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Francis Fukuyama and the End of Social Media Freedoms

By Robert BRIDGE | Strategic Culture Foundation | 09.11.2018

The American political scientist known for promoting the “end of history” fish tale following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the spread of Liberal-capitalist values around the world now appears to be angling for ways – wittingly or unwittingly – to curtail the freedom of speech.

Writing in The American Interest as the virtual crackdown on Alex Jones was underway, Fukuyama argued that the usual suspects of the social media universe – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Apple, and all of their vast subterranean holdings – need to come clean by entering a two-step rehabilitation program where they must: (1.) “accept the fact that they are media companies with an obligation to curate information on their platforms,” and (2.) “accept the fact that they need to get smaller.”

I think we can safely skip the “need to get smaller” suggestion with a hearty chuckle and focus our attention instead on the question of social media being held to the same rules as those that regulate America’s squeaky clean media divas, like The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC.

The social media monsters argue that since they do not create original content, but rather mindlessly provide the clean slate, as it were, for third-party developers to post their own thoughts, opinions, news and of course wild-eyed ‘conspiracy theories,’ they cannot be bound by the same rules and regulations as the mainstream media, which must bear ultimate responsibility for its increasingly damaged goods.

“We’re not a media company,” the late Steve Jobs of Apple fame told Esquire in a rough and tumble interview. “We don’t own media. We don’t own music. We don’t own films or television. We’re not a media company. We’re just Apple.” On that note, Jobs reached over and switched off the interviewer’s tape recorder, bringing an abrupt end to the strained conversation.

Thanks to the provisions laid out in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the social media platforms are granted immunity from liability for users of an “interactive computer service” who publish information provided by third-party users.

The act was overwhelmingly supported by Congress following the verdict in the 1995 court case, Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co., which suggested that internet service providers that assumed an editorial role with regards to client content thus became publishers and legally vulnerable for any wrongdoing (libel and slander, for example) committed by their customers. At the time, when alternative voices on the social media frontier had not turned into actual competition for the legacy media, legislators deemed it more important to protect service providers from criminal proceedings than to nip freedom of speech in the bud. Honorable? Yes. But I wonder if they’d have made the same decision knowing the powerful forces they had unleashed.

At this point, Fukuyama summarizes the plight regarding the social media platforms with relation to their independent creators, who wish to express their freedom of speech.

“Section 230 was put in place both to protect freedom of speech and to promote growth and innovation in the tech sector. Both users and general publics were happy with this outcome for the next couple of decades, as social media appeared and masses of people gravitated to platforms like Facebook and Twitter for information and communication. But these views began to change dramatically following the 2016 elections in the United States and Britain, and subsequent revelations both of Russian meddling in the United States and other countries, and of the weaponization of social media by far-Right actors like Alex Jones.”

Despite being a learned and intelligent man, Fukuyama jumps headfirst into the shallow end of a pool known as ‘Blame Russia’, while, at the same time, blames the far-Right for the “weaponization” of social media, as though the Left isn’t equally up to the challenge of waging dirty tricks, in a crucial election year, no less.

Next, he genuflects before the Almighty Algorythm, the godhead of Silicon Valley’s Valhalla, which, as the argument goes, was responsible for attracting huge audiences to particular channels and their messages, instead of the other way around.

“Their business model was built on clicks and virality, which led them to tune their algorithms in ways that actively encouraged conspiracy theories, personal abuse, and other content that was most likely to generate user interaction,” Fukuyama surmises. “This was the opposite of the public broadcasting ideal, which (as defined, for example, by the Council of Europe) privileged material deemed in the broad public interest.”

In other words, had Mark Zuckerberg and friends not toggled their algorithmic settings to ‘conspiracy theories,’ then the easily manipulated masses would never have given a second thought to well-known catastrophes based on pure and unadulterated evil, like the Invasion of Iraq in 2003, which, as the tin-foil-hat crowd constantly crows, was made possible by the fake news of weapons of mass destruction.

Here, Fukuyama lays on thick his extra-nutty academic drivel: “This is the most important sense in which the big internet platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become media companies: They craft algorithms that determine what their users’ limited attention will focus on, driven (at least up to now) not by any broad vision of public responsibility but rather by profit maximization, which leads them to privilege virality.”

In other words, internet users are not inquisitive creatures by nature with fully functioning frontal lobe regions like the honorable Francis Fukuyama. They do not actively search out subjects of interest with critical reasoning skills and ponder cause and effect. And let’s not even mention the mainstream media’s disastrous coverage of current events, which led to the alienation of mainstream audiences in the first place. In Fukuyama’s matrix, otherwise normal people subscribe to ‘alternative facts’ or conspiracy theories because those damn algorithms kept popping up!

This ‘more righteous than thou’ attitude on the part of left-leaning Silicon Valley prompted hundreds of independent channels – the overwhelming majority from the right – to be swept away by a force known as ‘private ownership’ where brutal censorship has become the latest fad. Fukuyama, serving as the mouthpiece for both corporate and political interests, shrugs off this noxious phenomenon by arguing: “Private actors can and do censor material all the time, and the platforms in question are not acting on behalf of the U.S. government.”

Let’s give Fukuyama the benefit of the doubt. Maybe there really is no cooperation between the most powerful and influential industries for manipulating public opinion and the U.S. government. Yet we would do well to keep in mind some key facts that strongly suggest otherwise. During the two-term presidency of Barack Obama (2009-2016), Google executives met on average once a week in the White House with government officials. According to the Campaign for Accountability, 169 Google employees met with 182 government officials at least 427 times, a Beltway record for such chumminess. What is so potentially disastrous about such meetings is that Google, the chokepoint on news and information, which has the power to actually rewrite history, is fiercely Liberal in its political outlook as per some whistleblowers who escaped the well-manicured campus known for employee neck massages and free lunches. What was discussed in the White House? Nobody really knows. However, there is already a treasure trove of publicly available information detailing the intimate relationship between US intelligence and Google (as well as the other usual suspects).

Fukuyama tries to conclude with an upbeat, happy message by saying “private sector actors… have a responsibility to help maintain the health of [America’s democratic] political system.” However, judging by everything in the article that preceded that remark, I would have to guess Francis Fukuyama would fully support yet more intolerance in the world of social media as a means of preserving America’s freedom-squashing status quo.

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 1 Comment

gab.com & the Great Purge on the Horizon

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | October 30, 2018

gab.com is an alternative social network, set up and launched in 2016. It’s founder, Andrew Torba, stated he wanted to create a home for free speech, and counter what he perceived as “liberal bias” on other platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Two days ago, their website was taken down. This was in response to being blocked by PayPal, and then having their server space taken away by their hosting service. gab’s founder posted this statement on their stripped-down website.

Why did this happen?

Because Robert Bowers, the alleged gunman at the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, had a gab account and posted some things about “the jews” on it.

Is it right, or sensible to punish a platform for the (alleged) actions of ONE user out of 100,000s? And is that really what’s going on?

Robert Bowers also had a Twitter account. And a Facebook page. Neither of these platforms has faced punishment, or censure, from any quarter.

Cesar Sayoc – the alleged MAGABomber – also had a twitter account and allegedly sent threatening messages to some public figures on it. Again, Twitter has not been blocked by PayPal.

In fact, Twitter and Facebook – though occasionally criticised for “not doing enough to combat hate”, have never been blocked, or threatened in any way. Even though Twitter hosted countless pro-ISIS accounts, regularly cited in the media.

So clearly, it can be reasoned, PayPal et al are not only responding to the alleged statements of Robert Bowers. There is a deeper agenda at work.

In fact, this isn’t the first time larger internet companies have tried to stymie gab’s existence. When they were first launched, in 2016, Apple denied them a place in their app store because they allegedly allowed pornography to be posted. When gab installed a filter to block people posting pornography, Apple again denied them access to the app store, this time for breaching their “hate speech” regulations. Google Play did the same in 2017 (reminder – Google allowed ISIS to release their own app on their marketplace).

Early this year a cross-university study conducted on gab (and other “alt-right” sites) found that gab.com used “free speech as shield to protect their “alt-right” views”. (I’m not sure what, if anything, that sentence really means. Surely free speech is a shield protecting all speech? Isn’t that the point?)

In April this year VICE magazine ran an article headlined “Gab Is the Alt-Right Social Network Racists Are Moving to”. It was resoundingly negative about the site, painting it as nothing but a home for racism and “conspiracy theorists”, despite the owner’s protestations that gab is all about free speech, and that anyone is free to join.

Logically, the emergence of networks like gab was inevitable. The internet has always been that way, you shut down one hallway and four more are forced open. Look at Piratebay, notionally banned, yet available through a million different proxies that spring up faster than governments can shut them down.

Social media has undergone unprecedented purges this year. Alex Jones was banned across virtually every mainstream platform. Hundreds of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts were shut down on spurious grounds – allegations of being “Kremlin backed” or “Iran bots”fly around, without any supporting evidence ever being released to the public. This summer, Twitter blocked millions of “fake accounts” (we covered that here).

These actions aren’t independent, either. Alex Jones was banned from multiple platforms, all within 24 hours. Just earlier this month, Facebook unpublished over 800 pages, whilst twitter blocked the accounts of the same pages… all on the same day. Clearly, the companies are either coordinating with each other (possibly in breach of anti-trust laws), or are receiving directions from the same source – almost certainly the government.

In that climate, new platforms were always going to emerge. It’s the classic “Well then I’m gonna build my own theme park, with blackjack and hookers” situation.

YouTube is increasingly corporate, controlled and fake. Demonetising user videos and adding more and more advertisements… so dtube and bitchute open. Twitter censors your free-speech, so we’ll start up a platform where you can say what you want.

Twitter and Facebook both saw their stock-prices tumble as a result of their respective “purges”. So, is the anti-gab movement simply a case of mega-corporations protecting their monopoly by shutting down a budding rival? Is this all just about control of the market and money?

Unfortunately, it seems not. Like the vast majority of media roll-outs, it seems this is a convergence of interests – financial on the one hand, and political on the other.

The push to ban the “alt-right” – or, the even broader term – “hate speech” has been on-going for several years now. It will inevitably pick up in the wake of the events of this week.

Within hours, predictable voices were discussing the “necessary limitations on free speech”:

Today, CNN ran this piece: “Big Tech made the social media mess. It has to fix it”.

Paul Mason, writing in the New Statesman, argued that YouTube needs to censor all the “alt-right” on their platform.

It’s a two-step process – having first established the need to “limit” hate speech, we can then move on to defining what “hate speech” really means.

They’ve started on that already. Criticising George Soros is “anti-semitic” now. As is the term “neocons”:

What else will be deemed hate speech? What does “hate speech” really mean? The simple answer to that is: Whatever they want it to mean.

It seems like there’s a purge coming, you can feel it in the wind. A purge motivated by the greed of multinational companies wielding power that rivals nations, and fuelled by the fascistic need of the “powers-that-shouldn’t-be” to limit and control our existence…just because they can.

It is both authoritarian power grab, and a manifestation of corporate greed. It’s amazing how often those two things come together.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he’s forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

October 30, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Shadow Banning Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg: We’re All Digital Ghosts Now

By Charles Hugh Smith | Of Two Minds | October 27, 2018

Just about the only bulwark against being silenced by the modern-day tech-corporate-NKVD-Stasi is Patreon.

If you do a search of shadow banning, you’ll find sites that claim to help you identify whether Twitter or Instagram has shadow banned your account. The basic idea of shadow banning is to spoof the shadow-banned user into believing their public posts are visible to all while in reality the posts are visible only to the user or in some cases to the users’ followers.

Wikipedia’s definition of shadow banning is:

“Shadow banning (also called stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting) is the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community such that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned.”

Here is whatis.com’s description: “Shadow banning is controversial because it allows an administrator or moderator to effectively become a censor and prevent specific users from interacting with other members of an online community on an equal basis.”

Shadow banning and outright banning are only the tip of the iceberg: everyone who posts content on the web or social media is subject to much more subtle and completely opaque controls on how much of your digital presence has been ghosted–not just in social media communities but in searches and how links to your site/content and re-posts of your content are handled by the tech cartel that controls what’s visible and “found” on the web and social media.

This cartel is dominated by Google and Facebook. Google controls over 90% of all search: what search results are displayed, the weight given to links (the page-rank assigned to websites) and a variety of other factors that can be depreciated, removed, omitted or blocked by algorithms and/or human censors (a.k.a. administrators) without recourse and without the site or user being informed.

While this chart displays the dominance of Facebook and Google in digital ad revenues, it is a rough proxy for their dominance in mindshare, user data collected and control over what is displayed and not displayed in search results and social media.

We are all digital ghosts now, and how much of your digital shadow is visible to the world is secret / opaque. If you violate company policies or applicable censorship laws (as interpreted by the company attorneys), the corporation will notify you that your account has been frozen or banned.

In these instances, users and content creators are informed of their purported violation.

But this visible part of web / social media censorship is only the tip of the iceberg. Most of the censorship is invisible and undetectable. Here’s an example of how this might work.

Facebook has reportedly based one of its censorship programs on the demonstrably bogus (and anonymously produced) PropOrNot list that was hyped by the Washington Post in 2016. The list of sites accused of being Russian propaganda outlets was a grab-bag of left, right and center websites whose only “crime” was publishing some bit of skepticism about the coronation of Hillary Clinton.

So a bogus anonymous list becomes the foundation of Facebook’s censorship efforts. This is precisely how the former Soviet Union’s secret police operated: a falsely reported association became the foundation of surveillance and the setting of various traps and snares to catch anti-social elements in the act of undermining the regime.

That the association was false no longer matters. What matters is your name is on the list. It turns out oftwominds.com made it on the modern-day NKVD-Stasi list of PropOrNot, which despite being debunked has taken on a life of its own in the New Police State of Facebook, Google, et al.

You might have heard about a targeted website’s traffic suddenly plummeting 30% or 40% literally overnight. Well, it’s true. Many sites left and right report their traffic mysteriously and suddenly plummets without any explanation by the organs of censorship (Facebook, Google, et al.)

It happened to oftwominds.com this month. I have traffic data going back to 2005, and my traffic (visits and page views) has been remarkably steady for years. The number of my posts per week remains the same, my engagement on social media remains the same (as far as I can tell, heh) and my page rank remains the same (5) (again, as far as I can tell).

So when my traffic drops like a light switch was flipped, I notice.

I hope you’ll enjoy the irony that many if not most of the charts published on my site are from the Federal Reserve Economic Data site (FRED). But this is akin to the innocent citizen snagged by the NKVD or Stasi for unspecified crimes against the people protesting his innocence and good citizenship: none of that matters. What matters is your name is on the list, and our administrators are obligated to track your digital presence and digitally ghost you by adjusting search results to depreciate your presence, underweight links from other sites, jam attempts to re-post your content and so on.

None of this is visible or reported. It all happens behind the closed doors of Facebook, Google et al. Just as loyal employees of the NKVD and the Stasi were constantly told they were the bulwark of the people against enemies of the state, employees of Facebook, Google et al. are told they’re weeding out “fake news” and “propaganda” (like those charts from the Federal Reserve Economic Database) that is disruptive and divisive.

In other words, they’re good Germans doing their masters’ bidding, for very handsome salaries, bonuses and stock options.

Meanwhile, the incomes of those secretly ghosted without trial or recourse plummets along with their traffic. The net result of the perverse magic of tech cartel censorship is only the wealthy few can afford to keep posting original content after they’ve been ghosted.

Should Facebook, Google et al. reassure us we haven’t been ghosted, why should we believe them? Since the entire apparatus of censorship is operated by private, for-profit corporations in complete secrecy, on what basis would their assurances be credible or verifiable?

Just about the only bulwark against being silenced by the modern-day tech-corporate-NKVD-Stasi is Patreon–individuals who provide financial support of independent voices and analysis because they value those independent analysts and content creators.

It doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself left, right or center. If you want to resist secret censorship of both the left and the right, then please consider supporting the independent commentators and analysts who have enhanced your life with value, insight or entertainment. Thank you, patrons and financial supporters of oftwominds.com and other independent content creators. Thanks to you, the tech cartel can ghost us and our content but they can’t erase it entirely.

At least not yet.

If you’re not sure where to start, search Patreon.com for the names of those independent content creators you value.

[Aletho News notes that WordPress analytics recently zeroed out the tally of clicks to Al-Manar News from Aletho News in the middle of a reporting period, erasing prior clicks. Unless an administrator happened to be closely tracking traffic, one would presume that there was very little reader interest in certain content. Also, Gilad Atzmon’s site has had its RSS feed down for days now, a new record]

October 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Facebook bans 80+ ‘Iranian-linked’ accounts it says masqueraded as US citizens

RT | October 27, 2018

Facebook deleted 82 accounts, pages and groups, which it claims operated from Iran to wage an online propaganda campaign while posing as US citizens and posting memes on “politically charged topics.”

The suspended accounts engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on Facebook and Instagram, posting about things like “race relations, opposition to the president, and immigration,” Head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher wrote on company’s website on Friday. At least one of the removed pages had about 1.02 million followers.

Facebook admitted that it failed to find any ties between the deleted accounts and the Iranian government, though. “We can’t say for sure who is responsible,” Gleicher stated.

The social network revealed samples of content, created by the accounts it flagged as Iranian bots. They appear to be propagating strong pro-liberal and left-wing views, and are directed against President Donald Trump. One of them calls Trump “the worst, most hated president in American history.” Another displays a message in support of Trump critic, NFL athlete Colin Kaepernick, known for his controversial anti-police-brutality protests.

According to the tech giant, the accounts masqueraded as US citizens, and in some cases as UK citizens. Some of their efforts appear to be rather small-scale, as less than $100 was reportedly spent on running two ads on Facebook – one before the 2016 presidential election, and another one last January. The now-banned accounts also hosted a total of seven events between 2016 and 2018. Facebook can’t confirm if any of them “actually occurred,” and says that some of the events “appear to have been planned to occur only online.” One of them said events garnered the attention of 110 people, and two events received no interest at all.

Facebook and other big tech companies, like Twitter and Google, have been pressured by the government to step up their efforts to combat the ‘propaganda campaigns’ and ‘election meddling’ allegedly unleashed by Iran and Russia. In August, Facebook banned 652 “inauthentic” accounts and groups it linked to Tehran and Moscow. Twitter did the same by banning 284 accounts allegedly “originated” from Iran.

Both Iran and Russia have repeatedly denied the allegations of any attempts to interfere in US domestic affairs. Last week, Iran dismissed the accusation of trying to influence voters ahead of the US midterm election as “false” and caused by an “unknown illusion.”

Furthermore, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed that Twitter had targeted legitimate Iranian accounts in the course of its anti-bot campaign. “Twitter has shuttered accounts of real Iranians, [including] TV presenters and students, for supposedly being part of an ‘influence op,’” he wrote last month.

Facebook also received criticism earlier this month when it wiped out more than 800 political and alt-media accounts with millions of followers in the course of a purge. The company said that all the affected accounts were linked with “unauthentic” activities. However, their authors insist that Facebook is simply using the ‘unauthentic behavior’ excuse for censorship.

October 27, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 2 Comments

Facebook Shuts Down Dozens of Alleged Pro-Bolsonaro Accounts in Brazil

Sputnik – 23.10.2018

Facebook has shut down 68 pages and 43 accounts linked to the Brazilian marketing group Raposo Fernandes Associados (RFA); the social media site claims that the firm violated its spam policies.

“The people behind RFA created pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names, which violates our Community Standards. They then used those pages to post massive amounts of clickbait,” the statement reads.

A local newspaper, O Estado de S. Paulo, called the blocked accounts the largest network supporting Brazil’s right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who will face off against his leftist rival Fernando Haddad in the Sunday runoff election.

The US social media giant argued that its decision to remove these pages was based on their behavior, rather than their content.

The newspaper said it exposed the pro-Bolsonaro network in a joint investigation with Avaaz, a US-based activist website, which claimed that the blocked pages had generated 12.5 million interactions in the past month.

October 23, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Purge of alt-media by FB is ‘us pushing back, just a beginning’ – censorship insider

RT | October 23, 2018

An employee of a leading Washington DC think tank has reportedly taken credit for the resent purge of alternative media by Facebook and Twitter, claiming it to be necessary to fight against ‘fake news’ from Russia and China.

In the latest act of apparent censorship of political speech online, US-based tech giants this month shut down hundreds of user accounts. Some belonged to well-established alternative media outlets with hundreds of thousands of followers, like The Free Thought Project or The Anti Media. A senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, a leading think tank advocating US global supremacy, seems to have at least partially taken credit for this.

“Russia, China, and other foreign states take advantage of our open political system,” Jamie Fly said.

“They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning.”

The remarks were cited by Jeb Sprague, a visiting faculty member in sociology at the University of California-Santa Barbara, in a story he co-authored for The Gray Zone Project, an outlet known for criticism of online censorship.

Sprague said Fly made the comments to him during a lunch break at a conference on Asian security organized by Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin, Germany.

According to the account, Fly complained that any person with an email can set up an account on social media and potentially reach a wide audience. He predicted a long, global struggle to fix the situation.

Fly started his career in US political circles as an adviser to the George W. Bush administration. He was also a foreign policy and national security consultant for Senator Marco Rubio, when he was trying to secure the 2016 presidential nomination from the Republican Party. For four years he headed the Foreign Policy Initiative, a pro-Israeli think tank founded by neoconservative figures Bill Kristol, Dan Senor, and Robert Kagan.

In the last few years, Fly showed up as an expert on social media and ‘Russian disinformation’ on various outlets to speak about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the US. Among other things he teamed up with Laura Rosenberger, the head of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, the organization behind the Hamilton 68 dashboard, a tool that purports to show Russian online interference on Twitter, based on monitoring a number of undisclosed accounts and applying a secret methodology to analyze the data.

According to Sprague, Fly also stated that he was working with the Atlantic Council in the campaign to purge alternative media from social media platforms like Facebook. The social media network has partnered with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) to root out ‘fake news’ on its platform. The think tank is not unlike the German Marshall Fund in terms of the policies it furthers, with some commenters simply calling it ‘NATO’s PR branch’.

October 23, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Danish Journalist Slams Bill Effectively ‘Criminalizing Attitudes Critical of NATO’

Sputnik – October 21, 2018

An influential Danish politician has proposed a bill which would allow the government to prosecute Facebook users for posting opinions suspected of being ‘hostile to NATO’ or too similar to those of Russia. Speaking to Sputnik, Lars Jorgensen, a veteran Danish sociologist, journalist and long-time NATO researcher, outlined the proposal’s perils.

Last week, Soren Pind, a Danish Left-Liberal Party politician and former minister of education and justice, pitched a bill threatening up to 12 years of prison time for Danes accused of collaborating with Russian intelligence services or making statements which conflict with the official position of authorities during election campaigns.

Silencing Critics

Speaking to Sputnik Germany about Mr. Pind’s proposal, which is now up for debate among lawmakers, Danish journalist and Homo Sociologicus contributor Lars Jorgensen said that unfortunately, the parliament probably won’t be an obstacle.

“The Danish government has the support of Western countries for [the bill’s] implementation,” Jorgensen explained. “The bill effectively allows for the criminalization of attitudes which are critical of NATO. Another important point is the one allowing the government to say that you are cooperating with foreign intelligence services. As a Danish citizen, as a critical sociologist, I must now fear being accused of collaborating with foreign intelligence services, even if this is something I do not do,” he stressed.

Jorgensen’s fears are not unsubstantiated, given the number of articles critical of the Western alliance which are available on his website and Facebook pages, which have already faced censorship. “My Facebook account was blocked for months,” the journalist complained. “Later it was deactivated. I had about 4,000 friends there, including academics from all over the world.” Facebook, Jorgensen said, never adequately responded to his concerns.”I am a researcher with a critical view of NATO,” Jorgensen said. “At present, we don’t have many critical voices regarding NATO [in Denmark]. I studied the history of the alliance in detail, and communicate with a large circle of experts and specialists.”

This research has provided him with insights “destroying” NATO’s positive image, Jorgensen said. “It shows that what we are being told about the war in Yugoslavia is an absolute lie. The same goes for Libya, and Syria. For NATO and the political and corporate forces standing behind them, it’s very important to silence critical voices like myself,” the independent journalist noted.

Unfortunately, Jorgensen complained, Pind’s controversial bill has seen little attention from the Danish press, and even less criticism. The mainstream Danish media’s attitudes are fully in line with those of NATO, the journalist said.

“All of Denmark’s newspapers are controlled by large media groups. They would never allow me to speak to them, like I am speaking to you for this interview,” Jorgenson noted. Denmark, he lamented, has a deficit of alternative media. “If you were to look at materials about Syria in the Danish mainstream media, you would find that they are even wilder and more embellished than in the US. They are complete fiction. On the other hand, if you look at the authentic reports from Syria, as I have done, and listen to ordinary people, they all ask the same question: why is the British government supporting terrorists in Syria?”

Another part of the problem lies in the weak state of left and anti-war politics in Denmark, Jorgenson said, pointing out that a tiny communist newspaper was the first to even report on Pind’s bill or the dangers it poses to free speech.

Defense Against ‘Russian Influence’?

In the bill’s official wording, it is stated that the proposal is about the criminalization of collaboration with foreign intelligence services, or providing foreign agents with an opportunity to influence public opinion. Citing Norwegian intelligence, the bill speaks of a growing likelihood of “Russian campaigns to exert influence posing a growing threat to Denmark,” with Copenhagen said to be “very likely” to become a “target of such campaigns by Russia.”

Last week, Berlingske newspaper columnist Flemming Rose attacked the bill, which targets television, radio, newspapers, and other media, as well as internet and social media-based publications, pointing to a lack of a minimum threshold on what can be legally sanctioned. Criticizing the bill’s absurdity, Rose argued that it could be stretched to the point where Danish journalists are targeted for ‘changing a burnt-out lightbulb’ if it is demonstrated that they did so following the advice of foreign intelligence.

Earlier this month, the US, the Netherlands, the UK and several other Western powers accused Russian intelligence services of carrying out cyberattacks against a host of governments and international organizations. Moscow dismissed the claims as paranoid “spy mania.” Denmark’s parliamentary committee for defense head Nasser Khader suggested that Denmark should attack organizations suspected of being affiliated to the Russian government in cyberspace.

See also:

Danish Bill Proposes 12 Years in Prison for ‘Pro-Russia’ Opinion

October 21, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | 2 Comments

Leaked Google Secret Memo Admits Abandonment of Free Speech for ‘Safety And Civility’

Russia Insider | October 18, 2018

Despite leaked video footage showing top executives declaring their intention to ensure that the rise of Trump and the populist movement is just a “blip” in history, Google has repeatedly denied that the political bias of its employees filter into its products.

But the 85-page briefing, titled “The Good Censor,” admits that Google and other tech platforms now “control the majority of online conversations” and have undertaken a “shift towards censorship” in response to unwelcome political events around the world.

<figcaption>Talk about Russian, er, Jewish, meddling in our 'democracy' ... Sergey Brin, Billionaire founder of Google</figcaption>

Talk about Russian, er, Jewish, meddling in our ‘democracy’ … Sergey Brin, Billionaire founder of Google

Examples cited in the document include the 2016 election and the rise of Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) in Germany.

Responding to the leak, an official Google source said the document should be considered internal research, and not an official company position.

The briefing labels the ideal of unfettered free speech on the internet a “utopian narrative” that has been “undermined” by recent global events as well as “bad behavior” on the part of users. It can be read in full below.

It acknowledges that major tech platforms, including Google, Facebook and Twitter initially promised free speech to consumers. “This free speech ideal was instilled in the DNA of the Silicon Valley startups that now control the majority of our online conversations,” says the document.

The briefing argues that Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are caught between two incompatible positions, the “unmediated marketplace of ideas” vs. “well-ordered spaces for safety and civility.”

The first approach is described as a product of the “American tradition” which “prioritizes free speech for democracy, not civility.” The second is described as a product of the “European tradition,” which “favors dignity over liberty and civility over freedom.” The briefing claims that all tech platforms are now moving toward the European tradition.

The briefing associates Google’s new role as the guarantor of “civility” with the categories of “editor” and “publisher.” This is significant, given that Google, YouTube, and other tech giants publicly claim they are not publishers but rather neutral platforms — a categorization that grants them special legal immunities under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Elsewhere in the document, Google admits that Section 230 was designed to ensure they can remain neutral platforms for free expression.

Trump, Conspiracy Theorist

One of the reasons Google identifies for allegedly widespread public disillusionment with internet free speech is that it “breeds conspiracy theories.” The example Google uses? A 2016 tweet from then-candidate Donald Trump, alleging that Google search suppressed negative results about Hillary Clinton.

At the time, Google said that it suppressed negative autocomplete suggestions about everybody, not just Clinton. But it was comparatively easy to find such autocomplete results when searching for Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. Independent research from psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein also shows that Google search results (if not autocomplete results) did indeed favor Clinton in 2016.

Twice in the document, Google juxtaposes a factoid about “Russian interference” in American elections with pictures of Donald Trump. At one point, the document admits that tech platforms are changing their policies to pre-empt congressional action on foreign interference.

The document did not address the fact that, according to leading psychologists, the impact of foreign “bots” and propaganda on social media has a negligible impact on voters.

From Suggestions to Company Policy

It is unclear for whom the “Good Censor” was intended. What is clear, however, is that Google spent (or paid someone to spend) significant time and effort to produce it.

According to the briefing itself, it was the product of an extensive process involving “several layers of research,” including expert interviews with MIT Tech Review editor-in-chief Jason Pontin, Atlantic staff writer Franklin Foer, and academic Kalev Leetaru. 35 cultural observers and 7 cultural leaders from seven countries on five continents were also consulted to produce it.

What is also clear is that many of the briefing’s recommendations are now reflected in the policy of Google and its sibling companies.

For example, the briefing argues that tech companies will have to censor their platforms if they want to “expand globally.” Google is now constructing a censored search engine to gain access to the Chinese market.

The document also bemoans that the internet allows “have a go commenters” (in other words, ordinary people) to compete on a level playing field with “authoritative sources” like the New York Times. Google-owned YouTube now promotes so-called “authoritative sources” in its algorithm. The company did not specifically name which sources it would promote.

Key points in the briefing can be found at the following page numbers:

  • P2 – The briefing states that “users are asking if the openness of the internet should be celebrated after all” and that “free speech has become a social, economic, and political weapon.”
  • P11 – The briefing identifies Breitbart News as the media publication most interested in the topic of free speech.
  • P12 – The briefing says the early free-speech ideals of the internet were “utopian.”
  • P14 – The briefing admits that Google, along with Twitter and Facebook, now “control the majority of online conversations.”
  • P15 – Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is linked to Google’s position as a platform for free expression. Elsewhere in the document (p68), Google and other platforms’ move towards moderation and censorship is associated with the role of “publisher” – which would not be subject to Section 230’s legal protections.
  • PP19-21 – The briefing identifies several factors that allegedly eroded faith in free speech. The election of Donald Trump and alleged Russian involvement is identified as one such factor. The rise of the populist Alternative fur Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) party in Germany – which the briefing falsely smears as “alt-right” – is another.
  • PP26-34 – The briefing explains how “users behaving badly” undermines free speech on the internet and allows “crummy politicians to expand their influence.” The briefing bemoans that “racists, misogynists, and oppressors” are allowed a voice alongside “revolutionaries, whistleblowers, and campaigners.” It warns that users are “keener to transgress moral norms” behind the protection of anonymity.
  • P37 – The briefing acknowledges that China – for which Google has developed a censored search engine – has the worst track record on internet freedom.
  • P45 – After warning about the rise of online hate speech, the briefing approvingly cites Sarah Jeong, infamous for her hate speech against white males (Google is currently facing a lawsuit alleging it discriminates against white males, among other categories).
  • P45 – The briefing bemoans the fact that the internet has until recently been a level playing field, warning that “rational debate is damaged when authoritative voices and ‘have a go’ commentators receive equal weighting.”
  • P49 – The document accuses President Trump of spreading the “conspiracy theory” that Google autocomplete suggestions unfairly favored Hillary Clinton in 2016. (Trump’s suspicions were actually correct – independent research has shown that Google did favor Clinton in 2016).
  • P53 – Free speech platform Gab is identified as a major destination for users who are dissatisfied with censorship on other platforms.
  • P54 – After warning about “harassment” earlier in the document, the briefing approvingly describes a 27,000-strong left-wing social media campaign as a “digital flash mob” engaged in “friendly counter-commenting.”
  • P57 – The document juxtaposes a factoid about Russian election interference with a picture of Donald Trump.
  • P63 – The briefing admits that when Google, GoDaddy and CloudFlare simultaneously withdrew service from website The Daily Stormer, they were “effectively booting it off the internet,” a point also made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the FCC in their subsequent warnings about online censorship.
  • P66-68 – The briefing argues that Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are caught between two incompatible positions, the “unmediated marketplace of ideas” vs. “well-ordered spaces for safety and civility.” The first is described as a product of the “American tradition” which “prioritizes free speech for democracy, not civility.” The second is described as a product of the “European tradition,” which “favors dignity over liberty and civility over freedom.” The briefing claims that all tech platforms are now moving toward the European tradition.
  • P70 – The briefing sums up the reasons for big tech’s “shift towards censorship,” including the need to respond to regulatory demands and “expand globally,” to “monetize content through its organization,” and to “protect advertisers from controversial content, [and] increase revenues.”
  • P74-76 – The briefing warns that concerns about censorship from major tech platforms have spread beyond the right-wing media into the mainstream.

Read The Good Censor in full below. Alternative download option available here.

The Good Censor – GOOGLE LEAK by on Scribd.

October 19, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NPC Memes and Judaic Aniconism

By Gilad Atzmon | October 18, 2018

The mainstream media reported today that Twitter suspended hundreds of accounts after users on the pro-Trump Reddit forum r/The_Donald coordinated efforts to use Twitter to set up ‘Non-Player Character’ (NPC) profiles mocking liberals.

The artistic campaign was born out of their characterisation of liberals as uncritical characters – automatons, name callers not capable of independent authentic thinking.

The BBC reported that within 24 hours there were more than 30,000 uses of the term NPC on Twitter, and Facebook pages dedicated to the trend amassed tens of thousands of followers.

The term NPC is borrowed from the digital games industry. It refers to characters managed by artificial intelligence whose behavior is limited to certain scripted responses and actions.

The NPC meme began as a satirical attempt to ridicule the New Left’s sound-bite, cliched culture. The BBC quoted one poster saying, “If you get in a discussion with them it’s always the same buzzwords and hackneyed arguments…It’s like in a when you accidentally talk to somebody twice and they give you the exact lines word for word once more.”

21st Century Wire’s Patrick Henningsen commented this morning on his Facebook page that “the ‘NPC’ meme is pure art, much more illustrative and reflective than the Pepe meme, and opens a whole new level of social commentary. By definition, this is what art does.”

But for some reason parts of the mainstream media are not enthusiastic about the new artistic adventure. Henningsen continues, “the MSM reaction is telling and so is Twitter’s ban. Ironically, Twitter proves they are ‘NPC’ by banning these memes after decreeing them to be ‘political manipulation’.” According to Henningsen, the recent panic over the NPC meme “… proves the insecurity of the Latte Left, that they can’t even tolerate laconic gamer satire.”

I believe that the negative reaction to the NPC meme is one more piece of evidence of the Judaisation of our social, political and cultural landscape.

Judaism is very strict in its opposition to icons and artistic imagery. The Torah contains a number of verses that specifically prohibit the creation of icons and images. The strongest Judaic anti artistic segment is provided by the second of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” (Exodus 20:3-6)

Why should the Jewish God prevent his most favourite people from exploring the inspirational human facility to create and contemplate artistic beauty? The Almighty’s reasoning is explicit. Because “for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” Pretty scary God that the Jews invented for themselves although he can be kind to those who follow his orders. The Jewish God promises to “ show[ing] love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Judaic aniconism supports a rejection of authentic thinking and doesn’t allow for the possibility of doubt. This restriction is spread throughout the entire Old Testament. The Judaic message is unambivalent – Do not think for yourself, do not be creative or artistic.

Knowingly or not, the ‘NPC’ meme ridicules the Judaization of America and the West. It points at our removal from the Athenian ethos of pluralism, aesthetics and critical thinking. It points at the Jerulamisation of the liberal political discourse, burdening open debate with a tyranny of correctness sustained by strict terminology and a list of the politically correct mitzvoth.

October 18, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Pages purged by Facebook were on blacklist promoted by Washington Post

By Andre Damon  | WSWS | October 13, 2018

Media outlets removed by Facebook on Thursday, in a massive purge of 800 accounts and pages, had previously been targeted in a blacklist of oppositional sites promoted by the Washington Post in November 2016.

The organizations censored by Facebook include The Anti-Media, with 2.1 million followers, The Free Thought Project, with 3.1 million followers, and Counter Current News, with 500,000 followers. All three of these groups had been on the blacklist.

In November 2016, the Washington Post published a puff-piece on a shadowy and up to then largely unknown organization called PropOrNot, which had compiled a list of organizations it claimed were part of a “sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign.”

The Post said the report “identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans.”

The publication of the blacklist drew widespread media condemnation, including from journalists Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald, forcing the Post to publish a partial retraction. The newspaper declared that it “does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet.”

While the individuals behind PropOrNot have not identified themselves, the Washington Post said the group was a “collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.”

PropOrNot, which remains active on Twitter, publicly gloated about Facebook’s removal of the pages on Thursday. “Russian propaganda is VERY VERY MAD about their various front outlets & fellow travellers getting suspended by @Facebook &/or @Twitter,” it wrote. The tweet tagged The Anti Media and The Free Thought Project, and included a Russian flag emoji next to an emoji depicting feces.

PropOrNot did not attempt to reconcile its own narrative that the targeted organizations were front groups for the Kremlin with Facebook’s official claim that they operated independently of any government but sought to “stir up political debate” for financial motives. This is because both accusations are hollow pretexts for political censorship.

In a separate post, PropOrNot added: “Well, look at that… @Facebook removed some of the most important gray/black Russian propaganda outlets from their platform! Bravo @Facebook – better late than never, so a BIG thank you for this.”

It added, ominously: “All of these [organizations] are cross platform & have websites, but one thing at a time.”

These comments by PropOrNot make clear where the censorship measures supervised by the US government and implemented by the internet companies are going. While these organizations still “have websites,” the authorities are handling “one thing at a time.”

The clear implication is that censorship will not end with Google’s manipulation of its search platform or the removal of accounts by Facebook and Twitter. The ultimate aim is the total banning of oppositional news web sites.

The publication of the PropOrNot blacklist and its promotion by the Washington Post helped trigger a wave of censorship measures against oppositional news sites by the major technology companies, working at the instigation of the US intelligence agencies and leading politicians.

Last year, the World Socialist Web Site reported that it an other sites, including Global Research, Counterpunch, Consortium News, WikiLeaks and Truthout, saw their search traffic plunge after search giant Google implemented a change to its search ranking algorithm.

In the subsequent period, search traffic to these sites has fallen even further. Search traffic to Counterpunch has fallen by 39 percent, and Consortium News has fallen by 51 percent.

These developments confirm the analysis made by the World Socialist Web Site in its open letter to Google alleging that it was censoring left-wing, anti-war and socialist websites.

“Censorship on this scale is political blacklisting,” the letter declared. “The obvious intent of Google’s censorship algorithm is to block news that your company does not want reported and to suppress opinions with which you do not agree. Political blacklisting is not a legitimate exercise of whatever may be Google’s prerogatives as a commercial enterprise. It is a gross abuse of monopolistic power. What you are doing is an attack on freedom of speech.”

On Tuesday, Google admitted in an internal document that it and other technology companies had “gradually shifted away from unmediated free speech and towards censorship and moderation.” The document stated that an aim of the censorship was to “increase revenues” under conditions of growing government and commercial pressure.

The document acknowledged that such actions constitute a break with the “American tradition that prioritizes free speech for democracy.”

October 14, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Banned alternative media speak to RT after mass Facebook purge

RT | October 13, 2018

Some 800 anti-establishment accounts and pages have been yanked from Facebook in a sweeping crackdown the social media giant framed as a fight against spammers. RT talked to those who were targeted in the cleansing.

Among the hundreds of pages and accounts Facebook and Twitter took down were those both on the political left and right, ranging from conspiracy theorists and police brutality watchers, to news outlets with non-mainstream angles, While their content could be at times described as controversial, the bulk of the banished pages boasted large followings and outreach.

RT spoke to some of the voices silenced by the Facebook move. Here is what they had to say.

Jason Bassler, The Free Thought Project, 3.1mn followers

The Free Thought Project bills itself as a “hub for free thinking conversations.” Both its Facebook and Twitter accounts were shut down in the pre-midterms purge. Jason Bassler, who co-founded the project in 2013, told RT that what Facebook did is an act of political censorship and has nothing to do with its stated goal to clean up its platform from spam.

“If that was just spam, if that was just irrelevant garbage they wouldn’t be so threatening, they would not ban us, they would not care, we would not have been on their radar.”

By spinning the story as a fight against unworthy news trash, Facebook itself is misleading users with its own version of fake news, he said: “This is nothing more than political censorship and trying to eradicate certain political ideologies.”

Nicholas Bernabe, founder of The Anti-Media, 2.1mn followers

Nicholas Bernabe, blogger and entrepreneur behind the independent news aggregator The Anti-Media, believes that “the most troubling” thing in Facebook’s treatment of media pages is that tech giants are now trying to police cultural dialogue by posing as politically neutral.

“That could actually be perceived as Facebook itself meddling in elections, because we are only a few weeks away from the midterms and they go and target 800 politically-oriented media pages for deletion.”

He added that the majority of the banned pages held “very anti-establishment, very anti-authoritarian views,” that appealed to those whose take on election is very different from what mainstream media has to offer.

Matt Savoy, The Free Thought Project, 3.1mn followers

It is hard to overestimate the implications for those that were swept up in the purge, Matt Savoy of The Free Thought Project said. Many of the affected websites will be out of business and “thousands of people will be out of work.”

“This is like a death blow. Facebook was a source of how we were able to get our links out and drive traffic to the website, and we no longer have it. The few remaining employees that we have, they are going to be gone.”

Journalists did not have any time to prepare for the looming crackdown, Savoy said, and at first the staff thought it was a mere glitch.

Matt Bergman, Punk Rock Libertarians, 190,000 followers

Matt Bergman, who founded the Punk Rock Libertarians in 2010, told RT that his ‘The Daily Liberator’ podcast was taken down from Facebook without any explanation. Bergman’s own account was also briefly suspended, as well as those of other page admins.

The purge is the result of the pressure Congress put on Mark Zuckerberg, and its first targets were independent outlets “right of the dial,” since it’s easier to get away with banning relatively small outlets than major channels like RT, he argued.

“Their terms of service agreement is probably a million words long. Nobody has ever read it all the way through and I would think that if they wanted to they can ban CNN, they can ban you guys, if they wanted to, they can ban anybody.”

Bergman said he is filing an appeal in a bid to restore the account.

Dan Dicks, Investigative Journalist, 350,000 followers

Vancouver-based investigative journalist Dan Dicks, who writes for The Press for Truth, said the Facebook crackdown was “clearly political” as it saw tech companies assuming the role of “the gatekeepers of political thought.”

“What we are dealing with here today is the silencing of anybody who goes against the status quo right now, does not matter right or left side of the political spectrum.”

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, expunged from Facebook and Twitter, might have been “the first domino to fall,” but now the crackdown has widened to affect smaller outlets that vie for minds of the people on par with mainstream media, he said.

The crackdown on anti-establishment voices will come back to bite Facebook, UK Labour Party activist and political theorist Dr. Richard Barbrook argued.

Facebook and other tech companies who feel compelled to impose more “traditional media censorship” are likely to see a mass exodus from their platforms, he believes.

“The problem is if they are doing it too much, people would be gone somewhere else, where they don’t have network effects working against them,” Barbrook told RT.

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