Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

The goal of propaganda is a population that polices itself

Why the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn are not what they seem

By MarkGB | The Renegade | August 10, 2018

Propaganda has reached its zenith when each member of the target population thinks the same; when they are afraid to think differently. At this point ‘leadership’ may commit whatever atrocities it sees fit… in the certainty that the population will either not ‘see’ it, or will view the expression of criticism as a more heinous crime than the act being observed. This is achieved through cementing a ‘false equivalence’ in the mind of the group. Such a false equivalence is being cemented in the UK right now – the idea that criticism of Israel’s persecution of Palestinians is an act of anti-Semitism.

The propagandist seeks to bend the ‘group mind’. Thoughts and actions consistent with the ‘narrative’ are deemed to be socially acceptable & politically correct… ones that challenge it are regarded as socially UN-acceptable & politically IN-correct. Overtime this is reinforced through a dynamic that exists within every human grouping, and many species of mammal – fear of disapproval. Ergo, the propagandist is employing a form of ‘crowd control’.

When the fear of disapproval becomes so strong that one’s sense of belonging, or even physical survival, depend on adherence to the narrative… when failure to comply with it attracts immediate rebuke from other members of the group… then the population can be said to be policing itself. That is how ‘cults’ function, and more frequently than you might imagine… it’s how intelligence agencies and other governmental figures attempt to work through the media.

This is what Orwell warned of in the dystopia of ‘1984’. The Party had achieved what we might call a ‘maintenance state’ for the narrative – society was policing itself. For example, in Oceania, children were taught to report their parents to the ‘Thought Police’ if they demonstrated any sign of disloyalty to The Party. Disloyalty was considered a ‘thought crime’:

 “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. There is almost no kind of outrage – torture, imprisonment without trial, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them” – George Orwell, ‘1984’

This process is happening now. The false equivalence of ‘criticism of Israel’ with ‘anti-Semitism’ is being inculcated into society in general, into the Labour Party in particular, and in its sharpest manifestation, into the smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.

As you will already be aware (unless you’ve been trapped behind the fridge for several weeks) Corbyn is the target of a virulent campaign from a number of different directions, which have made ‘common cause’ on the accusation of anti-Semitism. Here, for example, are three major Jewish Newspapers, competitors of each other, who made the extraordinary decision to agree a common headline and verdict on ‘Corbyn’s Labour Party’:

And here is the Jewish Chronicle after Margaret Hodges attacked Corbyn in public with ‘you’re a fucking racist and anti-Semite’:

The mainstream media has not missed any opportunity to bash Corbyn either. Here’s a relatively mild headline from the Sun, who selected a comment from one of Corbyn’s backbenchers, Wes Streeting:

And to demonstrate that upmarket & downmarket means little when it comes to this stuff, here’s a hysterical comment from the usually ‘sober’ Telegraph :

What you will probably NOT have seen, however, is coverage of a statement published by 650 members of the Jewish Community, who are passionately opposed to the narrative. Here is the statement from ‘Independent Jewish Voices’ whose aim is ‘human rights and a just and peaceful solution’:

Neither is it likely that you will have heard the following statement from a Jewish academic, a person I’ve never met, but one who strikes me as a thoroughly intelligent and compassionate human being, Professor Annabelle Sreberney:

At this point, let me spell out my personal opinion regarding Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged anti-Semitism:

You have to be a propagandist, an opportunist, or a complete idiot to discount decades of evidence demonstrating that Jeremy Corbyn is an enemy of racism. Wake up and smell the coffee – the guy stands up for the underdog… racists, by stark contrast, are always bullies

The reality I perceive, is not that Corbyn hates Jews, or loves Arabs… it’s that he challenges injustice where he sees it – and he sees it in the treatment that Palestinians receive from the State of Israel.

The Propagandists in this situation must ‘redirect’ the attention of the population to the ‘false equivalence’: Criticism of Israel = Anti-Semitism.

The Opportunists in the equation are many:

  • This is a wonderful distraction for a Tory government that couldn’t run a kid’s party at Willy Wonka’s
  • The Blairites in the Labour Party who’ve been trying to get rid of Corbyn since Day 1, have been handed a much more powerful weapon than anything they’ve tried up-to-now, and boy do they love it
  • There are a number of other groups who would rather invite Dracula over the threshold than see Corbyn enter Number Ten. The banks and the Murdoch empire are two examples

As for the Complete Idiots… sadly ‘careful thought’ is about as popular as ‘listening’, and to be fair to younger folk & millennials, this has been the case for the six decades I’ve been observing my fellow ‘talking monkeys’. In short, propaganda relies on people ‘not thinking’ – there’s a lot of it about.

Now, let’s look at some ‘nitty gritty’ – the everyday stuff. This isn’t something that only happens in the newspapers – it’s a real part of everyday thinking and discourse. Here is an example I encountered a few days ago, which will serve to illustrate the process:

Context

A Labour supporter on Twitter made an accurate observation that the BBC’s coverage of Jeremy Corbyn is so biased that it’s painful to listen to. I will keep his identity confidential since I have no desire to embarrass him – my purpose is to demonstrate ‘false equivalence’ in action.

