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‘Leading from behind’: Is Washington at war with Moscow?

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | September 17, 2022

Though Washington insists that it is not interested in a direct military conflict with Moscow, the latter claims that the US is, in fact, directly involved. But who is telling the truth?

On 8 September, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared in Kyiv on an unannounced visit. He carried with him pledges of yet another military and financial package of nearly $3 billion, mostly to Ukraine, but also to other Eastern European countries. According to a report published by The New York Times in May, US financial support for Ukraine has exceeded $54 billion.

Devex‘s funding platform states: “A relatively small percentage of that funding is humanitarian-focused.” The same source also indicates that the total amount of mostly military aid provided by the West to Ukraine between 24 February and 16 August has topped the $100 billion mark.

For such a massive military arsenal to operate, one can imagine the involvement of legions of military experts, trainers and engineers. Washington’s latest package includes hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid, such as more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

And more is coming. According to Blinken: “President Biden… will support the people of Ukraine as long as it takes.”

The Russians, however, have no illusions that US military support for Ukraine is confined to mere weapons shipments or limited to financial transactions. On 2 August, the Russian Defence Ministry accused the US of being “directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine.” The ministry’s statement cited an admission by Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, who told The Telegraph: “Washington coordinates HIMARS missile strikes.”

This is not the first time Russia accuses the US of direct involvement in the war. As early as 25 March, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the West had declared “total war” on Russia. In this instance, Moscow’s top diplomat was referencing every aspect of this “real hybrid war”, including unprecedented sanctions that were meant to break the back of Russia’s economy and the will of its military forces. Since then, the US Western embargo on Russia has exceeded 10,000 sanctions, an unprecedented number in modern conflicts.

Also, since then, the nature of American involvement in the war has changed. The type of weapons first provided to Kyiv by Washington quickly transformed from weapons of defensive capabilities with limited outreach, to weapons of offensive capabilities with long-range artillery systems, including HIMARS and M270.

Much of the US involvement can be understood through common sense. Consider Politico‘s report on 29 August, alleging that: “Since the early days of the war, Kyiv has seized the initiative as missile strikes and mysterious explosions have wreaked havoc on the Russian fleet, sinking several vessels… and devastating its Crimea-based air wing in a dramatic attack this month.” If these details are accurate, it is hard to imagine that such success would have been carried out by, as described by Politico itself, a “small Ukrainian navy”.

When American weapons are provided and operated by American military experts, and when the movement of Russian forces is monitored by American satellite coordinates, one should easily conclude that the US is indeed involved in a direct war with Russia. This argument is strengthened by the fact that the US is utilising all of its expertise in economic warfare, used against Iraq, Cuba and others, to devastate the Russian economy.

But why does the US refuse to accept that it is engaged in a direct war against Russia?

Successive US administrations have perfected the art of engaging in military conflicts without making such a declaration. As the US fought its protracted war in Vietnam starting in the mid-1950s, it engaged in many other military conflicts that were mostly kept secret. These undeclared wars included the Nixon administration’s secret bombing campaigns in Cambodia, which resulted in the estimated deaths of 100,000 people.

To curtail the power of the president to conduct war without notifying Congress, the US Congress passed the War Powers Resolution of 1973, also known as the War Powers Act. Despite a presidential veto, a two-thirds majority in Congress managed to pass the resolution into law. Still, successive administrations found ways around the law, including the US involvement in the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 and again in the US war on Libya in 2011.

In fact, it was in Libya that the phrase “leading from behind” was used in abundance. Americans seemed to have found a brilliant way of engaging in war while avoiding its costly political consequences. This way, former US President Barack Obama could be involved in several wars all at once without being called an interventionist or a war-mongering president.

To understand the extent of America’s ongoing, undeclared wars, marvel at this 1 July report by The Intercept, which obtained the data using the Freedom of Information Act. This was “the first official confirmation that at least 14” military operations – known as 127e programs – were active in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region in 2020, and that between 2017 and 2020, US commandos carried out 23 separate operations.

So, even if the US engages in direct combat against Russia, the chances of war being declared are almost nil. Therefore, the extent of US involvement can only be gleaned from evidence on the ground.

Call it “leading from behind”, “proxy war” or “hybrid war”, Washington is very much a party in the devastating war in Ukraine, which is paying a heavy price for Washington’s desire to remain the world’s only superpower.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 5 Comments

Alleged Discovery of Izyum Mass Graves a ‘Monstrous Provocation’, Russian Envoy to Canada Says

Samizdat – 17.09.2022

The reports of mass graves being discovered in Izyum, Ukraine is another “monstrous provocation” by Kiev which is trying to stage a fresh version of Bucha and mobilize public opinion in the West as the United Nations General Assembly prepares to meet next week, Russia’s Ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov told Sputnik.

“The Kiev regime supplies the media with lies about crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Russian troops in Izyum,” Stepanov told Sputnik on Friday.

“We are talking about another monstrous provocation, about an attempt to stage ‘Bucha’ in a new way. All this is being done on the eve of the opening of the High-Level Week of the UN General Assembly to try to manipulate a certain part of the western public on the subject of Ukraine.”

That western media and officials immediately pick up “fabrications of Kiev” about the alleged crimes against humanity in Izyum without double-checking is simply an indicator of how aggressive the information war against Russia is, Stepanov added.

He also said that he is optimistic that the truth about Izyum will come out, just as it did with the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

On Friday, Ukrainian authorities alleged that mass burial sites were found in Izyum after Russian troops withdrew from the Kharkov region in early September, and that more than 400 bodies had been found so far.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has warned several times that the Kiev regime supported by the collective West has been preparing Bucha-style provocations to accuse Russia of war crimes.

On 24 February, Russia began a military operation in Ukraine, responding to calls for help from the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Moscow has said that the aim of its operation is the “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine.

Western countries have responded by imposing comprehensive sanctions against Russia, while accusing Moscow of crimes against humanity, including alleged atrocities in the city of Bucha. The Kremlin has denied the allegations, and has accused Kiev of employing typical terrorist methods, such as hiding behind civilians and deploying weapons in civilian areas.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

NATO Began ‘Planning’ Expanded Presence Near Russia ‘Years Ago’, Top Commander Admits

Samizdat – 17.09.2022

The North Atlantic Alliance began its decades-long creep toward Russia’s borders in the late 1990s after walking out on commitments made to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 and 1991 not to expand “one inch” east following German reunification. NATO expansion is one of the central causes of the current Ukrainian security crisis.

NATO began planning to increase its presence along its eastern flank “years” before Russia kicked off its special military operation in Ukraine, NATO Military Committee chairman Rob Bauer has revealed.

“Military leaders have a common frame of reference for both alliance-wide threats and regional threats, and that we enhance the speed and effectiveness of our rapid deployable forces. We’re talking about the biggest overhaul of our military structures since 1949. The planning for that started several years ago, but now we’re implementing it,” Bauer said, speaking to reporters at a press conference at the NATO Military Committee Conference in Tallinn, Estonia on Saturday.

NATO defense chiefs discussed the need to “sustain” and “increase” “allied support to Ukraine,” at Saturday’s meeting, Bauer said.

“The ammunition, equipment and training that allies and other nations are delivering are all making a real difference on the battlefield. With its successes on the ground and online, Ukraine has fundamentally changed modern warfare,” the officer said. “NATO will support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he added.

Speaking alongside Bauer, Estonian Defense Forces chief Martin Herem said that NATO’s collective priority was to “deny Russia the possibility to change today’s rule-based international order,” including by stationing more troops along its border.

“Forward defense is not only about the number of allied boots on the eastern border. The entire chain must be in place. It means having the appropriate mix of national and allied in place forces, known reinforcements, advanced plans linked to assigned forces and assigned C2 [command and control],” Herem said.

Echoing Bauer’s comments on the need to “support” Kiev, Herem stressed that “it is critical to ensure cohesion and unity of allies. The winter will be difficult but [we] must stick together and stay committed” in the coming months.

Defense chiefs from Finland and Sweden joined Saturday’s discussions, and Bauer called their expected entry into the alliance at some point in the future “good news” for the bloc.

“We get extra territory to defend as an alliance, and we get a long border with Russia. But we get also Finland and Sweden’s armed forces, which are very capable, to help us defend that extra territory and to defend that longer border. Russia will have a longer border with NATO without getting extra troops. So I think the accession of Finland and Sweden is beneficial for the alliance and is creating more of a problem for Russia,” Bauer said.

The officer said the implementation of the agreements reached at the summit in Madrid in June on bulking up the bloc’s eastern border was “ongoing,” and that there are no problems to report on that front.

At the Madrid summit, NATO agreed to stand up four new battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, and to deploy “robust and combat-ready forces on the Alliance’s eastern flank.” For its part, the United States moved to establish a new ground base in Poland, about 280 km southwest of the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, and beefed up its presence in Romania by 3,000 troops. Earlier, Washington also surged its military footprint in Europe by 20,000 troops, bringing the total number to 100,000. The US also deployed two additional squadrons of F-35 fighter jets to Britain, and sent two more destroyers to Naval Station Rota in Spain, bringing the total to six.

Ramping Up Tensions With Russia

NATO has undergone several waves of expansion between 1999 and 2020, swallowing up every former member of the defunct Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, three ex-Soviet republics and four republics from the former Yugoslavia. The expansion took place despite former US Secretary of State James Baker’s verbal promise to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 not to expand the alliance “one inch” east of the territory of the former East Germany following that country’s annexation by the Federal Republic.

In 2008, NATO recognized the aspirations of the pro-Western governments of Ukraine and Georgia to see their countries join the alliance, sparking serious security concerns from Moscow. Tensions between Russia and the West were exacerbated in 2014, after the Ukrainian government was overthrown in a coup d’état orchestrated by Washington, and the post-coup government in Kiev reiterated its ambitions join the European Union and NATO.

In late 2021, Russia presented NATO and the US with a twin set of proposed security agreements designed to dramatically ease tensions and improve relations between Moscow and the Western bloc. The draft treaties included the proposal of legally binding, written guarantees by Russia on one side and the US and NATO on the other not to deploy troops, aircraft, warships and missile systems in areas where they might be seen as a threat to other side’s national security. NATO was asked to pledge not to continue its eastward expansion, and to scrap plans to incorporate Ukraine and any other former Soviet republic into the bloc. The Western alliance was also asked not to deploy additional troops or weapons systems on the territory of those NATO members which joined the bloc after the end of the Cold War.

The US and NATO balked at Russia’s security guarantee proposals, with officials emphasizing that the Western bloc’s “open door” policy for membership would remain unchanged.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

The Anglo-American War on Russia – Part One (1917-1991)

Tales of the American Empire | September 15, 2022

A lifetime of anti-Russian propaganda taught Americans that Russians are evil people who forever foment conflict. They are shocked to learn that American troops fought in Russia to overthrow its government in 1918. Tales of the American empire produced several short videos revealing an endless war with Russia by the British and American empires that continues to this day.

Oriental Review; April 22, 2010; https://orientalreview.org/2010/04/22…

Related Tale: “The Anglo-American War on France”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkUlo…

Related Tale: “A U-2 and World Peace were Sabotaged in 1960”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyNhE…

Related Tale: “Warmongers Almost Killed Millions in 1962”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTfA0…

“We Are Going to Deprive You of an Enemy”; Dominic Tierney; The Signal; January 10, 2021; https://www.thesgnl.com/2021/01/cold-…

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Rethinking The Greenhouse Effect

Not A Lot Of People Know That | September 16, 2022

A former head of Australia’s National Climate Centre is arguing that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has adopted an overly simplistic approach to global warming and has ended up exaggerating the human contribution to recent climate change.

William Kininmonth argues that the warming of the planet is fastest in winter and in high latitudes near the poles. He argues that this is mostly due to increased heat transport from the tropical oceans.

However, the recent warming of the tropical oceans can’t be explained by the greenhouse effect due to carbon dioxide, because that effect is small in the humid tropical atmosphere. The most probable explanation is natural changes in ocean currents.

William Kininmonth says:

“The IPCC’s radiation balance approach is very simplistic, ignoring the fact that nowhere on the Earth’s surface is in radiation balance. Mainstream climate science may have led us all up a blind alley”.

GWPF invited the Royal Society and the Met Office to review this paper, and to submit a response to be published as an appendix to it. No reply was received.

William Kininmonth: Rethinking the Greenhouse Effect (pdf)


William Kininmonth joined the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in 1960, and retired in 1998 as head of the National Climate Centre. He was a consultant to the World Meteorological Organization’s Commission for Climatology and participated in regional coordination and training programs. William Kininmonth is author of Climate Change: A Natural Hazard.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

WEF publishes ideas on a carbon allowance system where surveillance tech is used to track personal emissions

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim The Net | September 15, 2022

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is publishing ideas about yet another reason, or excuse, to deploy more surveillance technology: this time it’s climate change, and specifically, monitoring carbon emissions – at the individual level.

This is generally referred to as “My Carbon initiatives” and according to a post on the group’s website, penned by the director of India’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Smart Cities Mission, it’s all about “inclusivity of citizens” in reducing carbon emissions in urban areas.

However, “My Carbon” and what’s dubbed as “personal allowance programs” have apparently not been a success, although the push has been there for years; but now, with tracking and surveillance technology continuing to, technically speaking, improve and become more and more ubiquitous, the idea is to start bringing those into the climate change story.

And since the share of emissions attributed to individuals in cities is 40%, the proposal is to tackle those things that are now identified by WEF and its cohorts as standing in the way of personal allowance programs taking root: social and political resistance, a lack of awareness, and, of “fair mechanisms” to track individual emissions.

The post, which says the views are “those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum,” sees “an improved” world not only when it comes to technology, but also society, and mentions the catastrophic pandemic restrictions in a positive tone, as proof that billions of people can effectively be trained to show “individual social responsibility.”

Good old Covid was a test for that. “A huge number of unimaginable restrictions for public health were adopted by billions of citizens across the world,” the WEF blog piece says approvingly.

The implication is that billions are also now more likely to accept restrictions regarding their lifestyle in other contexts. Then there’s the technology, “AI,” blockchain, digitization, “smart home” devices – all useful in advancing this specific dystopian agenda.

And the plan is to use surveillance tech to track in detail personal carbon emissions, along with giving “individual advisories on lower carbon and ethical choices for consumption of product and services.”

Further, costs for “carbon-intensive” activities and goods should be increased, while offering economic incentives to reduce demand – another way of saying, “low carbon emissions social credit system.”

And then, creating new social norms is also recommended. These would impose a new definition of what “a fair share” of personal emissions is, and set “acceptable levels” of personal emissions.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | 2 Comments

As African Countries Kick Off Local Energy Projects, West Rolls Out Climate Agenda-Based Opposition

Samizdat – September 17, 2022

While many countries in Africa are experiencing energy poverty, suffering from electricity cuts, and are working on regional energy projects, the West appears to be skeptical of African nations’ strive for self-sufficiency in this area.

The Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) project, an initiative of Nigeria and Morocco that was initially proposed in December 2016, officially kicked off with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Nigeria, Morocco, and the Economic Community of West African States on Thursday in Rabat.

“Once completed, the project will supply about three billion standard cubic feet of gas per day along the West African Coast from Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal and Mauritania to Morocco,” a statement by the National Nigerian Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) reads.

The 5,600-kilometer pipeline, running across 13 African countries, will originate from Brass Island (Nigeria) and deliver gas to northern Morocco, where it will be connected to the existing Maghreb European Pipeline (MEP), through which the gas will subsequently go to Spain.

Nigeria possesses Africa’s biggest proven gas reserves, constituting around 5.8 trillion cubic meters, according to OPEC. The creation of a new pipeline allows to monetize Nigeria’s lavish natural gas resources, generate additional income for the country, and diversify Nigeria’s gas export routes. The project is also expected to improve the living standards of the sub-Saharan region’s population and provide opportunities for other countries along the pipeline route to develop and export their gas, as reported by The Nation.

“Some of the benefits include the creation of wealth and improvement in the standard of living, integration of the economies within the region, mitigation against desertification and other benefits that will accrue as a result of the reduction in carbon emission,” NNPC CEO Mele Kyari stated, speaking at the signing ceremony.

Central Africa Pipeline Project

The NMGP follows another African initiative that was launched on September 8 at the Central Africa Business Energy Forum, hosted by Cameroon, where Central African countries signed an ambitious deal to create a regional oil and gas pipeline network by 2030, including the construction of three multinational oil and gas pipeline systems, at least three refineries, and gas-fired power plants linking 11 countries, according to project documents cited by Reuters.

Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Chad, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic Congo – members of the ECCAS which signed the pipeline agreement – are all oil producers who possess vast oil and gas reserves. However, lack of refining capacity and funding to modernize the plants has left them dependent on imported refined products.

This has become increasingly difficult due to the raging global energy crisis with its skyrocketing energy costs, global supply disruptions, and geopolitical circumstances, such as Western sanctions against Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.

Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber N.J. Ayuk argues that the project will require foreign assistance, and Russian technical know-how might be of help.

“Russians are the best when it comes to pipelines. African ministers plan to be in Russian Energy Week and discuss this. They are also inviting Russian energy players to African Energy Week to have bilateral talks on how to use Russian or Chinese expertise to make this work,” Ayuk told Sputnik.

Speaking of Russia’s potential participation in African initiatives, and in the above mentioned NMGP in particular, the Russian United Metallurgical Company noted that it might supply metal products to meet the needs of the construction of the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline.

According to a statement published by the Russian Ministry of Energy following a meeting of First Deputy Minister of Energy Pavel Sorokin and Chairman of the African Energy Chamber N.J. Ayuk, Russia is ready to develop joint projects with African countries in order to increase energy supplies to African markets.

“Providing African countries with high-quality energy resources, creating conditions for the development and growth of cooperation in energy, increasing trade between Russia and African countries is an important task of our interaction. We are ready to continue to develop joint projects, thanks to which it is possible to significantly increase the supply of resources to local markets, to help generally strengthen the economic security of our friendly countries,” Sorokin said.

At the same time, N.J. Ayuk in a recent interview with Sputnik warned of potential resistance from various Western environmental groups who, under the guise of a climate protection agenda, have repeatedly thrown a spanner in the works on energy projects on the continent.

West Opposes African Energy Projects Due to ‘Environmental Risks’

As African countries continue to develop much-needed domestic energy projects, on September 15, the EU Parliament passed a resolution claiming that the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project, which is being developed by Uganda and Tanzania, could lead to “human rights violations” and pose “the social and environmental risks.”

EACOP stretches 1,443km from Lake Albert in western Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga on the Indian Ocean and could become of a great importance for Africa, where more than 600 million people, or 43 percent of the continent’s population, lack access to electricity, as per the International Energy Agency.

The EU Parliament has advised its member states not to support Uganda’s oil and gas projects either diplomatically or financially.

“Calls for the EU and the international community to exert maximum pressure on Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities, as well as the project promoters and stakeholders, to protect the environment and to put an end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems,” the resolution reads.

Uganda’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa, hitting back at the EU, pointed out that the resolution represents the “highest level of neocolonialism and imperialism” against the sovereignty of Uganda and Tanzania.

Tanzania’s Energy Minister January Makamba reaffirmed the country’s intention to implement the EACOP project, criticizing the resolution and describing it as based on misinformation and deliberate misrepresentation of key facts on environment and human rights protection.

“We care more about our country than other people do. We will continue to make sure this project protects local communities, protects the environment, and meets our international standards so that we will continue, but we commit to do,” Tanzania’s energy minister said.

The verbal spat over EACOP comes on the heels of the recent statements made by US climate envoy John Kerry, who in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of an African environment ministers’ conference in Dakar, Senegal also warned against investing in long-term gas projects in Africa.

Kerry claimed that the long-term viability of gas projects could become an issue beyond 2030, the target date many developed nations have set for their transition to mostly renewable energy sources and curbing demand for gas. The US climate envoy also said developed nations must step up their efforts and help other countries overcome the initial difficulties in developing renewable energy systems.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , | 3 Comments

Court upholds Texas’ anti-censorship social media law

The case will likely go to The Supreme Court

By Dan Frieth | Reclaim The Net | September 17, 2022

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a law that was passed in Texas that prohibits large social media platforms from censoring users based on political viewpoints.

The law was passed in September 2021. It was challenged by industry trade group NetChoice and was blocked by a federal district court in December 2021.

We obtained a copy of the ruling for you here.

Critics of the law argued that it violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies by forcing private companies to publish content they don’t want to. The First Amendment protects both people and companies from censorship by the government intervention in speech.

The state of Texas appealed the decision by the district court in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Writing the ruling on behalf of a three-judge panel, Judge Andrew Oldham said the court “rejects the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say.”

“The Platforms are not newspapers,” he continued. “Their censorship is not speech.”

The ruling argues that the Texas social media law doesn’t violate the First Amendment because “Section 7 does not regulate the Platforms’ speech at all; it protects other people’s speech and regulates the Platforms’ conduct.”

The order adds, “Our decision is reinforced by 47 U.S.C. § 230, which reflects Congress’s judgment that the Platforms are not ‘speaking’ when they host other people’s speech. Our decision is still further reinforced by the common carrier doctrine, which vests the Texas Legislature with the power to prevent the Platforms from discriminating against Texas users.”

NetChoice expressed disappointment with the ruling and plans to appeal in the Supreme Court.

“We are disappointed that the Fifth Circuit’s split decision undermines First Amendment protections and creates a circuit split with the unanimous decision of the Eleventh Circuit,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice vice president and general counsel.

The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit blocked a similar law passed in the state of Florida.

“We remain convinced that when the U.S. Supreme Court hears one of our cases, it will uphold the First Amendment rights of websites, platforms, and apps,” Szabo added.

The Supreme Court will now likely hear the case and, based on precedent, will likely overturn the ruling.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

Biden doubles down on demanding Big Tech censor “hate”

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim The Net | September 16, 2022

Some of the world’s biggest tech companies and their social media platforms are ramping up censorship policies, once again under – this time public – pressure from the White House, as President Biden urged them to show accountability for what he said was spreading of hate and fueling of violence.

Biden addressed Big Tech in this way on Thursday, during a White House-hosted event – “United We Stand“- dubbed to be a summit dedicated to combating “hate-based violence,” particularly that targeting minorities or religious groups.

Addressing an audience made up of members of his administration, activists, and lawmakers, the president – who observers say is himself under political pressure to live up to the campaign promises regarding the handling of social media – also made a reference to Section 230, when he said that he believes special immunity for social media needs to be “gotten rid of” by Congress.

“And I’m calling on Congress to get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stronger transparency requirements on all of them,” said Biden.

Reports say that both the remark about “holding social media accountable” and getting rid (of Section 230) were supported enthusiastically at the summit, with cheers and standing ovations.

The speech came shortly after the White House announced that Microsoft, Facebook (Meta), YouTube, and Amazon’s Twitch were all “updating” their rules in order to counter “hateful rhetoric” which is treated as violent extremism online.

The page set up for the summit detailed new actions to help prevent “hate-fueled violence” to be undertaken by various actors, including the federal government, and non-federal public and private institutions – among whom the Biden administration listed “commitments from the technology sector.”

YouTube said that it will add videos identified as extremist – for glorifying acts of violence in order to “inspire others or fundraise or recruit” – to its long list of content slated for censorship, and start removing these videos. And this will be happening regardless of whether content is linked to designated terrorist groups.

YouTube also committed to launch its educational media literacy campaign targeted at young users, that is supposed to help them recognize misinformation and manipulation by identifying “emotional language” and “cherry picking information.” This campaign will start in the US but according to the announcement, other countries will not be spared either.

Twitch is preparing to release a new tool that should counter “hate and harassment” by allowing streamers and communities to “further individualize the safety experience of their channels.” Twitch is also getting in the “educational” game with initiatives that are supposed to help communities identify misinformation, and “deter hateful violence.”

Microsoft said it will bake in what it calls online safety education into Minecraft via an “Education Edition” of the game, but more notably also deploy violence detection and prevention “AI” and machine learning (ML)- something eerily reminiscent of the concept of “pre-crime.” The White House announcement said there would be “appropriate” privacy protections.

And Microsoft also intends to sell “a basic, more affordable” version of these tools to schools and other organizations – cynics would say, should they show interest in detecting “pre-crime.”

Meanwhile, Meta is coming up with a research partnership with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies’ Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism.

The purpose would be to analyze violent extremism trends, but also tools that “help communities combat it.” Another partnership is in Meta’s future – with Search For Common Ground (a US-based NGO established by a former US Department of State diplomat). Here, Meta’s “community-based partners” will be provided with training and skill building in order to counter “hate-fueled violence.”

Whether or not any of these new announced rules and initiatives go beyond the declarative and may merely be produced to appease the Biden administration will become clear in time, if and when their effects are revealed in transparency reports.

What is of greater interest now is the stance of the White House toward Section 230, and the angle from which it is gunning for this decades-old legislation giving internet platforms, specifically social media, free rein in deciding which content to allow, while at the same time shielding them from legal liability given that this is user generated content.

Democrats have consistently claimed that Section 230, essentially, stands in the way of putting more pressure on Big Tech to censor content they don’t like.

Republicans, on the other hand, believe Section 230 gives Silicon Valley a “get out of jail free card” to censor conservative voices at will.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 3 Comments

Facebook reported ‘anti-authority’ users to FBI

Samizdat – September 16, 2022

Facebook has been reporting users to the FBI’s domestic terrorism unit for nothing more than anti-authority sentiment, the New York Post reported on Wednesday, citing Justice Department (DOJ) sources.

“Facebook provides the FBI with private conversations which are protected by the First Amendment without any subpoena,” the sources claimed, explaining this is done “outside the legal process and without probable cause.”

Merely expressing concern about the legitimacy of the 2020 US election results was enough to get users flagged, they said.

Excerpts from those messages, often highlighting the “most egregious-sounding comments out of context,” were offered to nearby FBI field offices as “leads.”

Upon receiving them, the local offices could request subpoenas from their partner US attorney’s office in order to legally obtain the private messages they had already been shown by Facebook outside the legal process, the Post’s sources claimed.

None of the subsequent FBI investigations turned up any criminal or violent activity, the sources said.

“It was a waste of our time,” one source complained, describing a “frenzy” of subpoena requests and other activity over the last 19 months aimed at backing up the claims made by the administration of President Joe Biden about the threat posed by domestic terrorism in the aftermath of the January 6 Capitol riot.

The users targeted by Facebook for this kind of surveillance were all “gun-toting, red-blooded Americans who were angry after the election and shooting off their mouths and talking about staging protests,” the source said, adding there was “nothing criminal, nothing about violence or massacring or assassinating anyone.”

Facebook initially called the DOJ sources’ claims “false” before releasing a second statement to the Post an hour later characterizing them as “wrong,” insisting the company’s relationship with the FBI was “designed to protect people from harm” rather than to “proactively supply” law enforcement with the names of users expressing anti-government sentiment.

“We carefully scrutinize all government requests for user information to make sure they’re legally valid and narrowly tailored and we often push back,” Erica Sackin, a spokesperson for parent company Meta, said in the statement.

The FBI admitted it receives information “with investigative value” from social media providers and that it “maintains an ongoing dialogue to enable a quick exchange of threat information,” but would neither confirm nor deny the specific allegations made by the DOJ whistleblowers.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 2 Comments

Senators use hearing to criticize Big Tech for not censoring enough “disinformation”

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | September 16, 2022

The Senate Homeland Security Committee questioned executives from social media companies about allowing “disinformation” to go viral.

Watch the hearing here.

Former executives from these companies appeared during the hearings and accused their former employers of allowing misinformation to spread because it has more user engagement.

Committee chair Senator Gary Peters (a Democrat from Michigan) told Twitter, Meta, YouTube, and TikTok that by pushing “the most engaging posts to more users, they end up amplifying extremist, dangerous, and radicalizing content. This includes QAnon, Stop the Steal, and other conspiracy theories, as well as white supremacist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

Last September, a former Facebook employee, turned 🛡“whistleblower,” claimed that the company allows “disinformation” to spread to boost growth and called for more censorship.

During the hearing, former head engineer at Twitter, Alex Roetter, said that social media companies do not want to rein in disinformation because it is profitable.

“Regulators must understand these companies’ incentives, culture, and internal processes to fully appreciate how resistant they will be to changing the status quo that has been so lucrative for them,” he said.

Roetter went on to say that Twitter uses an experimental system to test how to get the most engagement from users.

“This system logs a slew of data for every live experiment,” he said. “Teams use this data to show per-experiment effects on various user and revenue metrics. Noticeably absent were any values tracking impacts on trust and safety metrics.”

Former vice president for product engineering, marketing, strategic operations, and analytics at Facebook, Brian Boland, testified about his former employer prioritizing user engagement. He said that Facebook acquired CrowdTangle, a company that provided “industry-leading transparency” into the platform’s newsfeed content. The company showed that Facebook was amplifying political and racial divisions in 2020. According to Boland, Meta “attempted to delegitimize the CrowdTangle-generated data.”

“What finally convinced me that it was time to leave was that despite growing evidence that the newsfeed may be causing harm globally, the focus on and investments in safety remained small and siloed,” Boland said. “Rather than address the serious issues raised by its own research, Meta leadership chooses growing the company over keeping more people safe.”

Boland also noted that Facebook disbanded its Responsible Innovation team last week. He added that social media companies should be regulated because their algorithms will only get better at targeting vulnerable users.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

US impeded independent research into Covid origins – Lancet

Samizdat – September 15, 2022

The US has prevented independent research into the origins of the Covid-19 virus, a report by the Lancet Commission has asserted.

Washington barred the researchers from accessing relevant laboratories and refused to disclose full information on American studies of the virus, the document, published in the British medical journal on Wednesday, outlined.

“Independent researchers have not yet investigated the US laboratories engaged in the laboratory manipulation of SARS-CoV-like viruses,” the report said while discussing the potential origins of the Covid-19 infection. Nor had they gained access to the research conducted at the Wuhan laboratory, which has been considered a possible place where the disease might have originated, the document added.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) also “resisted disclosing the details” of the research conducted in America on SARS-CoV-related viruses, which the US government agency has been supporting, according to the report. Eventually, only an “extensively redacted” version of the relevant data was provided, the document said, adding that it contains only as much information that was required by the Freedom of Information act lawsuits.

The lack of the needed data on the virus origins still prevents the researchers from determining the origin of the virus, the paper admits, adding that virtually any hypothesis in this field remains plausible. In particular, it said that “two main possible pathways” of its emergence should still be considered: a natural spillover event, in which a person contracted it from an animal, and a “research-related” incident.

The second pathway particularly suggests that a researcher could have become “infected in the field or in the laboratory with a natural virus, or … in the laboratory with a genetically manipulated virus,” the document said.

“The search for the origins of the virus requires unbiased, independent, transparent, and rigorous work … supported by all governments,” the report noted. Washington has so far not commented on the Lancet Commission findings.

The exact origins of the Covid-19 virus have yet to be conclusively proven. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in February 2021 that it was most likely transmitted from an animal, possibly a bat, to humans.

Earlier in September, an Israeli study concluded that bats are likely not to blame for the Covid-19 pandemic since there is no compelling evidence proving a link between bats and the disease outbreak.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments