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Trump’s new cyber strategy seeks global dominion over internet

RT | September 21, 2018

Setting the global standard for online behavior, preserving American dominance, political and economic interests, punishing ‘malicious actors’ like Russia and China: these are the ambitious goals of the new US cyber-strategy.

The White House published the 40-page document on Thursday afternoon, the first comprehensive cyber strategy in 15 years. The strategy’s core assumption is that the US created the internet and that Washington must maintain the dominant role in defining, shaping and policing cyberspace in much the same way as it does the globe.

All strategies are but broad outlines of general measures and overall objectives, and this one is no different. Beyond merely defending US computer networks – that’s just the first part, devoted to protecting the “American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life” – it wants to promote US economic prosperity while advancing influence around the world and achieving “peace through strength” as well.

The Trump administration’s approach to cyberspace is “anchored by enduring American values, such as the belief in the power of individual liberty, free expression, free markets, and privacy,” the strategy says right at the start.

It also takes as an article of faith that Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea use “cyber tools to undermine our economy and democracy, steal our intellectual property, and sow discord in our democratic processes.”

Having signed on to this central assertion of Russiagate-peddlers, the Trump administration lays out the ways in which it intends to achieve its pie-in-the-(cyber)sky objectives.

‘Securing US democracy’

The Department of Homeland Security, a vast bureaucracy established after 9/11, is supposed to centralize management and oversight of federal computer networks, with the notable exceptions of those belonging to the Pentagon and the intelligence community. Reforms are supposed to make government networks more secure, reliable and efficient, while federal contracting will drive improvements in both products and services. This is the same process that has produced the F-35, a trillion-dollar clunker.

Those obsessed with seeing Russian hackers behind every voting machine might be interested in page 9, where the strategy proposes to “secure our democracy” by… offering training and risk management to state and local governments “when requested.” Admittedly, there isn’t much more the federal government can do to protect election systems, aside from securing the network infrastructure.

A particularly interesting tidbit here is also that law enforcement will “work with private industry to confront challenges presented by technological barriers, such as anonymization and encryption technologies” to obtain “time-sensitive evidence.” This is basically a rehash of former FBI Director James Comey’s perpetual refrain about the need for backdoor access to encrypted products and services.

The most (in)famous example of this was when the FBI took Apple to court over accessing the San Bernardino terrorist suspect’s iPhone, then hiring an Israeli company to crack the device, only to find… nothing of interest.

Privacy and civil rights advocates will be overjoyed to hear that Trump also wants to “update electronic surveillance and computer crime statutes” to make sure law enforcement can gather more evidence of cyber crimes and “impose appropriate consequences upon malicious cyber actors.”

‘Promoting American prosperity’

The second pillar talks a lot about the US government sponsoring innovation and creating jobs, but its key objective is to “promote the free flow of data across borders” (p.15). And if “repressive regimes” use US-made cybersecurity tools to “undermine human rights,” Washington will expose and counter them.

No word on whether that will apply to Google’s work in China, or Twitter, YouTube and Facebook’s throttling of speech that runs counter to their executives’ politics.

‘Preserving peace through strength’

Pillar three is where things get offensive – literally. Its objective is to “identify, counter, disrupt, degrade, and deter behavior in cyberspace that is destabilizing and contrary to national interests” while preserving US “overmatch.”

In addition to authorizing offensive cyber operations against suspected bad actors, the strategy proceeds from the assumption that the world craves US leadership, and envisions Washington promoting a “framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace” based on international law and “voluntary non-binding norms.”

A coalition of like-minded states, led by the US would “coordinate and support each other’s responses to significant malicious cyber incidents.”

How? Well, through intelligence sharing, but also “buttressing of attribution claims, public statements of support for responsive actions taken, and joint imposition of consequences against malign actors.”

If that sounds a bit like what happened after the UK accused Russia, without evidence, of using a chemical agent to poison ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, and the US and other allies just took Whitehall’s word for it… that’s because it does.

‘Advancing US influence’

That leads us to the fourth and final pillar, advancing US influence around the globe. Accusing China not only of wanting to create a closed, censored internet by exporting that model elsewhere, the strategy envisions US evangelizing for a “free and open” internet.

Washington “will continue to work with like-minded countries, industry, civil society, and other stakeholders to advance human rights and Internet freedom globally and to counter authoritarian efforts to censor and influence Internet development,” the strategy says.

Does that mean the State Department intends to challenge the new EU copyright rules that would effectively outlaw memes and charge a “link tax”? Somehow that seems highly… unlikely.

Read more:

‘Faith-based attribution’: Microsoft unable to identify those behind pre-midterm hacking – experts

‘Our hands are not tied’ anymore: White House approves offensive US cyber strategy

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

UK to set up new internet regulator to monitor ‘hate speech’ and enforce ‘code of conduct’ – report

RT | September 20, 2018

Free speech advocates are appalled at news that the UK government may create a new regulator, empowered to heavily fine social media giants that fail to clamp down on rogue posts, and even banish sites for ‘non-illegal’ content.

The new legislation for reducing online “social harms” will be presented this winter, according to a Buzzfeed report, whose veracity has been confirmed in a statement by the Conservative government.

According to the proposals, Facebook, Twitter and other websites offering user-generated videos, photos and posts will be forced to remove content such as –but not restricted to– child pornography, terrorist incitement and hate speech within a tight time limit, or face hefty fines.

This follows the controversial German model, approved last year, in which companies have to take down posts that violate the law within 24 hours, lest they be penalized with fines of up to €50 million. Critics there have said that the legislation is unenforceable, due to the sheer volume of published information, that it provokes a chilling effect among online voices and forces internet companies into engaging in heavy-handed censorship.

Of even more concern will be the new body’s role in producing “new regulations on non-illegal content and behaviour online” – which could force content that does not actually violate any laws, but is considered undesirable, such as publicly humiliating posts or “fake news” to be removed. Authors note that there are fiery internal debates about whether the government has the right to try and monitor or control such speech, or what the exact boundaries are.

Websites will also be forced to introduce a mechanism of secure age verification, as opposed to current methods, in which the users themselves say how old they are. A similar proposal has been touted for adult content websites accessed from the UK for several years, but plans have been repeatedly delayed over privacy and workability considerations.

Websites, many of which operate outside the UK, will be asked to sign up to a code of conduct, saying that they agree to the above regulations. It is suggested that those that fail to do so will face punishment, and could potentially be blocked altogether to British internet visitors.

Those concerned about the free speech dimension have slammed the idea of a regulator, calling the potential development a step towards total control of the UK population. Others wondered who will be entrusted with controlling and censoring the virtual space, and who would “guard the guards.”

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Court orders psychiatric evaluation for Marine Le Pen, she slams it as ‘hallucination’

RT | September 20, 2018

French politician Marine Le Pen said a court ordered her to undergo psychiatric evaluation over a series of images she posted on Twitter showing Islamic State executions. She slammed the order as a “hallucination.”

The president of France’s National Rally (formerly Front National) has released an order saying it comes from the magistrates in Nanterre near Paris, calling on her to “undergo a psychiatric examination.”

“For denouncing the horrors of Daesh (Islamic State/IS, formerly ISIS) by tweets the “justice system” has referred [me] to a psychiatric assessment. How far will they go?!” she tweeted in response.

The 2017 presidential candidate denounced the order as “a hallucination,” saying: “This regime is really starting to scare [us].”

French major outlet BMFTV, which also broke the story, said that the procedure was in fact a “common” occurrence. The comment did not go down well with Le Pen though, who branded the claim “a lie.” Such an examination is required of “pedophiles or [those with] sexual deviance,” she argued.

In December of 2015, Le Pen tweeted three pictures of killings carried out by IS terrorists accompanied by the text “Daesh [Arabic term for ISIS] is THIS!” The tweets had been a response to journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin, who compared Le Pen’s nationalist rhetoric to that of the Islamic terrorist group.

One of the pictures showed the body of James Foley, whom the extremists beheaded in August 2014. Back then his family said they had been “deeply disturbed by the unsolicited use of Jim for Le Pen’s political gain.”

Le Pen later deleted the images. Speaking to French media earlier this year she said that she is being charged for “having condemned the horrors of Daesh.”

If convicted, the politician faces a maximum punishment of a €75,000 fine and up to three years in prison.

A number of politicians have lambasted the judges’ decision towards Le Pen. According to National Assembly member Gilbert Collard, the order simply means “the psychiatrization of political opinion.”

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini also took to Twitter to express support for the French politician. “A court orders a psychiatric assessment for Marine Le Pen. Words fail me! Solidarity with her and with the French who love freedom!” he wrote.

This is not the first time Marine Le Pen has locked horns with the authorities. In 2017, roughly two months before the presidential election, she was summoned by judges for alleged misuse of EU funds. The court said that Le Pen’s staff was fictitiously employed at the European Parliament as assistants. She denied the allegations.

This July, French judges blocked €2 million of subsidies to Le Pen’s party. Le Pen condemned the move as “a blow to democracy,” since withholding the funding would likely result in her party becoming defunct.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Free Press Advocates Alarmed by US Government’s “Terrifying” Secret Rules for Spying on Journalists

Jessica Corbett – CommonDreams – September 17, 2018

Journalists and free press advocates are responding with alarm to newly released documents revealing the U.S. government’s secret rules for using Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders to spy on reporters, calling the revelations “important” and “terrifying.”

The documents – obtained and released by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed last November – confirm long held suspicions that federal officials can target journalists with FISA orders.

The two 2015 memos from former Attorney General Eric Holder to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lay out procedures to ensure that the attorney general or deputy attorney general signs off on any FISA applications “targeting known media entities or known members of the media.”

These secret rules, as Cora Currier reported for The Intercept, “apply to media entities or journalists who are thought to be agents of a foreign government, or, in some cases, are of interest under the broader standard that they possess foreign intelligence information.”

“There’s a lack of clarity on the circumstances when the government might consider a journalist an agent of a foreign power,” Ramya Krishnan, a staff attorney with the Knight Institute told Currier.

“Think about WikiLeaks; the government has said they are an intelligence operation.”

Additionally, even if they aren’t personally targeted by FISA orders, Krishnan pointed out that “journalists merely by being contacted by a FISA target might be subject to monitoring – these guidelines, as far as we can tell, don’t contemplate that situation or add any additional protections.”

Freedom of the Press Foundation executive director Trevor Timm noted that while “the fact that these were kept secret during the Obama administration is cause for great concern,” President Donald Trump “has repeatedly stated his hatred for the media, and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already tripled the amount of leak investigations since the Obama era (when they were already at an all time high).”

“This is critically important information at a time when press freedom has been under threat from the government, and its role in our democracy has never been more important,” Timm added, calling on the DOJ to disclose how often journalists have been subjected to FISA court orders, and why the rules were kept secret until this suit.

“It makes me wonder, what other rules are out there, and how have these rules been applied?” Victoria Baranetsky, general counsel with the Center for Investigative Reporting, previously of Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, told Currier. “The next step is figuring out how this has been used.”

The DOJ’s rules for obtaining a FISA court order to target a journalist, Timm explained, “are entirely separate from – and much less stringent—than the rules for obtaining subpoenas, court orders, and warrants against journalists” detailed in the DOJ’s “media guidelines,” which Holder “strengthened in 2015 after several scandals involving surveillance of journalists during the Obama era.”

However, Holder’s guidelines still concerned media advocates, Currier noted, “because they left room for the use of National Security Letters,” which “are administrative orders with which the FBI can obtain certain phone and financial records without a judge’s oversight.” Currier previously reported on the FBI’s 2013 rules for such orders, and concerns about them, in 2016.

You can read the DOJ’s rules for targeting journalists with FISA court orders here.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 3 Comments

When Social Networks Care About National Security

By Harry Bentham | OffGuardian | September 16, 2018

Controversies surrounding online fake news, having alarmed political activists in Britain and the US, are prompting social media companies to be more active in combating the alleged threat. For many people in opposition to the policies of US President Donald Trump and Britain’s exit from the EU, the internet is to blame for the situation because it illicitly influenced voters. As a result, increased policing of social networks to root out foreign spies and domestic dissidents seems necessary to them. One of the latest examples is Twitter’s permanent suspension of American conspiracy theorist entertainer Alex Jones.

The responsibility to police the social networks seems to have largely been placed, by pushy and concerned politicians, on the management of tech companies themselves. British MPs and US senators did this by summoning them to hearings and campaigning openly against the internet’s permissiveness on political content, making demands they should shut down dissident and foreign outlets because they have gone too far.

Although the most vocal of them are not actually in the incumbent government and therefore not responsible for national security responses, they are still lawmakers representing constituents and can threaten legislation to compel social media companies to change. Preferring instead to make the policing of social media posts look voluntary, they seem to have capably persuaded the management of the tech companies to enforce their views on national security.

Therefore, now, we are at an awkward point where transnational social networks must care about so-called national security – specifically the US’s national security, based on that country’s strange and self-obsessed drivel about being exceptional and better than others. What next?

Recently, we have seen police-like enforcement action against dissident users and outlets present on a variety of social media platforms and applications used by a probable majority of people in the UK and the US. This removal of controversial figures from online platforms is presented as not being censorship, but rather the enforcement of decent community guidelines by companies that have every right to withhold services. However, this argument is not very convincing. The political pressure has been immense. The results have not been targeted at bad social media behavior like spam and harassment, but against alternate political views on both the left and the right. If we look at the actions of the tech companies, they are not only encouraged by elements of the state but have made themselves into state-like actors by describing themselves as stopping foreign threats and extremism.

Brexit was the mistake of a misled public, perhaps. We are told so by influential media personalities – almost all of them – and the same narrative is presented when it comes to the election of Trump. We are encouraged to lean towards the same common solution to both of these mishaps, and it consists of mostly a crackdown online – especially on Twitter. We will be shutting down online accounts and channels belonging to the supporters of such causes as Trump and Brexit, after quickly and conveniently finding them guilty of being bots or possibly foreign. No attention is given to bad behavior as a whole.

For example, no enforcement action is used against pro-EU accounts or anti-Trump accounts, many of which self-identify as foreign or completely automated. Some even blatantly violate Twitter’s rules on inflated hashtag campaigns, doing things like using the hashtag #FBPE to get followers and retweets from pro-EU bots. Their own determination to trick users and violate the community guidelines is openly celebrated by them, so oblivious are these kinds of activists to their own hypocrisy.

So, in fact, what seems at first a principled argument against bad behavior is really a cliché so we can pretend there was some civilized reason for thuggishly silencing other points of view.

Much of the commentary by the Democratic Party, as with opponents of Brexit in the UK, focuses on national security and the need to silence or eliminate bad people and Russians. It is presented as war, using the language of military propaganda. Being in opposition, these democracy-loving people in the Democratic Party and other groups now presume it is the job of civil society – news networks like CNN and tech companies like Apple mainly – to not only take charge of national security themselves but also engage directly in censorship.

But censorship, the shutting down of opposing views and channels on grounds that they are treasonous, is not an exertion of soft power but hard power. It is a state-like activity, and the sole responsibility of states in all previous cases. By taking part in censorship without being part of the elected leadership of the state and the command structure it possesses to deal with national security threats, unelected elements in civil society are allowed to commit what would be a crime if they had been elected to do it. They engage in a coup-like activity, since, not being part of an elected government, they are nonetheless engaged in state-like activity and are trying to invasively police matters that only a heavily expanded state or dictatorship is ever expected to police.