Secondly, I should add that the Israeli Embassy has a fearsome reputation amongst journalists for making its feelings known if Israel doesn’t get the coverage it feels it deserves. This is no secret… and it’s not new. Here is Tim Llewellyn, former Middle East correspondent for the BBC, writing in The Observer in June 2004:

“The reasons for this tentative, unbalanced attitude to the central Middle East story are powerful. BBC news management is by turns schmoozed and pestered by the Israeli embassy. The pressure by this hyperactive, skilful mission and by Israel’s many influential and well organised friends is unremitting and productive, especially now that accusations of anti-Semitism can be so wildly deployed

And here is a clip from a suppressed Al-Jazeera film, showing Israeli Embassy staff advising Labour activists about how to discredit MPs who support an end to the abuse of Palestinians:

The conversation

Labour Supporter:

Will the Media ever accept Corbyn as the leader of Lab Party, No! Listen to Justin Webb’s Masterclass in unconscious bias, in a short interview with John McDonnell he trundled out every Anti-Corbyn narrative and the newest or oldest That Corbyn is like Trump

MarkGB:

When ‘journalists’ at BBC interview Jeremy Corbyn, they repeat what they hear in the echo chamber of Whitehall, itself an echo of the fears of corps, banks & other ‘lobbyists’… but the thing that scares the veritable ‘crap’ out of the BBC is a call from the Israeli Embassy

Labour Supporter:

You know that sounds like Paranoia and to my ears Anti-Semitic. If we are going to convince the media to give us a fair crack of the whip and balance reporting we need to be careful in our use of language

MarkGB:

‘To your ears’. There is no anti-Semitism in my tweet whatsoever. Don’t buy the conflation between criticism of Israeli government policy and anti-Semitism, or if you do, don’t try to pin it onto me. There’s none here.

As expected, he did not reply.

My comments

So here is a guy who is so scared of being seen as anti-Semitic he does the following, albeit probably unconsciously

  1. Sacrifices truth on the altar of the need to be careful. I.E. don’t tell the truth – it gets us into trouble. It may bring me disapproval
  2. Projects his fear onto another, in this case myself, who is thus cast as the ‘anti-Semitic’ one… so that people know that he isn’t
  3. Imagines that there is the remotest possibility that the media will give Labour or Corbyn, a ‘fair crack of the whip’

There is no way that Jeremy Corbyn or the Labour Party will ever get a ‘fair crack of the whip’ on this issue. The narrative requires that Corbyn’s support for Palestinians goes away… if you are entertaining the possibility that there is any place for ‘rational argument’ or ‘objective reporting’ from or with the people driving this narrative… you are deluding yourself. This is Propaganda… this is how it’s supposed to work

And it is working… have you noticed how the media is utterly obsessed with talking about Corbyn’s ‘anti-Semitism’… at the expense of the underlying issue he calls attention to – Israel’s abuse of the Palestinian people?

What then, is a person to do?

The solution to this is not quick, and it’s not easy. However, one action that any human being can take, is to stay alert to the meaning of words and how they are structured. If the communication is verbal, also to the body language and vocal tonalities. Pay attention to what is really being said… and also notice what is not being said or skirted around… and refuse to sacrifice your truth for an easier life. Do not let the false equivalence stand. As Gandalf said to the Balrog on the bridge at Khazad Dum…“You shall not pass”. 

Propaganda is a thought virus. Speaking your truth is the antidote. Here is the antidote in action – the splendid Dr Norman Finkelstein, giving an impassioned reply to an audience intent on using ’emotional blackmail’ to shut him up:

Here is my personal response to this thought virus, and to anyone who tries to infect me with it:

I don’t care if you worship in a synagogue, a church, a temple, or a mosque. I don’t care if you’re black, white, yellow, brown or green. I don’t give a monkey’s what you eat for dinner & I don’t care who you sleep with… provided it’s a consenting adult. I cannot abide bullies, liars and sociopaths. Benjamin Netanyahu and the current government of Israel are war criminals… & your guilt-trip won’t work on me.

Finally, to those who are having thoughts like ‘this is all a misunderstanding’ or ‘common sense will prevail’, or ’a few concessions is enough to fix this’… it isn’t, it won’t, & it never will be… that isn’t how this works.

You cannot appease a smear campaign.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

YouTube Is Censoring New 1.5-Hour Long Video “Russian Military Campaign in Syria 2015-2018”

SouthFront | August 12, 2018

YouTube is censoring SouthFront’s new 1.5-hour long video “Russian Military Campaign in Syria 2015-2018.”

This video is a detailed summary of military and political developments in Syria since the start of the Russian military operation until now. It was released by SouthFront on August 11.

Less than 2 hours after the release, this video was placed behind an age restriction because it allegedly includes “violent or graphic content that appears to be posted in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner”. The age-restriction clearly impacts a possible reach of the video because it does not allow people without YouTube accounts to watch it.

YouTube Is Censoring SF's New 1.5-Hour Long Video "Russian Military Campaign in Syria 2015-2018"

SouthFront immediately appealed this age restriction. Our video “Russian Military Campaign in Syria 2015-2018” includes no “graphic content” and was made solely for informational purposes. So, it does not violate any rules.

After the further review, YouTube found that SouthFront’s video “does not violate” Community Guidelines. However, the video remained age-restricted because “it may not be appropriate for a general audience”.

YouTube Is Censoring SF's New 1.5-Hour Long Video "Russian Military Campaign in Syria 2015-2018"

Summing up: The video violates no YouTube Community Guidelines, but despite this, a manual decision was made to age-restrict the video in order to limit its potential audience reach. This situation can be considered as another example of censorship imposed against alternative media and an independent point of view.

SouthFront has repeatedly faced various sophisticated attacks aimed at censoring it on YouTube [systematic ‘false flagging’ and other hostile actions] or damaging its website.

For example, about a year ago, SouthFront became a target of preplanned campaign to damage its work:

In mid September 2017, SouthFront’s YouTube channel received two community guidelines strikes and its work on this platform was temporairly frozen. Then, thanks to public support of our audience and partners, SouthFront was able to restore its channel and continue releasing videos on YouTube.

Separately, the project faced a new wave of propaganda aimed at damaging it in the MSM. In October 2017, Military.comThe HillMcClatchyDC and The Daily Beast united their efforts arguing that SouthFront among few other websites targets “US military personnel and veterans with conspiracy theories, misinformation, and other forms of junk news about military affairs and national security issues.

The recent developments on YouTube may indicate that a similar campaign could be launched against SouthFront once again soon.

August 12, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , | 2 Comments

Social Media Users in Scotland Planning on Boycotting BBC

Sputnik – August 9, 2018

Following the removal of the prominent Scottish independence blogger, Wings Over Scotland, social media users in Scotland are preparing for an outright boycott of the BBC. Earlier Sputnik spoke to the political analyst, Joe McGregor about this story.

Sputnik: So Joe can you explain a little bit about why people are planning on boycotting the BBC? Why are such a large proportion of Scots so disenfranchised with the BBC?

Joe McGregor: I’m deeply disenfranchised with that because it seems like Scotland don’t have a voice on the channel whatsoever – it’s very Westminster-centric, very England-centric. I don’t mean that as coming from the point of view that as a Scotsman I should be opposed… not at all. It seems to be that the BBC likes to show only the worst side of Scotland, or not give the SNP (Scottish National Party) a voice, when they are national broadcaster.

Sputnik: Does this have effect on Scottish political issues such as campaigns for Scottish independence and if so what kind of effect?

Joe McGregor: Eventually you become used to it. Say for the youth of Scotland that are coming through and they’re only having that information they would be guided to believing that information thinking that having nuclear weapons and having the nuclear base is a great thing. Scotland should be proud of having that there but they don’t show other side things, with nuclear apparatus being driven through city centers like Glasgow. If there was to be a problem there, it would wipe out most of central Scotland. Why does Scotland have to house that when Scotland doesn’t want to house that and why does the BBC not show that, that Scotland isn’t with that? They only tend to say ‘If it wasn’t there, then so many people would be out of work’ and that the local businesses wouldn’t have the customs of the people who work there – which I find ridiculous.

Sputnik: Is this boycott anti-English and what would you say to critics who suggest that it is?

Joe McGregor: It’s not anti-English, its anti-BBC. If the BBC was to give Scotland a fair crack of the whip and report the SNP are doing great things in Scotland and report on the fact that people aren’t happy having nuclear weapons on their doorstep, I think you would find that people don’t think its anti-English, its simply anti-BBC.

Sputnik: What would you like to see from the BBC that would improve the image of the broadcaster in your eyes?

Joe McGregor: I would just like to see every nation in the UK getting a fair crack of the whip. It’s not just Scottish issues; there’s Welsh issues, Northern Ireland issues… it’s not just Westminster-centric issues, it’s not like Westminster is big brother and its do what you say and everything will be ok and you know what, keep drinking beer because that will nullify any of the effects that may occur.

See also:

BBC Was in Bed With the Government to Flush Out ‘Subversives’ – Archives

August 9, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

A Four Person NATO-Funded Team Advises Facebook On Flagging “Propaganda”

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | August 7, 2018

This is not at all comforting: during a week that’s witnessed Alex Jones’ social media accounts taken down by Facebook, Apple, Spotify and Google, and what appears to be a growing crackdown against alternative media figures including several prominent Libertarians, notably the Ron Paul Institute director, and the Scott Horton Show, who found their Twitter accounts suspended — we learn that the Atlantic Council is directly advising Facebook on identifying and removing “foreign interference” on the popular platform. 

While the initiative was initially revealed last May through an official Facebook media release, more details of the controversial think tank’s role have been revealed.

Supposedly the whole partnership is aimed at bringing more objectivity and neutrality to the process of rooting out fake accounts that pose the threat of being operated by nefarious foreign states.

And yet as a new Reuters report confirmsFacebook is now itself a top donor to the Atlantic Council, alongside Western governments, Gulf autocratic regimes, NATO, various branches of the US military, and a number of major defense contractors and corporations. 

What’s more is that the team of four total individuals running the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFR Lab) is headed by a former National Security Council advisor for the last four years of the Obama administration, Graham Brookie, who is also its founder.

Apparently the group’s work has already been instrumental in Facebook taking action against over two dozen “suspicious pages” flagged potential foreign actors such as Russia. According to Reuters:

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.

This is indeed the shocking key phrase included in the report:Facebook said it did not know for sure.” And yet the accounts were removed anyway.

The Facebook-Atlantic Council alliance reportedly springs from the social media giant’s finding itself desperate for outside “neutral” help after a swell of public criticism, mostly issuing from congressional leaders and prominent media pundits, for supposedly allowing Russian propaganda accounts to operate ahead of the 2016 elections.

And in perhaps the most chilling line of the entire report, Reuters says, “But the lab and Atlantic Council bring geopolitical expertise and allow Facebook to distance itself from sensitive pronouncements.” This is ostensibly to defuse any potential conflict of interest arising as Facebook seems a bigger presence in emerging foreign markets.

Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos recently told reporters, “Companies like ours don’t have the necessary information to evaluate the relationship between political motivations that we infer about an adversary and the political goals of a nation-state.” He explained further that Facebook would collect suspicious digital evidence and submit it to “researchers and authorities”.

Since at least May when the relationship was first announced, the DFR Lab has been key to this process of verifying what constitutes foreign interference or nefarious state propaganda.

But here’s the kicker. Reuters writes of the DFR Lab’s funding in the following:

Facebook donated an undisclosed amount to the lab in May that was enough, said Graham Brookie, who runs the lab, to vault the company to the top of the Atlantic Council’s donor list, alongside the British government.

Facebook employees said privately over the past several months that Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wants to outsource many of the most sensitive political decisions, leaving fact-checking to media groups and geopolitics to think tanks.

Facebook has defended the process as part of ensuring that it remains politically neutral, yet clearly the Atlantic Council itself is hardly neutral, as a quick perusal of its top donors indicates.

Among the DFR Labs partners include UK-based Bellingcat, which has in the past claimed “proof” that Assad gassed civilians based on analyzing YouTube videos and Google Earth. And top donors include various branches of the US military, Gulf sates like the UAE, and notably, NATO.

The Atlantic Council has frequently called for things like increased military engagement in Syria, militarily confronting the “Russian threat” in Eastern Europe, and now is advocating for Ukraine and Georgia to be allowed entry into NATO while calling for general territorial expansion of the Western military alliance.

Further it has advocated on behalf of one of its previous funders, Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and gave a “Distinguished International Leadership” award to George W. Bush, to name but a few actions of the think tank that has been given authorization to flag citizens’ Facebook pages for possible foreign influence and propaganda.

Quite disturbingly, this is Mark Zuckerberg’s outside “geopolitical expertise” he’s been seeking.

August 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Truth is treason in empire of lies’: Ron Paul on Big Tech censorship

RT | August 7, 2018

After the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute got suspended on Twitter, the former congressman from Texas told RT that social media crackdowns are part of a broader effort to silence dissent in the US.

While social media could be a “real delight” and very informative, the biggest role social networks are playing is “working with the government,” Ron Paul told RT on Tuesday. The government is indirectly regulating speech through companies like Twitter and Facebook, he added.

“You get accused of treasonous activity and treasonous speech because in an empire of lies the truth is treason,” Paul said. “Challenging the status quo is what they can’t stand and it unnerves them, so they have to silence people.”

Paul served in the House of Representatives for over 25 years before retiring in 2013 and setting up the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. The institute’s executive director, Daniel McAdams, found himself suspended from Twitter on Monday, apparently for retweeting a comment by radio show host Scott Horton.

Horton, who is also the editorial director of Antiwar.com, was suspended for criticizing journalist Jonathan M. Katz, after Katz complained to Twitter and got former former State Department employee and author Peter Van Buren banned from the platform.

“I’m just hoping that technology can stay ahead of it all and that we can have real alternatives to the dependency on Twitter and other companies that have been working hand in glove with the government,” Paul told RT.

“And if we, some of us, tell the truth about our government, they call us treasonous and say we’re speaking out of line and they’d like to punish us, and I think that’s part of what’s happening with social media,” he added.

August 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Peter Van Buren: Twitter Suspends Me Forever

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | August 7, 2018

Some readers are aware I have been permanently suspended from Twitter as @wemeantwell.

This followed exchanges with several mainstream journalists over their support for America’s wars and unwillingness to challenge the lies of government. After two days of silence, Twitter sent me an auto-response saying what I wrote “harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence someone else’s voice.”

I don’t think I did any of that, and I wish you didn’t have to accept my word on it. I wish instead you could read what I wrote and decide for yourself. But Twitter won’t allow that. Twitter says you cannot read and make up your own mind. They have in fact eliminated all the things I have ever written there over seven years, disappeared me down the Memory Hole. That’s what censorship does; it takes the power to decide what is right and wrong away from you and gives it to someone else.

Hate what I write, hate me, block me, don’t buy my books, but please don’t celebrate handing over those choices to some company.

I lost my career at the State Department because I spoke out as a whistleblower against the Iraq War. I’ve now been silenced, again, for speaking, this time by a corporation. I am living in the America I always feared.

UPDATE: I’ve made a mistake. I was wrong to criticize the government, wrong to criticize journalists, wrong to oppose war. In fact, after much reflection, I have come to understand that I Love Big Brother.

August 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

I Didn’t Join Facebook to “Feel Safe”

By Thomas L. Knapp | William Lloyd Garrison Center | August 7, 2018

In early August, Facebook and other social media services banned content from radio/Internet shock jock Alex Jones. Surprising? No.  Jones’s  number was due to come up. The big players in Internet media have spent the last few years  attempting to appease the perpetually outraged (and therefore unappeasable) by banning and blocking a continuous parade of Most Despised Persons of the Week.

Wikipedia describes Jones’s “INFOWARS” (yes, in all-caps) site as “a far right American conspiracy theorist and fake news website and media platform.” He’s continuously embroiled in litigation with plaintiffs ranging from the makers of Chobani yogurt to the families of Sandy Hook shooting victims.  Definitely despised. So now it’s his turn.

The apparent end game: Turning the Internet into the same bland, homogeneous goop we got from network TV circa the 1950s — content without any rough edges that might spook advertisers. And they’re using pretty much the same justifications as movie and TV studios did with that era’s McCarthyist “blacklists.” To paraphrase Henry Ford, you can have any color Internet you want, so long as it’s beige.

Facebook’s statement on Jones: “We believe in giving people a voice, but we also want everyone using Facebook to feel safe.”

Really?

Why on Earth would Facebook’s users require protection from Alex Jones? He’s loud and red-faced and nuts, but it’s not like he can pop out of the screen and grab us. We don’t have to watch him. We don’t have to press the play button, we don’t have to turn the volume up from mute, and we can even block other users who try to push him at us.

Business note to Facebook: These “I don’t feel safe” people will never “feel safe” enough to stop demanding that you reduce the content options other Facebook users enjoy. It’s not about their actual safety. It’s about their compulsion to run everyone else’s lives.

Presumably there are more people in the “other Facebook users” category than in the “make anything that might conceivably cause me mental discomfort go away” category. For now, anyway. Keep this kind of thing up and sooner or later people who want more out of social media than finger-painting and group rounds of “Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore” will leave Facebook and go looking for that mythical Wild West Internet the “Poor Me! What About My Feelz?” crowd is always whining about.

Facebook is  plenty big enough for “live and let live” to work just fine. We choose our Facebook friends. We control what we share with them and we don’t have to look at what they share with us unless we want to.

Please, stop letting those who WON’T live and let live control your content policies.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

August 8, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

VIPS Asks Twitter to Restore Van Buren’s Account

The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in a memo to the Twitter board of directors questions its decision to suspend the account of one of its members without due process.

August 8, 2018

TO: Twitter Board of Directors

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Suspension of VIPS Associate Peter Van Buren’s Twitter Account

We at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) are greatly disturbed by the recent decision of your management to permanently suspend the Twitter account @WeMeantWell of our colleague Peter Van Buren. Peter is a highly respected former Foreign Service Officer possessing impeccable credentials for critiquing current developments that might lead to a new war in Eastern Europe or Asia, something which we Americans presumably all would like to avoid.

In 2011 our colleague Peter published a book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, about the poor decision- making by both civilians and military that led to the disastrous occupation and faux-democracy development in Iraq. It is Peter’s concern that our country may well be proceeding down that same path again — possibly with Iran, Syria and other countries in the Middle East region.

It is our understanding that Peter became involved in an acrimonious Twitter exchange with several mainstream journalists over the theme of government lying. One of the parties to the exchange, reported to be Jonathan Katz of @KatzOnEarth — possibly joined by some of his associates – complained. Subsequently, and without any serious investigation or chance for rebuttal regarding the charges, Peter was suspended by you for “harass[ing], intimidate[ing], or us[ing] fear to silence someone else’s voice.” Peter absolutely denies that anything like that took place.

We have also learned that Daniel McAdams, Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and a highly respected former Congressional staffer, weighed in to defend Peter and was also suspended by you. And Scott Horton, editorial director of Antiwar.com Radio, was suspended for use of “improper language” against Katz. Horton and McAdams cannot add new tweets while under suspension, but Peter’s “permanent” suspension included deletion of all of his seven years’ archive of tweets, so the actual exchanges leading up to his punishment cannot currently be examined.

Your action suggests three possibilities — all of which are quite plausible given that your system for punishing users is far from transparent. First, you may be engaged in systematic manipulation if some of your users are able to complain and have their friends do likewise in order to sully the reputation of a Twitter user who is doing little more than engaging in heated debate over issues that concern all of us.

Second, there is a distinct possibility that you are responding to either deep pocketed or particularly strident advocacy groups that may themselves have agendas to silence opposition voices. We note that Google is currently working with some powerful foundations to censor content they object to which comes up in search engine results.

Finally – third — we also suspect a possible government hand in that companies like yours, to include Facebook, have become very sensitive to alleged “subversive” content, deleting accounts and blocking users. Kowtowing to government suggestions to silence critics of administration policies may well be considered a desirable proactive step by your management as well as by other social media companies, but censorship is censorship, no matter how you dress it up.

We Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity believe that systematic and/or institutionalized censorship of tweets and account users is fundamentally the wrong way to go unless there are very explicit and sustained threats of violence or other criminal behavior. The internet should be free, to include most particularly the ability to post commentary that is not mainstream or acceptable to the Establishment. That is what Peter has been doing and we applaud him for it. We respectfully request that you examine the facts in the case with the objective of reconsidering and possibly restoring the suspension of Peter Van Buren’s twitter account. Thank you.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Richard H. Black, Senator of Virginia, 13th District; Colonel US Army (ret); former chief, Criminal Law Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, the Pentagon (associate VIPS) (@SenRichardBlack)

Bogdan Dzakovic, former team leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.) (@infangenetheof)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (ret.); Wing Commander, RAAF (ret.); former intelligence officer and master SERE instructor (@msk6793)

John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee (@johnkiriakou)

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS) (@usalinda)

Edward Loomis, NSA, cryptologic computer scientist (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.) (@raymcgovern)

Annie Machon, former intelligence officer in the UK’s MI5 domestic security service (affiliate VIPS) (@anniemachon)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.) (@elizabethmurra)

Todd E. Pierce, Maj, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.) (@ToddEPierce)

Scott Ritter, former Maj., USMC; former UN weapons inspector, Iraq (@RealScottRitter)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.) (@coleenrowley)

J. Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA (ret.) (@kirkwiebe)

Sarah Wilton, Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.) and Defense Intelligence Agency (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)


Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington’s justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at Consortiumnews.com.

August 8, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

Twitter suspends Ron Paul Institute executive’s account, one day after Big Tech blocks InfoWars

RT | August 7, 2018

Several Libertarian figures, including the Ron Paul Institute director, have found their Twitter accounts suspended. It comes after tech giants went after right-wing journalist Alex Jones, banning his show from their platforms.

Radio host and editorial director of Antiwar.com Scott Horton, former State Department employee and author Peter Van Buren, and Dan McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, found their twitter accounts suspended on Monday, according to Antiwar.com.

Horton has been disciplined for the use of improper language against journalist Jonathan M. Katz, he said in a brief statement. McAdams was suspended for retweeting him, he said.

Past tweets in both accounts were available to the public at the time of the writing, unlike the account of Van Buren, which was fully redacted.

Horton and McAdams apparently fell victim of Twitter’s suspension algorithm after objecting to Katz’s quarrel with Van Buren over an earlier interview.

The suspensions come a day after Alex Jones, and his podcast InfoWars, was kicked out from several popular media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and Spotify.

Silicon Valley giants were harshly criticized by the US political establishment for failing to prevent alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election through their platforms. Critics say the pressured media giants are now engaged in political censorship, using their market dominance and lack of legislated neutrality requirements to target descent voices.

READ MORE:

Chilling precedent? InfoWars block exposes Big Tech as no friend of free speech

August 7, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Institutionalizing Intolerance: Bullies Win, Freedom Suffers When We Can’t Agree to Disagree

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute | August 06, 2018

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” ― Benjamin Franklin

What a mess.

As America has become ever more polarized, and those polarized factions have become more militant and less inclined to listen to—or even allow for the existence of—other viewpoints, we are fast becoming a nation of people who just can’t get along.

Here’s the thing: if Americans don’t learn how to get along—at the very least, agreeing to disagree and respecting each other’s right to subscribe to beliefs and opinions that may be offensive, hateful, intolerant or merely different—then we’re going to soon find that we have no rights whatsoever (to speak, assemble, agree, disagree, protest, opt in, opt out, or forge our own paths as individuals).

In such an environment, when we can’t agree to disagree, the bullies (on both sides) win and freedom suffers.

Intolerance, once the domain of the politically correct and self-righteous, has been institutionalized, normalized and politicized.

Even those who dare to defend speech that may be unpopular or hateful as a constitutional right are now accused of “weaponizing the First Amendment.”

On college campuses across the country, speakers whose views are deemed “offensive” to some of the student body are having their invitations recalled, being shouted down by hecklers, or forced to hire costly security details.

It’s not just college students who have lost their taste for diverse viewpoints and free speech.

In Charlottesville, Va., in the wake of a violent clash between the alt-right and alt-left over whether Confederate statues should remain standing in a community park, City Council meetings were routinely “punctuated with screaming matches, confrontations, calls to order, and even arrests,” making it all but impossible for attendees and councilors alike to speak their minds.

On Twitter, President Trump has repeatedly called for the NFL to penalize players who take a knee in protest of police brutality during the national anthem, which clearly flies in the face of the First Amendment’s assurance of the right to free speech and protest (especially in light of the president’s decision to insert himself—an agent of the government—into a private workplace dispute).

On Facebook, Alex Jones, the majordomo of conspiracy theorists who spawned an empire built on alternative news, has been banned for posting content that violates the social media site’s “Community Standards,” which prohibit posts that can be construed as bullying or hateful.

Even the American Civil Liberties Union, once a group known for taking on the most controversial cases, is contemplating stepping back from its full-throated defense of free (at times, hateful) speech.

The most controversial issues of our day—gay rights, abortion, race, religion, sexuality, political correctness, police brutality, et al.—have become battlegrounds for those who claim to believe in freedom of speech but only when it favors the views and positions they support.

Free speech for me but not for thee” is how my good friend and free speech purist Nat Hentoff used to sum up this double standard.

This haphazard approach to the First Amendment has so muddied the waters that even First Amendment scholars are finding it hard to navigate at times.

It’s really not that hard.

The First Amendment affirms the right of the people to speak freely, worship freely, peaceably assemble, petition the government for a redress of grievances, and have a free press.

Nowhere in the First Amendment does it permit the government to limit speech in order to avoid causing offense, hurting someone’s feelings, safeguarding government secrets, protecting government officials, insulating judges from undue influence, discouraging bullying, penalizing hateful ideas and actions, eliminating terrorism, combatting prejudice and intolerance, and the like.

On paper—at least according to the U.S. Constitution—we are technically free to speak.

In reality, however, we are only as free to speak as a government official—or corporate entities such as Facebook, Google or YouTube—may allow.

Free speech is no longer free.

What we have instead is regulated, controlled speech, and that’s a whole other ballgame.

Remember, the First Amendment is a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world.

When there is no steam valve—when there is no one to hear what the people have to say—frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation.

Silencing unpopular viewpoints with which the majority might disagree—whether it’s by shouting them down, censoring them, muzzling them, or criminalizing them—only empowers the controllers of the Deep State.

Even when the motives behind this rigidly calibrated reorientation of societal language appear well-intentioned—discouraging racism, condemning violence, denouncing discrimination and hatred—inevitably, the end result is the same: intolerance, indoctrination and infantilism.

So where does that leave us?

We’ve got to do the hard work of figuring out how to get along again.

Frankly, I agree with journalist Bret Stephens when he says that we’re failing at the art of disagreement.

According to Stephens, “to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say.”

Instead of intelligent discourse, we’ve been saddled with identity politics, “a safe space from thought, rather than a safe space for thought.”

Safe spaces.

That’s what we’ve been reduced to on college campuses, in government-run forums, and now on public property and on the internet.

The problem, as I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, is that the creation of so-called safe spaces—where offensive ideas and speech are prohibited—is just censorship by another name, and censorship breeds resentment, and resentment breeds conflict, and unresolved, festering conflict gives rise to violence.

Charlottesville is a prime example of this.

Anticipating the one-year anniversary of the riots in Charlottesville on August 12, the local city government, which bungled its response the first time around, is now attempting to ostensibly create a “safe space” by shutting the city down for the days surrounding the anniversary, all the while ramping up the presence of militarized police, in the hopes that no one else (meaning activists or protesters) will show up and nothing (meaning riots and brawls among activists) will happen.

What a mess.


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.

August 6, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

The Deep State Intends To Destroy Alex Jones—Don’t Let Them

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute For Political Economy | August 6, 2018

Fabricated, unwarranted lawsuits are being used in an effort to shut down Alex Jones who raises too many issues that those who rule us do not want raised. At times Alex can be over the top, but overall he has spread a lot of awareness of events that otherwise would have received no notice.

There is no doubt whatsoever of William Binney’s expertise and integrity. This hour long interview with him is posted on Info Wars, not on CNN, BBC, MSNBC, NPR, or Fox News. It is not printed in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times or the Washington Post.

William Binney developed the NSA’s spy capability and left the agency over its misuse. In this interview—https://www.infowars.com/bill-binney-in-his-own-words-a-collaborative-conspiracy-to-subvert-the-us-government/ — you will learn many things, such as the reason that it is strictly impossible that Hillary’s emails were hacked by the Russians or anyone else; they were downloaded on a thumb drive. You will learn that it is common practice for the US Department of Justice (sic), the FBI, and the so called “security agencies” to frame totally innocent people. You will learn that the entire federal intelligence and legal apparatus is corrupt beyond belief and cannot in any way be trusted.

This is the kind of information that Alex Jones brings to us, and it is the reason the deep state is determined to destroy Alex Jones, just as it attempted to destroy William Binney and still hopes to destroy Snowden and Assange.

August 6, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

Anti-Semitism and the suppression of truth

By Gilad Atzmon | August 5, 2018

Jewish power, as I define it, is the power to silence opposition to Jewish power. The scandal over the alleged anti-Semitism within the Labour party provides a perfect example. The Labour Party is accused of being “an existential threat to British Jews” (no more no less) because the NEC, its ruling body, defined antisemitism for the Labour party, without clearly including in its definition criticism of Israel.

In its definition for its own code, the Labour party adopted the problematic IHRA working definition of antisemitism but omitted the following ‘examples of anti-Semitism’ included with the IHRA:

§  Accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country,

§  Claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavor,

§  Requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations, and

§  Comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis.

According to Labour’s ruling body, these examples may not be treated as anti -Jewish bigotry without clear evidence of anti-Semitic intent. This treatment is the proper one according to most reasonable minds.

Since some Diaspora Jews admit to being more loyal to Israel than to their home country, it would be a bit problematic to accuse a goy of hatefulness for repeating what many Jews openly declare. Since the new racist Israeli National Bill has been duly approved by the Knesset, it would be bizarre to accuse a Labour Party member of anti-Jewish bigotry for saying that Israel is a racist endeavour.

Although such an accusation may well be accurate, it runs afoul of the omitted examples in the IHRA definition exactly because the definition is designed to suppress criticism of Israel and its politics. Last week, the Guardian published a wide range  of Jewish writers and their views of the IHRA definition in the context of the current Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ crisis. Some of the views expressed are insightful and deserve close attention.

Antisemitism, according to Stephen Sedley, a law scholar and a former judge, is “hostility towards Jews as Jews. This straightforward definition is at the disposal of any institution or organisation that needs it. It places no prior restrictions on the form antisemitism may take.”

Sedley comes to a conclusion that the IHRA definition with examples exists “to neutralise serious criticism of Israel by stigmatising it as a form of antisemitism.” Sedley’s view in this context fits nicely with the definition of Jewish power above.

Sedley points out that The UK government, which has adopted the “working definition” including the examples, was warned by the Commons home affairs select committee in October 2016 that in the interests of free speech it ought to adopt an explicit rider that it is not antisemitic to criticise the government of Israel … without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.” Sedley emphasises that this recommendation “was ignored.”

Geoffrey Bindman, a QC, solicitor and a legal scholar agrees with Sedley’s criticism. Bindman also refers to the recommendations of the all-party Commons home affairs select committee that the IHRA definition should only be adopted if qualified by caveats making clear that it is not anti-Semitic to criticise the Israeli government without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent. “Unfortunately the caveats were omitted when the definition was approved by the UK government.”

These men make clear that the IHRA definition is a faulty definition. The British government should reconsider its use of this definition. The other bodies and institutions that were pushed to adopt this non-universalist text would do well to drop it.

Sedley’s opinion is that even though the UK has adopted the IHRA definition, Brits are not forbidden by law from telling the truth about Israel’s being a racist state. This is because Britain also has the “Human Rights Act [that] enacts article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, guaranteeing the right of free expression.” According to Sedley “whatever criticism the IHRA’s ‘examples’ may seek to suppress, both Jews and non-Jews in the UK are entitled, without being stigmatised as antisemites, to contend that a state that by law denies Palestinians any right of self-determination is a racist state, or to ask whether there is some moral equivalence between shooting down defenceless Jews in eastern Europe and unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza.”

Geoffrey Bindman argues that the IHRA definition and examples are “poorly drafted, misleading, and in practice have led to the suppression of legitimate debate and freedom of expression. Nevertheless, clumsily worded as it is, the definition does describe the essence of anti-Semitism: irrational hostility towards Jews.”

Here Bindman opens Pandora’s box. If anti-Semitism is irrational hostility toward Jews simply for being Jews, then the IHRA definition together with its clauses treats even rational and reasonable opposition to Israeli politics as ‘irrational hatred.’ This presents a dangerous precedent and an Orwellian turn for British society. It suggests that Britain is a free country no more. In Britain in 2018, those who oppose a certain type of evil, racist politics are labelled ‘irrational haters’ (anti-Semites). Clearly Labour’s NEC attempted to fix this problem by requiring a finding of hateful intent at the core of certain so-called anti-Semitic behaviour. This reasonable requirement led to an irrational reaction by Jewish institutions and an aggressive response.

It is difficult to judge whether the Guardian’s choices to defend the IHRA were made as a genuine attempt to represent the Zionist side. Perhaps the Guardian was making a desperate attempt to provide its readers with some comic relief: like the British Chief Rabbi and 68 additional British rabbis who were upset by Labour‘s slight deviation from the IHRA definition, Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner also expressed her dissatisfaction with the party of the workers.

“If the Labour party wanted to prioritise anti-Semitism by choosing a bespoke definition then it could have listened to the full diversity of the Jewish community,” Janner-Klausner wrote. But why does anyone need to follow the Rabbis or self-appointed Jewish ‘representative bodies’ for that matter? If anti-Semitism is racism, then we all ought to oppose anti-Semitism as we do any form of racism: universally. And if anti-Semitism is a piece of our universal concern with racism, then we all should be equally involved in opposing it. This is similar to the line of thought that was, I believe, at the core of the American Civil Rights Movement. It was a universal call that had a universal appeal. It aimed to protect the many not just the few. This is pretty much the opposite of the IHRA definition that is concerned with one people only.

In that regard, it is of note that Labour’s NEC was not attempting to define what anti-Semitsm means to Jews. NEC defined what anti-Semitsm means for the Labour party and in accordance with Labour values.

Keith Kahn-Harris, a London sociologist not known for his sophistication also contributed to the Guardian’s panel. He reiterated my definition of Jewish power, probably without realising it. “It’s certainly true that the IHRA definition does tightly constrain anti-Israel and anti-Zionist speech, but it doesn’t make it impossible.” I guess that Kahn-Harris is saying that IHRA definition allows support of Palestine as long as the speaker can successfully zigzag around Jewish sensitivities. Maybe you can talk about Palestinian suffering as long as you avoid mentioning Israel. “It might have been possible to see the IHRA definition as a challenge to pro-Palestinian activists to be more creative in their language: after all, whether or not you think Israel is acting just like the Nazis, saying so is predictable, lazy and cliched.” I would advise Khan Harris that living for 70 years as a stateless refugee in Lebanon or being imprisoned in Gaza by an Israeli siege is more than enough. Palestinians and their supporters do not need this ‘extra challenge.’ What they want is to make their plight known and to be able to talk truth to power. Even to describe, for instance, an equivalence between two nationalist, racist and expansionist political ideologies that were fermented around the same time and even collaborated for a while. And this is exactly what the IHRA is there to prevent.

August 5, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment