Add in the fact that for space travel claims these countries often share the same international space contractors, we find that they aren't really doing anything truly independently, and are all tied together. Denmark's 'space agency' didn't develop space travel from scratch for their 'space program'. They have no rockets, launch pads, or space ships. They pay the international contractors for space services.

Japan, Russia, China, India and Europe all have independent space agencies with their own launch pads and rockets.
Nearly all flat earthers agree the earth is not a globe.

you guys just read what you want to read

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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2020, 09:33:46 PM »
Countries do indeed call each other out on human rights violations. In fact that is the norm
Ah, yes, the norm. That's why so many countries have condemned the USA on its most recent human rights crisis. Thank you for providing this fantastic evidence for the absurdity of your claim!
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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2020, 09:52:55 PM »
Whilst it's certainly true that governments lie, it's not true that everything they say is a lie and I don't think you believe it is.
You selectively choose to disbelieve NASA because it suits your wider world view.

I think that you and many other RE here would be the people in the second panel of the illustration I posted with their hands down.

So it is actually you, who selectively chooses to believe NASA, because your love for space fancy overrides its source. The blind belief in NASA appears to be more based on emotions and love of space and sci-fi than anything. Any other branch of the federal government or military is more readily distrusted in what they are doing or claiming to be capable of.


Your distrust that extends to anything government related, like NASA, is predictable and a common reason why Flat Earthers fall into the rabbit hole of believing that NASA lies and that there is a space travel conspiracy. Flat Earthers will say that RE'ers have been indoctrinated to believe the earth as round; coincidentally, FE'ers are equally indoctrinated with the whole space travel conspiracy claim.

While FE theory prides itself on getting to a position of "knowing" from observation and experimentaion, the space travel conspiracy is a claim that is not predicated on any direct observation, testing, or proof to get to a position of knowing.

The beauty and elegance of a conspiracy theory is that one can make a set of ridiculous assertions and claims without ever having to make an effort to try and prove.

When independent firms like Elon Musks's SpaceX launch crew into space, one can sense a kind of jealousy or dispise from FE community, because so much excitement and news goes against what FE'ers wish would go away. Elon Musk is perhaps eccentric and confident in his assertions and opinions, but he is an innovator, a visionary, a game changer, and very successful at that.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 09:57:48 PM by GoldCashew »

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Offline JSS

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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2020, 10:30:09 PM »
Countries do indeed call each other out on human rights violations. In fact that is the norm
Ah, yes, the norm. That's why so many countries have condemned the USA on its most recent human rights crisis. Thank you for providing this fantastic evidence for the absurdity of your claim!

I didn't think I needed to post links as evidence, as it's been front page news all around the world. So here are just a few. Google News can pull up others if you need more examples.

Un News - US must address deep-seated grievances to move beyond history of racism and violence

George Floyd’s Death in U.S. Sparks Outcry Abroad

EU 'shocked and appalled' by George Floyd's killing

World leaders condemn George Floyd killing as violence spreads in U.S.

Africa Reacts to George Floyd’s Death and U.S. Protests

Thousands across the UK, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Canada, and more condemn racism and demand justice at global Black Lives Matter protests

The World Is Watching U.S. Protests Over George Floyd. Demonstrations spread to Paris and other cities around the world.


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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2020, 10:51:41 PM »
I didn't think I needed to post links as evidence, as it's been front page news all around the world. So here are just a few.
Have you read the articles you've posted? Most of them discuss citizens being upset with the situation.

I can't help but notice that the first thing you're doing after returning from your ban is to debate in poor faith. It's disappointing.
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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2020, 11:10:20 PM »
I didn't think I needed to post links as evidence, as it's been front page news all around the world. So here are just a few.
Have you read the articles you've posted? Most of them discuss citizens being upset with the situation.

I can't help but notice that the first thing you're doing after returning from your ban is to debate in poor faith. It's disappointing.

Two points here.

1. I don't want to get into a debate over if "countries" means "leaders" or "citizens" but you seem to think it means the former, and I think it means all people, and we can have our own opinions there.

2. I did read the articles. Several mention world leaders directly addressing them. Here is one article and some quotes.

World leaders condemn George Floyd killing as violence spreads in U.S.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the killing

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the police killing shows the "true face" of the United States and its oppression of the peoples of the world, including its own.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "We all watch in horror and consternation at what is going on in the United States,"

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called the anti-racism protests "understandable and more than legitimate."




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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2020, 11:45:47 PM »
1. I don't want to get into a debate over if "countries" means "leaders" or "citizens"
In a discussion about governments, you should probably be discussing governments, and not things which aren't governments. It's not so much a debate as a request that you stop trolling the forum.
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Re: Did Rowbotham use Conspiracy Theories?
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2020, 02:25:08 AM »
I didn't think I needed to post links as evidence, as it's been front page news all around the world. So here are just a few.
Have you read the articles you've posted? Most of them discuss citizens being upset with the situation.

I can't help but notice that the first thing you're doing after returning from your ban is to debate in poor faith. It's disappointing.

Actually, it appears that you are the one who didn’t read them. Unless you think 2 out of 7 means “most.” 

Most of the linked articles support the relevant (to this discussion) point JSS has been trying to make. And if most of the articles actually are about governments (not merely their citizens) condemning the US, will you concede that he's not arguing in poor faith? 

I read the linked articles – well, 6 of them, since the WSJ one is behind a paywall and I don’t subscribe. If that one is also not “about” governments condemning what’s going on in the US, then I guess it’s 3 out of 7. Still not “most."

Here's an overview of each of them:

FIRST
Un News - US must address deep-seated grievances to move beyond history of racism and violence

The very first sentence is from a governmental agent:

“The voices calling for an end to the killings of unarmed African Americans need to be heard”, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement. “The voices calling for an end to police violence need to be heard”.

There are 22 paragraphs in the article; by my count about 16 of them are direct quotes or interpretations of quotes by officials of the UN. Not the government of a sovereign country, but the UN is an IGO, so by definition is related to government (lots of them).

SECOND
EU 'shocked and appalled' by George Floyd's killing

This is a frequently updated report that is quite long. But the currently most recent update has this quote:

“Peaceful demonstrations in the United States against the "shocking" killing of George Floyd during an arrest by police are "more than legitimate", Germany's foreign minister said.”

Followed by another quote of his.

And the second most recent update has this quote:

China's foreign ministry spokesperson called out US racism as "a chronic disease of American society".

The fourth most recent update has this:

The European Union is "shocked and appalled" by the death of George Floyd in police custody, the bloc's top diplomat said, calling it "an abuse of power" and warning against further excessive use of force.

As well as this:

"Like the people of the United States, we are shocked and appalled by the death of George Floyd ... all societies must remain vigilant against the excessive use of force," Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, told reporters.

The sixth most recent update has this:

“The Iranian foreign ministry has called on the United States to "stop violence" against its own people in the face of large protests sweeping the nation.”

Followed by more quotes from Iranian officials.

The seventh most recent update has this:

“Australia is investigating a US police attack on two Australian journalists outside the White House with a view to launching a formal complaint, the foreign minister [of Australia] said.”

Keep reading and there’s quotes from Ghana’s president too.

Quite a bit of this is devoted to what foreign leaders are saying, not their citizens.

THIRD
World leaders condemn George Floyd killing as violence spreads in U.S.

Well, read the headline on this one. But just a few select quotes:

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the killing of the unarmed African-American man by police.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the police killing shows the "true face" of the United States and its oppression of the peoples of the world, including its own.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called the anti-racism protests "understandable and more than legitimate."

FOURTH
Africa Reacts to George Floyd’s Death and U.S. Protests

This article was somewhat unique. It was technically “citizens” and not quotes or comments from government officials, but in the words of the introduction they are all “prominent African journalists, civil society activists, and thought leaders.”

So, let’s call out JSS on this and say this one should not be included (if we agree with Pete’s rhetorical jiu jitsu that within the "government" sub-topic of this thread that is about conspiracies more broadly, we absolutely cannot stray into non-government talk).

FIFTH
Thousands across the UK, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Canada, and more condemn racism and demand justice at global Black Lives Matter protests

This one is also really about the protests by citizens of several countries, and not their leaders. Shame on JSS!

Though, I will note that it includes the quote that “Labor Party politician Barry Gardiner, who had been social distancing since March, said he "broke it" on Wednesday for the sake of joining thousands of protesters in taking a knee outside parliament.”

SIXTH
The World Is Watching U.S. Protests Over George Floyd. Demonstrations spread to Paris and other cities around the world.


The very second paragraph reads in its entirety:

Several governments, including in the U.K., Germany and Canada have spoken out about the protests and condemned racism.”

There is only one or two paragraphs directly about the protests alone. The rest of the article is filled with direct quotes from government agents, including:

The United Nations on Wednesday condemned reports of "unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officers."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said that "racism and racist violence has no place in our society."

“On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a lengthy pause before addressing a question about President Donald Trump's handling of the situation. ‘We all watch in horror and consternation what's going on in the United States,’ he said after the 20-second dramatic pause. ‘It is a time to pull people together, but it is a time to listen.’”

....

So, yes, I'd say the links JSS posted are mostly about governments around the world condemning the US for human rights issues.

And I think this supports JSS' prior claim that governments, as a rule, do call each other out for things like this. 

If you read things like Foreign Policy ( https://foreignpolicy.com/ ) which I do subscribe to, you'll find it's actually quite common, and is totally the norm. Which is why I bothered chiming in here.  Great power politics is all about posturing which frequently includes calling other governments out for as many things as possible.