What is presented above makes it justifiable to consider whether traditional models of state censorship would be more consistent with the rule of law and the importance of a democratic mandate than the current capricious enforcement by private companies. A party whose candidate failed to win power over the whole state, such as the Democrats, is not able to implement a program of state censorship at the moment they most want to. The reason this is the case is because of their very loss in the 2016 US election, which makes them not responsible for matters of national security and not tasked with securing the information space against threats, and yet they try. For them to seek routes around this failure, going to non-elected entities such as the tech companies in an attempt to dictate terms of censorship and actual national security policies via them, can be compared with a coup or a form of separatism. This is the creation of a second state, the seizure of infrastructure to interdict citizens. It is completely outside the bounds of normal political processes, which focus solely on democratic and valid elections as the only means of changing power.

Each point made in relation to the US Democrats here is equally true of influencers and leaders who seek to invalidate the results of the UK’s Brexit referendum, in large part because these are the same kind of civil society actors. In their attempts to portray the activity of the national government itself as treasonous and wrest control of the management of national security from the British government, entities with no democratic mandate are hopelessly creating a second state – one without elections – to take control over national security.

It is not political opposition but a second state because, for the first time ever, it wants not just persuasive soft power but hard power in the capability to suppress targets or eliminate their influence on command. Not only would this realization make these parties and their tech industry collaborators a state-like entity, but it could make such actors as the Democratic Party traitors at war with the electorate.

While this article doesn’t make such a claim, it is one Trump and his supporters have come close to making when the President accused unrelenting elements of the press of being “enemies of the people”, and could eventually create a national security crisis. The reason it would be a crisis is because both Trump and his critics will have a point. It is the role of activists and media to be adversarial, but if they are too aggressive and specifically driven to remove an elected head of state from power, their actions may be seen as the de facto overthrow of the republic to install themselves as political arbiters and impose a moral aristocracy.

Many leaders and followers in the political opposition in the US and UK are supportive of censorship, slithering around constitutional safeguards against state censorship. Whether in public hearings or behind closed doors, they have been going directly to tech companies and other parts of civil society to physically disrupt or silence speech they dislike. If they are such supporters of national security and censorship, and are really so concerned about traitors, they should not conspire. Rather, these people should approach the elected government with their concerns, to avoid being deemed traitors themselves.

They can achieve censorship by working to convince the elected government to change the law in relation to such practices and introduce programs of lawful censorship, as well as bodies to reliably and authoritatively identify traitors. This means national security can be pursued in a way at least consistent with electoral democracy, even if it erodes human rights further. Otherwise, we will continue to see electorally defeated parties and elements of civil society acting like terrorist hijackers determined to take power. They will be gaining state-like powers, harassing citizens who did not vote for them, carrying out targeted censorship, and enforcing their values over the corpse of the democratic state.

It should be concluded that none of the above is a desirable conversation to take part in and it is regrettable that it would need to be published. Ideally, neither state censorship nor corporate censorship should be tolerated. The internet should continue to be home to an anarchic culture at all costs, not a state-like one. However, as rhetoric becomes more warlike and paranoid and positions become irreconcilable, all spaces could become politically aligned and everyone’s freedom to communicate could catastrophically reduce. With constant political censorship, critical thinking will rewind a hundred years and the internet will talk like propaganda from 1914 when you try to search for the truth.


Harry Bentham is an independent author. His writing has been featured at Beliefnet, Press TV, the Center for a Stateless Society, h+ Magazine and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Having authored several titles available on Amazon, Harry wrote and independently published the technology and politics book Catalyst: A Techno-Liberation Thesis in 2013 and is a listed member of think tanks including the futurist Lifeboat Foundation. Keep track of Harry’s ideas via Twitter @hjbentham and @catalystthesis

September 16, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

After Cutting All UNWRA Humanitarian Aid, US to Award Israel with $3.3B/Year in Military Aid

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | September 14, 2018

WASHINGTON — A massive spending bill, which would deliver $3.3 billion dollars in military aid to Israel over the next year, passed the House on Wednesday under cover of a media blackout. The U.S. Senate had passed a different version of the same bill in early August, a vote that also went largely unreported.

Now, after the House’s passage of a slightly altered version of the Senate’s spending bill, officially titled the “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018,” all that remains is for the two chambers of Congress to reconcile their versions before the product is sent to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. According to Skopos Labs, the bill now has a 90 percent chance of being enacted. If enacted, the bill will be the largest aid package in American history.

As MintPress previously reported, $3.3 billion was supposed to be the annual limit for U.S. military aid to Israel. However, the figure is actually set to be higher this year as a result of Congress’ recent passage of a massive $716 billion defense bill that provides an additional $550 million in U.S. aid for Israeli missile defense systems. That defense bill also authorizes an additional $1 billion for U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel.

Furthermore, the $3.3 billion in annual aid is set to continue for the next decade based on the current text of the bill and the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between Israel and the Obama administration — totaling over $38 billion over the next decade when accounting for annual military aid and annual aid given specifically to fund Israeli missile defense.

That startling figure roughly equates to $23,000 for every Jewish family living in Israel.

In addition to the massive sum the legislation would give to the Israeli military, the bill would also mandate that NASA closely cooperate with the Israel Space Agency (ISA), despite the latter’s history of espionage targeting NASA.

The massive amount of aid the U.S. government is set to give to Israel comes amid Israel’s unprecedented crackdown on unarmed protesters in the Gaza Strip and a looming Israeli military operation aimed at “conquering” the Palestinian enclave. The aid package’s imminent package is also set to coincide with efforts to annex the vast majority of Palestine’s West Bank, which has been militarily occupied by Israel since 1967.

As MintPress noted in a previous report, such grave violations of human rights would normally prevent the U.S. government from providing aid to Israel, given that the Leahy Laws enable the U.S. to withhold military assistance from units and individuals in foreign security forces if they have committed a gross violation of human rights.

However, the U.S. government – particularly under the rabidly pro-Israel administration of President Trump, which just last week cut all funding for Palestinian humanitarian relief through UNRWA – has consistently shown that it is willing to bend the rules for Israel.

Congress waves the Israeli flag

The $3.3 billion military aid package was only one of the bills passed by the House that is set to benefit Israel. Another bill, which has also been largely overlooked by the media, would seek to create a special government envoy tasked with monitoring “anti-Semitism” and criticism of Israel worldwide.

According to the text of the bill – officially titled the “Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2017” – the envoy would “serve as the primary advisor to, and coordinate efforts across, the United States government relating to monitoring and combating anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement that occur in foreign countries,” and have the rank of ambassador. Only two members of the House voted against the bill: Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA).

While an effort to combat “anti-Semitism” is a noble cause, the recent endorsement of a controversial definition of the term by Congress, which defines certain criticisms of the state of Israel as anti-Semitic, makes it likely that any envoy appointed to this position would be focused on clamping down on domestic and international criticisms of the Israeli government.

Given the potential dangers that such a position could pose to free speech, not just in the U.S. but abroad, it is surprising that this bill’s passage by an overwhelming majority received next to no media attention. Yet, in light of the media blackout also surrounding the imminent approval of the U.S.’ massive aid package to the Israeli military, it is perhaps not so surprising.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

September 15, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Massacre At Ballymurphy

Saoradh Nuacht – Irish Republican News | September 9, 2018

How Britain used internment and murder in Ireland in 1971, in an attempt to shore up partition and the sectarian apartheid statelet in the North of Ireland.

For residents of places outside Ireland or Britain this version of the documentary film shown on the UK Channel Four over the weekend has been made available on YouTube.

#MassacreAtBallymurphy

September 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

On the Censorship of Michael Hoffman’s Books by Amazon

The Saker • Unz Review • September 13, 2018

A couple of months ago I did an interview with one of the foremost scholars of rabbinical Judaism, Michael Hoffman. The occasion was the release of his latest book “The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome”. At the time I did not expect to have to ask for a follow-up interview with him, but when I learned that Amazon had censored his books (please see Hoffman’s own account of this here). Specifically, the ban is on three of his books. A complete ban (Kindle + printed book) on Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, as well as The Great Holocaust Trial: Revised and Expanded, while his textbook, Judaism Discovered, has been removed from the Kindle. I felt that I had to talk to him again and he kindly agreed to reply to my questions. I submit to you the full text of our Q&A which I will follow-up with a short commentary.

* * *

The Saker: Please summarize what happened to your books and Amazon and tells us what specific explanations were given to you. Did Amazon ever offer you a “page and paragraph” list of “offending” passages? Do you have any means of knowing exactly what your book is being banned for?

Hoffman: Whether it is Facebook, Google or Amazon, the excuse most often cited for suppression is “content guidelines’ violation.” Amazon notified us on August 13 that two of our titles, which they have been selling for years and in thousands of copies, Judaism Discovered, our 1100 page textbook published in 2008, and Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, published in 2010 — were being permanently removed after “review” by the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) unit of Amazon. A facsimile of the KDP notice can be viewed here:

https://www.revisionisthistory.org/page8/page8.html

In their e-mail they told us that “… we found that this content is in violation of content guidelines.” In studying their content guidelines one encounters a vague, generic statement about not permitting that which is “offensive.” There is no guidance as to what “offense” has suddenly arisen after these books were sold on Amazon for several years. Like the Red Queen in Wonderland who declared to Alice that, “A word is anything I say it is!” — that which “offends” is anything Amazon says it is. A third book, The Great Holocaust Trial: The Landmark Battle for the Right to Doubt the West’s Most Sacred Relic, was also forbidden.

Does Amazon have the chutzpah to publicly categorize these books as “hate speech” or some other alibi for censorship that could be contested? No, they do not. They leave authors and publishers twisting in the wind, making it more difficult to appeal the decision and report to the public on the tyranny. Although since they allow no appeal, it’s a moot point. Personally, I have no doubt concerning why my books were censored.

The Saker: What is, in your opinion, the true intent behind the ban on the sales of your book? What is Amazon’s interest in this?

Hoffman: I don’t believe Amazon has much interest in this. It is more likely that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is the interested party. Last August 7 the New York Times online published a revealing piece by David French in which he wrote: “We live in a world where the Southern Poverty Law Center, a formerly respected civil-rights organization, abuses its past trust to label a host of mainstream organizations (including my former employer, the Alliance Defending Freedom) and individuals as ‘hate groups,… based sometimes on… outright misreadings and misrepresentations of an individual’s beliefs and views… Amazon recently booted Alliance Defending Freedom from its AmazonSmile charity program because of the center’s designation.”

At around the time in 2017 that the SPLC was trying to interfere with the business operations of people such as myself, by intimidating banks and credit card processors into refusing to process payments for books, Paypal notified us that due to the contents of our website (www.RevisionistHistory.org) we were an embarrassment to their brand and they were terminating our account. As long as Paypal was owned by libertarians, all was well and we had a high customer satisfaction rating for our integrity and dependability. The original Paypal mainly cared about whether you were a responsible seller. A politicized administration eventually took over Paypal and in 2017 we were terminated, very likely on the “advice” of the SPLC.

To return to Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos founded it in 1994. It was very much a libertarian book operation from the start. From 1994 until a year or two ago, Amazon only refused to sell hard core pornography and books that constituted direct appeals to violence or law-breaking, which is how it should be. Every other type of book was sold, without censorship, which is one reason for Amazon’s early success and increasing market share. Then last year, after Mr. Bezos had reached the status of one of the world’s wealthiest persons, and Amazon’s total value was beginning to approach that of Apple and Google, Amazon staged a huge purge and eliminated more than a hundred World War II revisionist history books published by Germar Rudolf’s CODOH organization (books smeared as “Holocaust denial”). This year it was my turn. Next year it might be any author not part of the university press syndicates or the major houses. Such is the heedless power and immunity of Amazon.

It’s important to note that the thought police who removed three of my books were based in the digital division of Amazon, where the electronic Kindle books are marketed and managed. A Kindle permits anyone connected to the Amazon website to read approximately the first thirty pages of any Kindle book free of charge. Consequently, my Judaica scholarship was on display around the world and therefore it was much harder to lie about me and mischaracterize my Talmud and Kabbalah research under those circumstances.

We were also beginning to sell ever increasing numbers of these Kindle books to people in Asia, particularly India and Japan. It’s my hunch that Big Brother is not half so worried about printed books as the digital kind. Removing the three books from the Kindle was the primary objective.

To be banned by Amazon is not equivalent to being banned by any other private business. Most publishers will admit that Amazon has replaced Bowker Books in Print as the industry’s authoritative guide to what books in English have been printed in the past and what is in print now. Amazon is currently the reference source. For a book to be forbidden by Amazon renders it largely invisible. It is equivalent to burning the book. So this is not a matter of Amazon exercising the prerogative of private enterprise. Amazon is a monopoly. It has no rival. If your book doesn’t exist on Amazon, then for most people who are not research specialists, your book doesn’t exist. The consequences for the pursuit of knowledge are ominous.

There is a problem here for Amazon as well. The more Amazon excludes books that embody facts and ideas that constitute radical dissent, the more it becomes a narrow censor’s aperture rather than a reliable bridge to the entire range of the Republic of Letters.

Apologists for censorship of radicals and authentic conservatives often claim that no First Amendment rights are violated when Amazon bans books, therefore it is not a civil rights issue, merely an inconvenience of the capitalist system. In the 1950s however, when the privately-owned movie studios banned certain directors, actors and screen-writers judged to be Leftists or Communists, that action on the part of private enterprise was inscribed in the rolls of the culture wars as the infamous “Blacklist,” and we are still reading and weeping over it sixty-five years later. So it depends on whose ox is being gored.

My Judaica studies are free of “Jew hate,” as anyone who peruses the sections in both books titled “To the Judaic Reader” knows. There we state that the books are dedicated to pidyon shevyuim (redemption of the captive), i.e. rescuing those Judaic persons who are in bondage to the Talmud and the Kabbalah.

Our enemies easily turn to their advantage books containing hatred of “The Jews.” What they absolutely have no credible answer to is a critique predicated, as our books are, on a sincere foundation of true Christian love. Boundary-breaking scholarship united to compassionate concern for the welfare of Judaic people is almost unprecedented in this field. This approach makes my studies of Judaism among the most powerful and effective because they are free of the “hate speech” which is the pivot upon which turns the machinery of liberal-approved censorship. For that reason, making Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, and Judaism Discovered available on the Kindle undercut decades of hatred and libel. Therefore those volumes had to be suppressed.

The Saker: Since this ban was put in place – what reactions have you heard? who has spoken in defense of your scholarship and right to be heard? has anybody taken your defense or spoken up for you?

Hoffman: Ron Unz allowed me to publish a note on the ban at unz.com and you, the Saker, have taken an interest. Our many friends, readers and subscribers have expressed outrage on Twitter and in e-mail. Meanwhile we have contacted everyone from a columnist for Taki’s website to the legacy media, to no discernible effect thus far. The Washington Post, which is owned by Mr. Bezos, has as its motto, “Democracy dies in darkness.” Yet it is in that very darkness where Amazon’s book-banning dwells, due to the apathy of the media and the American Library Association. To ban books by a vulnerable independent scholar is not exactly a daring move in this age where “hate speech” is anything that offends someone’s cherished myth. The definition is so loose it functions as an inquisitor’s sword.

On the positive side, we have seen an uptick in orders to our own online store for the printed books which Amazon has banned [https://truthfulhistory.blogspot.com/2016/02/judaica-books-and-resources.html]. There is no replacement for the banned Kindle editions, however.

The Saker: What do you believe could be done to resist this state of affairs? What can we all do to put a stop to this kind of censorship?

Hoffman: In general, the supporters of the lies of the Overlords wage spiritual and psychological warfare with far more dedication, commitment and self-sacrifice than the purported allies of God’s truth. The Cryptocracy’s defenders are 24/7 militants resolved to contend with their perceived foes with every ounce of their being. Whereas on the side of Christian conservative renewal, with honorable exceptions, I find mainly armchair warriors and folks so enormously distracted by the choices offered by the Internet’s deluge of words and images, that they are nearly paralyzed by the spectacle.

Compare the reception Judge Kavanaugh received in the Senate hearings with that of recent Supreme Court nominees Kagan and Ginsburg. The Republicans were too cowed to seriously confront those ladies. Maintaining decorum was the chief concern of the timid GOP at the time, while Kavanaugh faced a near riot in the visitor’s gallery and extremes of withering interrogation and contempt from defiant Democratic senators.

When CODOH’s books were banned we reported the case extensively online and in our printed newsletter. We contacted an executive with the American Library Association to elicit his response and express our outrage. We did what we could even though we have almost no relationship with CODOH. We would do the same for any person of good will who is denied the right to advance human learning with suppressed facts and ideas. This was formerly a truism in America, up until the rise of the punks of social media who seem to be more like a branch of Antifa than an intellectual class invested in discovery and enlightenment.

Advances in human knowledge are achieved on the basis that “error has rights,” for the reason that enshrined dogmas are often wrong and demonized dissidents are sometimes the bearers of rare discoveries. But the epigram of our time is “Error has no rights,” which was the doctrine of the fiery Inquisition, of the head-chopping French Revolution and of the Bolsheviks and Maoists. If error has no rights then neither does truth, in that what is denounced as hateful error by the mob is sometimes a destabilizing, necessary and even cosmic truth.

* * *

Reading Hoffman’s words I thought that what happened to him is so typical of the Orwellian world we live in where the what I call the “Skripal rules of evidence” (aka “highly likely”) have replaced even basic evidentiary notions, a world in which false flag attacks are announced weeks in advance, a world in which the Planetary Hegemon has declared urbi et orbi that nothing in the body of international law applies to the “indispensable nation” (or to the parasitic host feeding off it) and where “might makes right” has become the motto by which everybody lives. Of course, the censorship of a book cannot be compared to the initiation of a war of aggression (which is the “supreme international crime” under international law: this was the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trial on this topic: To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole ). Still, there is something uniquely devious and evil about the censorship of Hoffman’s books by Amazon, several things in fact:

  1. What is attacked in not a person or even a group, but ideas, arguably the most precious attribute of mankind. This is therefore not only an attack on a human being, but an attack on the very notion of humanity as such
  2. While the method is different, the intention here is no different from the book burnings of the Nazis or the Papacy except that in these latter cases it was obvious who ordered the burning of putatively “degenerate” or “heretical” books. Thus the ideological motive of the Nazis and Papists was always clear whereas in the case of Hoffman this ideological motive is hidden (even if obvious with anybody with a modicum of intelligence).
  3. The ultimate hypocrisy lies in the fact that most so-called libertarians (from the Left to the Right) have nothing to say about this because this is not a case of censorship by government but the action of a corporation which has the “right” to do as it wishes, never mind that the result is still a clear de-facto infringement of Hoffman’s First Amendment rights and the freedom of academic scholarship.
  4. The US government and Congress, by allowing monopolistic corporations such as Amazon to have that kind of power are basically engaging in what I would call “censorship by proxy” which is to be expected from a deep state which now does almost everything by proxy in order to bypass fundamental US and international laws (“extraordinary renditions” anybody?).
  5. Unlike the government which does have to produce at least some evidence before it can censor an individual or organization, a US corporation does not even have to justify itself by a single word. This is viewed as a triumph of deregulation by mindless libertarians who would gladly surrender all their freedoms as long as it is not to the state. In the real world, of course, they still end up handing over their freedoms to the state, except that the state is hiding behind their beloved corporations.

It is also pretty obvious that those who might, at least in theory, have something to say about this kind of censorship by proxy remain silent because, at least according to them, Hoffman is an “anti-Semite” (which, having read many of his books, I can attest is a total falsehood; by way of evidence here are sample pages from his book:

and thus he is undeserving of support. So-called “anti-Semites” are, along with the pedophiles, the “consensus villains” of the day (I explain that in detail here) but what the anti-anti-Semites fail to realize is that each time a “consensus villain” is deprived from his rights, this sets a precedent for everybody else. This is why Yehuda Bauer warned us when he wrote: “Thou shalt not be a victim, Thou shalt not be a perpetrator, And above all, Thou shalt not be a bystander”. To no avail, alas: we live in society of silent bystanders apparently! And when YouTube decides to silence all the Syrian state channels to better prepare for a false flag chemical attack, everybody looks away – “ain’t my problem”…

We all know that in Europe (and in Russia) you can be jailed and your books banned if a court finds them to be “revisionist” or “anti-Semitic” or “hateful” and the like. But at least in Europe (and in Russia), you get your day in court and you can defend yourself against accusations which the state has to prove. In Russia, just last week, a man accused of “rehabilitating National-Socialism” (for reprinting an article by another author!) was found non guilty by a majority of jurors (5 to 3) (the punishment he was facing was a fine and several years in jail). Thank God, in the “home of the brave” no such thing could happen, right?!

True, Hoffman does not risk jail (yet!). But in terms of crushing crimethink, I submit that the US system is much more effective because it allows the deep state to hide behind the veil of corporate malfeasance. There have been plenty of revolutions against a state, but I don’t know of any revolutions against the corporate dictatorship.

You tell me: which is worse, the absence of freedom or the illusion of freedom?

Personally, I find the latter much worse.

I never expected the corporate presstitutes to really care about our freedoms, ditto for the libertarians and the progressive Left. They are all too busy with their narrow ideological agenda. As for the US academic world, it has shown its true face when it allowed the persecution of Professor Norman Finkenstein. But I have to say that I am shocked by the fact that the blogosphere and the so-called “alternative media” has remained so silent in the face of such a blatant censorship by proxy by the deep state against one of the foremost US historians.

I urge all those reading these lines to speak up on Hoffman’s behalf and to support him by purchasing his superb and censored books. This is how every one of us can resist the Hegemon and his rule!

September 13, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Facebook’s Atlantic Council censors are more interested in tanks than thinking

RT | September 13, 2018

Like all foreign policy and military think tanks, the Atlantic Council exists to manufacture consent for the goals of its paymasters. It hit the jackpot when the world’s largest social media network put it in charge of censorship.

While the ubiquitous presence of Atlantic Council lobbyists across the information space already imperilled fair discourse, Facebook’s May move empowered it to endanger freedom of expression. And founder Mark Zuckerberg’s reference to an information  “arms race” in a Washington Post op-ed last weekend exposes the grim reality behind the move.

That said, the spin has been impressive. Headlines such as “US think tank’s tiny lab helps Facebook battle fake social media (Reuters )” and “Facebook partners with Atlantic Council to improve election security (The Hill )”.

But the truth is very different. The Atlantic Council is effectively NATO’s propaganda wing. And it’s funded by arms manufacturers, various branches of the US military, and Middle Eastern autocratic regimes, among others, as it promotes the alliance’s agenda – which was best described by its first secretary-general, Hastings Ismay, as  “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

Let’s be clear. If people don’t believe in the “Russian threat,” NATO is essentially rendered useless. Promoting tensions with Europe’s largest country is an existential matter for The Atlantic Council. And now Facebook has effectively placed the lobby group in charge of political censorship on its platform. This presents chilling dangers to free speech and should worry anybody who believes in fairness and balance in the media. Especially after Zuckerberg admitted in the Washington Post piece how his company is being used by US authorities to control information and combat “foreign actors.” The tech boss also boasted that “we’ve worked with law enforcement to take down accounts in Russia.”

Roll of horror

Founded in 1961, with the mission of “encouraging the continuation of cooperation between North America and Europe that began after the Second World War,” the Atlantic Council slowly evolved from being a sort of forum for socialising to a pseudo-academic lobby group. While it professes to be a “think tank,” its lack of genuine debate and tolerance for dissent means in practice this description isn’t accurate in the classical sense of the term, as the Atlantic Council is clearly more interested in creating a market for tanks than thinking.

Funding comes from dozens of foreign governments and also individual vested interests. They include arms makers Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing, plus wealthy private backers such as Ukraine’s Viktor Pinchuk and Saudi billionaire Bahaa Hariri. State institutions who plough in funds vary from the National Endowment for Democracy to the British Foreign Office and the US Army itself.

The money is mainly used to hire lobbyists, who are known as “fellows.” And some of them are occasionally outsourced to cutouts like the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) – the department which works with Facebook.

Some of the Atlantic Council’s hires have significant media profiles. For instance, Dmitri  Alperovitch (of DNC hack fame), Anders Aslund (a radical economist who has predicted Russia’s collapse twice, and been wrong both times), Michael Carpenter (Joe Biden’s, usually misinformed, Russia-baiting sidekick), Borzou Daragahi (Middle East correspondent of Buzzfeed ), Maxim Eristavi (a pro-American Ukrainian activist), Evelyn Farkas (a rabidly anti-Russian Obama adviser), and Michael Weiss (a CNN ‘Russia analyst’ who has never been to Russia and can’t speak Russian). The DFR Lab is comprised of 11, almost uniformly young, tech enthusiasts from the US and Eastern Europe and previously worked to support NATO narratives in Ukraine and Syria.

Some are long-time Atlantic Council bodies, and others are some fresh recruits. The main men are Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, which specialises in media-friendly investigations of wars from the perspective which suits British and American interests, Aric Toler (a former private intelligence specialist who spent time in Russia on State Department-funded study programmes) and Ben Nimmo, a one-time NATO press officer.

Other censors include ex-Obama administration and NATO staff, with the managing editor, Graham Brookie, having previously worked at the US National Security Council. There is nobody listed as an employee who could be considered, in any way, neutral on Russia. This betrays the unit’s confidence in how the mainstream media won’t scrutinise them, as normally you’d expect at least one token dissenter.

Different times

In normal circumstances, Facebook’s engagement of the Atlantic Council to decide standards of permissible information would seem bizarre. But, in the current US climate, Zuckerberg’s motivations are quite obvious. Betrayed by the speed with which he engaged the pressure group shortly after his testimony to Congress on “election meddling” was widely derided by the establishment last Spring. And how better to avoid a repeat, and turn down the heat, than to engage the ultimate DC insider institution?

After all, an organisation that has helped to rehabilitate George W. Bush can probably rescue any reputation in the American capital.

Some of the stuff the Atlantic Council itself gets away with serves to show its power over the mainstream media. For instance, when Nimmo himself earlier this year ludicrously insisted grammar mistakes were “proof” that social media users critical of NATO were paid Kremlin trolls, and later when he smeared a British man by labelling him a Russian bot, the popular press didn’t bother to question whether he was a fit and proper person for Facebook to engage as a censor. Even after the victim appeared on Sky News to prove he was a real person. Thus, what should have been a warning of the dangers of DFR Lab was essentially ignored.

At the time, after Nimmo, instead of apologising, wrote “interesting to see the real face of Ian56789, rather than the David Gandy one, at last (referring to his Twitter avatar). Not a troll factory account. Rather, a pro-Kremlin troll(definition based on [sic] use of someone else’s picture, systematic use of Kremlin narratives, and repetitive abusive behaviour),”

WikiLeaks challenged the lobbyist. “You literally produced, with money from weapons companies and dictatorships, a fake news story that spread all over the world, defaming a very British retiree, who wants to reduce arms company profits, as a Kremlin bot,” its editors wrote. “So who’s the paid troll?”

Again, despite WikiLeaks’ prominence, no mainstream outlets connected the dots.

Higgins and Nimmo also focused on attempting to discredit the Twitter user ‘Partisan Girl’ (real name Maram Susli). Susli herself insisted an associate of Higgins had even written to her university accusing of her of plotting to make Sarin gas, and she provided evidence to back up her claims.

Susli was also insulted by Atlantic Council “fellow” Michael Weiss. After a group of pro-Syrian jihadist agitators accused her of having had cosmetic surgery, she responded with a photo of herself as a child to prove them wrong. Weiss interjected by asserting how the young Maram looked like a prostitute, writing “so, your parents raised you as a streetwalker? Honey, no wonder you are pro-Assad.”

The CNN contributor seems to have a habit of commenting on women’s physical attributes. A few months earlier, well-known Lebanese American journalist Rania Khalek accused Weiss of promoting a smear about her appearance on Twitter, falsely claiming she used funds donated to her journalistic work to get a nose job. The fact he has received no blowback, in this ‘MeToo’ era, again speaks volumes.

Deflecting dunces

Meanwhile, Higgins himself has been shy about taking on real experts. In Spring, he refused to debate Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and International Security at MIT, instead labelling him “an idiot.” Which led to a strange situation where a man with no training in science, whose background is in finance and administration, was smearing a skilled specialist from one of the world’s best universities. Perhaps this is the confidence a man gains by working for NATO’s propaganda adjunct.

His colleague, Weiss, also has a habit of insulting academics with genuine bona fides, running a long campaign of character assassination against Stephen Cohen. Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University.

Of course, to advance the goals of its paymasters,  the Atlantic Council also needs to shape the media narrative, and influence journalists, which is presumably why it has engaged the likes of CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto and Buzzfeed Foreign Editor Miriam Elder to moderate panels, in what amount to very profound conflicts of interests.

Nevertheless, while plenty of its press outreach is smooth, sometimes it can appear clumsy and amateurish. Take this tweet from lobbyist Agnia Grigas, for instance. Firstly, she misrepresents Vladimir Putin’s stated goal of making Russia a top five economy by using raw GDP, where the country currently scores badly due to weak exchange rates. In reality, economic experts regard purchasing power parity as a fairer snapshot of fiscal heft and by this measure, Russia was only $163 billion behind fifth-place Germany last year ($4,007.831 billion v $4,170.790 billion, IMF)so it doesn’t have much catching up to do. What Grigas does next with her disinformation is instructive. Because  she tags the Financial Times’ news editor, Peter Spiegel, on the tweet alongside other Atlantic Council lobbyists . Which blurs the lines between supposedly independent media and propaganda, dressed up as scholarship.

Tail wags dog

Anyway, now that you’ve seen the nature of these lobbyists, let’s circle back to the DFR Lab/Facebook link up, and the extraordinary power the social media giant has handed to this gang. Only last month, the same Reuters report quoted at the outset dropped this nugget.

“Facebook is using the group to enhance its investigations of foreign interference. Last week, the company said it took down 32 suspicious pages and accounts that purported to be run by leftists and minority activists. While some U.S. officials said they were likely the work of Russian agents, Facebook said it did not know for sure.”

Read the last line again. “Facebook said it did not know for sure.” But the accounts were removed anyway. Presumably, at the Atlantic Council’s behest.

Here we see the fallout of Mark Zuckerberg’s knee-jerk reaction to pressure from congressional leaders and prominent media talking heads. Instead of asserting his independence, the Facebook founder buckled. And the stakes are impossibly high. Put plainly, this amounts to a merger of the US national security state and Silicon Valley. With implications far beyond American shores.

Read more:

Facebook building a physical ‘war room’ for US midterm elections ‘arms race’

Zuckerberg admits social media is a weapon, says Facebook in ‘arms race’ against ‘bad actors’

September 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Iranian Bots and the Facebook Stasi: Manufacturing Consent for the Endless War

By Helen Buyniski | Helen of desTroy | September 3, 2018

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. The American Empire doesn’t handle failure well, and their repeated failures to oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad have driven them into a frenzy where good judgment and logic are a thing of the past. Russian military intelligence predicts a false-flag chemical attack in Idlib which will be pinned on the Assad regime and used to justify “retaliation” orders of magnitude greater than April’s Tomahawk tantrum. This time, if the words of the Wicked Witch of the UN are any indication, Iran and Russia will also be blamed. While the US has mostly abandoned hope for regime change in Syria, it will not look a gift horse in the mouth, and is gathering aircraft carriers and bombers to the region while pumping out tear-jerking propaganda about Idlib residents fearing for their lives. If the false flag fails, they can always send those bombers to Iran…

Such an attack is very much on the table, with the groundwork being laid in the pro-war press. John Bolton promised the MEK, a “corrupt, criminal cult” of Iranian exiles which bribed its way off the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations in 2012, regime change by 2019, and the clock is ticking. Attempts to foment a color revolution have failed repeatedly, because Iranians aren’t stupid and remember what happened the last time the US overthrew their government. But Benjamin Netanyahu has been baying for Iranian blood for almost three decades, and Bolton cares little for more clear-headed military personnel’s warnings that invading Iran would be a costly, unwinnable nightmare – Real Men Go To Tehran, as they used to say in the halcyon days of the Axis of Evil.

Prelude to War: Iranian Bots

The ruling class understands Americans are wary of another Middle Eastern war and must be convinced they’re under attack. Hence the new bogeyman, just in time for Election 2018: Iranian Meddling. Twitter, Facebook, and Google took time out from deplatforming anti-establishment commentators to delete over a thousand accounts between them after cyber-security firm FireEye released a report detailing a far-reaching “Suspected Iranian Influence Operation.” With only “moderate confidence,” FireEye pointed to “coordinated inauthentic behavior” geared toward “shaping a message favorable to Iran’s national interests” as the smoking gun. Washed-up former intelligence operatives Ron Hosko and Larry Pfeiffer (ex-FBI and ex-CIA, respectively) smugly added that if we hadn’t let Russia get away with their (still unproven) interference in the 2016 election, Iran would never have been so emboldened as to pour $12,000 of cold, hard cash into this social media offensive in order to portray itself favorably to western audiences. 

Facebook, eager to behave, took down 652 offending accounts before the government could even react to the news. FireEye’s report points accusingly to the accounts’ promotion of “anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes, as well as support for specific US policies favorable to Iran,” implying Facebook users should be suspicious of anyone else espousing these views (and warning Iranian and Palestinian sympathizers and other pro-peace activists to shut up, or they’re next). An important step in laying the groundwork for an unpopular war is to “other” and ultimately demonize the enemy, and FireEye’s suggestion that those with pro-Iranian views aren’t even real humans is classic wartime propaganda for the digital age. In addition to three groups of Iranian accounts, FireEye claims it caught some Russians “attempt[ing] to influence politics in Syria and the Ukraine.” This group “was linked to sources that Facebook said the US had linked to Russian military intelligence.” How many hops of truth distortion are too many for even the terminally credulous establishment media?

Perhaps anticipating users’ bewilderment – the offending accounts had broken no laws, were promoting no political candidates, and in many cases had not even bought ads – Zuckerberg explained around a mouth full of jackboot that “These were accounts that were misleading people about who they were and what they were doing. We ban this kind of behavior because authenticity matters. People need to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook.” Lest users make the mistake of trusting Facebook, however, he added that the company would be “working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies,” turning over more user data than ever in its quest to make privacy obsolete. When law enforcement calls on Facebook to create a backdoor in its Messenger program – thus defeating the purpose of “encrypted chat” – does anyone really expect Zuckerberg to stand fast for privacy rights? 

Not to be outdone, Twitter deleted 770 accounts based on the FireEye report, noting that only 100 of these ostensibly Iranian accounts had misrepresented their location and not even all of these had shared “divisive social commentary,” while a single account had purchased $30 in ads. This means over 600 Twitter accounts were deleted for the crime of geography alone (collateral damage?). But Twitter has always gone above and beyond the call of duty, announcing in May that to promote “healthy” conversations it would begin de-ranking users for engaging in “suspicious behavior.” Users who tweeted at many accounts, had multiple complaints against them, or retweeted material tweeted by banned accounts were shadowbanned indefinitely as persona non grata. Since November, Twitter and Facebook have both been turning over information on users who post “divisive” content of the sort promoted by “Russia-linked accounts” to congressional investigators even though a creator of “Russian bot tracker” Hamilton68 admits the accounts his tool tracks are not necessarily bots, or even Russian – “some are legitimately passionate people,” as if passion is an un-American trait. 

Last year, the FBI launched a Foreign Intelligence Task Force to work with US tech firms to combat “foreign influence actors.” With bots and their ilk operating all over the world, the decision to single out Russia and Iran has obvious foreign policy motivation (Bolton also claims that China and North Korea are up to no good on social media). All of this avoids naming the elephant in the room. Even though Israel meddles loudly and proudly in US elections, Facebook openly collaborates with Netanyahu’s government. Beyond removing posts and banning accounts, Facebook even turns over user information to Israeli authorities to facilitate prosecution of Palestinian activists for “incitement,” sometimes over nothing more than a “like” or a “share.” Adding insult to injury, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs has weaponized the diaspora’s ennui – often caused in no small part by young Jews’ discomfort with the crimes their government commits in their name – with the social media equivalent of a Predator drone. Act.IL is an app that allows the user to participate in the “brigading” (mass-reporting for spurious violations) of hapless strangers for “incitement” – supporting the BDS movement, say, or implying that Palestinians are human rather than a “lawn” to be “mowed.” In a rare case of instant karma, the app was found to be leaking users’ email addresses. A nation where the government and citizen “enforcers” are working together to silence dissent sounds like an authoritarian nightmare, but this is our “democratic” Middle Eastern ally.

Origins of Totalitarianism

Israel is the missing link that explains how “sowing discord” – an offense few Americans had ever heard of until 2016 – entered our national vocabulary. The modern “fake news” panic has its roots in the totalitarian tradition. Words like “inciting,” “fomenting,” and “sowing” “discord” and “subversion” are very versatile weapons in the hands of authoritarian regimes. This language was previously uncommon in the US, but its emergence became inevitable when the “new Pearl Harbor” of 9/11 opened the door to the creation of the modern American police state. Social media are now just extra bars on the cage – the tools we once believed could liberate us, during the promising early months of Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, are now used to silence us. The US, following a blueprint for legal censorship set by post-WW2 Europe, is taking on the totalitarian trappings of China, of Burma, of the central Asian “stans” and of Saudi Arabia. Kazakhstan calls it “inciting national discord,” with the variations “ethnic discord” and “religious discord” applicable as needed to whatever activist, journalist, or trade unionist the regime needs to put on ice for a few years. It’s called “inciting religious hatred” or “ethnic hatred” in Azerbaijan, which also permanently bans 5 major media outlets for reasons of “national security.” Uzbekistan arrests journalists for “extremism.” China targets activists of all stripes for “inciting subversion.” Burma, which is cracking down hard on the press as it seeks to keep its Rohingya ethnic cleansing quiet, criminalizes “speech that is likely to cause fear or harm and incites classes or groups to commit offenses against each other.” Egypt detains lawyers, journalists and activists under charges of “propagating false news.” Saudi Arabia recently put a Shi’a religious leader to death for “sowing discord” and “undermining national unity.” American dissenters, this is your future.

I have already explained how the Great Deplatforming represents the triumph of the repressive concept of Hate Speech over Free Speech, and how this – not Trump blustering about that wall he’ll get around to building someday – is what fascism looks like. The US government uses friendly corporations as workarounds for the constitutional limits on its power. This technique was deployed against the Second Amendment in Citibank and Bank of America’s post-Parkland refusal to process financial transactions from firearm manufacturers, and is being deployed against the First Amendment here. Such corporate-state fascism is very effective, and the ruling class has seen fit to share it with the other “Five Eyes” intelligence partners, all of whom share information gathered by their Panopticon surveillance agencies. This week, ministers from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand met in Australia to condemn hostile nations who “sow discord, manipulate public discourse, bias the development of policy, or disrupt markets” through their manipulation of social media platforms; they also implored Big Tech to allow law enforcement “targeted” access to users’ encrypted data. Flexing the thuggish muscles of the world’s greatest carceral state, the group acknowledged “individual rights must be protected” (and presumably snickered before adding) “privacy is not absolute” and warning that encryption was being exploited by criminals. 

The Iranian Meddling affair is a perfect distraction from the real malfeasance at Facebook, where Zuckerberg is bringing back Stasi-style crowdsourced secret policing. The company is assigning “trust ratings” to users based in part on their willingness to report their friends for posting “fake news,” fostering a climate of distrust and fear meant to instill reflexive self-censorship. As in East Germany, the central authorities can’t possibly police everyone all of the time, and it is much more advantageous for them to outsource surveillance to the people, since one who cannot trust his neighbor will not unite with him to overthrow the state. Accordingly, Facebook admits that “some users” abuse Facebook’s reporting system, dubbing stories or users they don’t like “fake news” – but don’t worry about those miscreants, because Facebook compensates for their actions with thousands (!) of other measures that go into calculating the trust rating. No user can see his or her own report – that would be telling – so we’re encouraged to tread carefully to avoid running afoul of the ever-shifting Rules. Jordan Peterson, conservatism’s favorite intellectual, delivers his marching orders in a video he posted last week – “nothing is ever simple,” he pleads as he tells his fans that he’s reached an understanding with Zuckerberg, a “very straightforward person” who really just wants to keep his users safe from bad guys like ISIS recruiters. And Iran. Because they’re terrorists, you know?

The police state is no longer necessary when you have internalized the police. “Media censorship is a shift in the flow of information, while self-censorship is a shift in consciousness.” When the government has convinced citizens to do its job – reporting friends and neighbors for “hate speech,” “sowing discord,” and “incitement” on social media, for example – a free society is impossible. 

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

French Online Payment Service Provider HelloAsso Refuses to Close Accounts Belonging to BDS Activists

Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee / France (BNC) 09-12-18

HelloAsso, a French company that provides online payment services, has rejected pressure by Israel lobby groups to shut down the accounts of two French groups which support the BDS movement for Palestinian human rights. HelloAsso will continue to provide services to both Association France Palestine Solidarity (AFPS) and BDS-France.

HelloAsso publicized its decision in a tweet explaining that it supports the right of citizens to call for BDS as part of freedom of expression.

In 2016, the European Union stated:

“The EU stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which is applicable on EU Member States’ territory, including with regard to BDS actions carried out on this territory.”

Translation of HelloAsso tweet from French original:

[…] “HelloAsso is an apolitical platform that does not take any position regarding the claims of the BDS movement. HelloAsso nevertheless considers this movement as within the realm of free expression and not as discriminatory or antisemitic.

HelloAsso’s position is supported  by the European Union, which has clearly stated it favours protecting freedom of expression and association, including the right to advocate for BDS .

Therefore, the HelloAsso account of AFPS (Association France Palestine Solidarity) will not be removed.

To all those who criticize  us for hosting these organizations, we respond that the conflation that allows attacks on these organizations is dangerous because it conflates antisemitism, which we condemn without ambiguity, and criticism of the state of Israel, which is a political opinion. This freedom of expression is a fundamental right.

Since its creation, HelloAsso has striven to support freedom of association and to protect the right to freedom of speech because we are a platform that is committed to the model of [non-profit] association and at the same time apolitical, open and enriched by differences of opinion, a reflection of our society.”

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Don’t Like About Life in Post-9/11 America

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | September 10, 2018

Life in a post-9/11 America increasingly feels like an endless free fall down a rabbit hole into a terrifying, dystopian alternative reality in which the citizenry has no rights, the government is no friend to freedom, and everything we ever knew and loved about the values and principles that once made this country great has been turned on its head.

What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act  has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

Since the towers fell on 9/11, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, and denied due process.

Here are some of the things I don’t like about life in a post-9/11 America:

I don’t like being spied on and treated as if I have no right to privacy, especially in my own home.

I don’t like being bullied by government bureaucrats, vigilantes masquerading as cops, or faceless technicians.

I don’t like being subjected to scans, searches, pat downs and other indignities by the TSA.

I don’t like being threatened, intimidated, bribed, beaten and robbed by individuals entrusted with safeguarding my rights.

I don’t like being silenced, censored and marginalized.

I don’t like my movements being tracked, my conversations being recorded, and my transactions being catalogued.

I don’t like free speech zones, roving bubble zones and trespass laws that restrict Americans’ First Amendment rights.

I don’t like laws that criminalize Americans for otherwise lawful activities such as holding religious studies at homegrowing vegetables in their yard, and collecting rainwater.

I don’t like the NDAA, which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely.

I don’t like the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.

I don’t like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has become America’s standing army in direct opposition to the dire warnings of those who founded our country.

I don’t like the fact that those within a 25-mile range of the border are getting a front row seat to the American police state, as Border Patrol agents are now allowed to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant.

I don’t like police precincts whose primary purpose—whether through the use of asset forfeiture laws, speed traps, or red light cameras—is making a profit at the expense of those they have sworn to protect.

I don’t like Department of Defense and DHS programs that transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police. I don’t like local police dressing and acting as if they were the military while viewing me as an enemy combatant.

I don’t like government programs that reward cops for raiding homes and terrorizing homeowners.

I don’t like being treated as if I have no rights.

I don’t like answering to an imperial president who operates above the law.

I don’t like the injustice that passes for justice in the courts.

I don’t like the double standards that allow government officials to break laws with immunity, while average Americans get the book thrown at them.

I don’t like cops who shoot first and ask questions later.

I don’t like living in a suspect society.

I don’t like technology being used as a double-edged sword against us.

Most of all, I don’t like feeling as if there’s no hope for turning things around.

Now there are those who would suggest that if I don’t like things about this country, I should leave and go elsewhere. Certainly, there are those among my fellow citizens who are leaving for friendlier shores.

However, I’m not giving up on this country without a fight.

Our country may be in deep trouble, but all is not yet lost.

The first step begins with you.

1. Get educated. Know your rights. Take time to read the Constitution. Understand the vital issues of the day so that you can be cognizant of the threats to freedom. Stay informed about current events and legislation.

2. Get involved. Become actively involved in local community affairs, politics and legal battles. As the adage goes, “Think nationally, act locally.”

3. Get organized. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and tap into your resources. Prioritize your issues and battles. Think outside the box.

4. Be creative. Be bold and imaginative, for this is guerilla warfare—not to be fought with tanks and guns but through creative methods of dissent and resistance.

5. Use the media. Effective use of the media is essential. Attracting media coverage not only enhances and magnifies your efforts, it is also a valuable education tool. It publicizes your message to a much wider audience.

6. Start brushfires for freedom. Engage those around you in discussions about issues of importance. Challenge them to be part of a national dialogue. There is power in numbers.

7. Take action. Be prepared to mobilize at a moment’s notice. Whether you’re 8, 28 or 88 years old, you have something unique to contribute. You don’t have to be a hero. You just have to show up and be ready to take action.

8. Be forward-looking. Develop a vision for the future. Take the time to impart the value of freedom to younger generations, for they will be at the vanguard of these battles someday.

9. Develop fortitude. What is it that led to the successful protest movements of the past headed by people such as Martin Luther King Jr.? Resolve. King refused to be put off. And when the time came, he was willing to take to the streets for what he believed and even go to jail if necessary.

10. Be selfless and sacrificial. Freedom is not free—there is always a price to be paid and a sacrifice to be made. If any movement is to be truly successful, it must be manned by individuals who seek a greater good and do not waver from their purposes.

11. Remain optimistic and keep hope alive. Although our rights are increasingly coming under attack, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we can still fight back. In a country such as the United States, a citizen armed with a knowledge of the Bill of Rights and the fortitude to stand and fight can still be a force to be reckoned with, but it will mean speaking out when others are silent.


Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People  (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at http://www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment