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WHO Initiative Would ‘Promote Desired Behaviors’ by Surveilling Social Media

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | May 30, 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) is proposing a set of recommendations for “social listening surveillance systems” designed to address what it describes as a “health threat” posed by online “misinformation.”

The WHO’s Preparedness and Resilience for Emerging Threats (PRET) initiative claims “misinformation” has resulted in an “infodemic” that poses a threat — even in instances where the information is “accurate.”

PRET has raised eyebrows, at a time when the WHO’s member states are engaged in negotiations on two controversial instruments: the “pandemic treaty” and amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR).

The latest draft of the pandemic treaty contains language on how WHO member states would commit to “social listening.” Under article 18(b), WHO member states would commit to:

“Conduct regular community outreach, social listening, and periodic analysis and consultations with civil society organization and media outlets to identify the prevalence and profiles of misinformation, which contribute to design communications and messaging strategies for the public to counteract misinformation, disinformation and false news, thereby strengthening public trust and promoting adherence to public health and social measures.”

Remarking on PRET’s “social listening” proposals, Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D., author of “Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom” and a former New York University liberal studies professor, told The Defender :

“The WHO’s PRET initiative is part of the UN’s attempt to institute global ‘medical’ tyranny using surveillance, ‘social listening’ and censorship. PRET is the technocratic arm of the WHO’s proposed pandemic treaty, which, if accepted by nation-states, would amount to the surrendering of national and individual sovereignty to this ‘global governance’ body.

“What better way to establish a one-world government than by using so-called global crises that must be addressed by nothing short of ‘global governance’? I remind readers that you cannot comply your way out of tyranny.”

WHO could use artificial intelligence to monitor social media conversations

A WHO document outlining the PRET initiative — “Module 1: Planning for respiratory pathogen pandemics, Version 1.0” — contains a definition of infodemic:

“Infodemic is the overabundance of information — accurate or not — which makes it difficult for individuals to adopt behaviors that will protect their health and the health of their families and communities.

“The infodemic can directly impact health, hamper the implementation of public health countermeasures and undermine trust and social cohesiveness.”

The document recommends that in response to the “infodemic,” countries should “incorporate the latest tools and approaches for shared learning and collective action established during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to the WHO document, this can be done if governments “establish and invest in resources for social listening surveillance systems and capacities to identify concerns as well as rumors and misinformation.”

Such resources include “new tools and approaches for social listening … using new technologies such as artificial intelligence to listen to population concerns on social media.”

According to the document:

“To build trust, it’s important to be responsive to needs and concerns, to relay timely information, and to train leaders and HCWs [healthcare workers] in risk communications principles and encourage their application.”

Risk communications “should be tailored to the community of interest, focusing on and prioritizing vulnerable groups,” the WHO said.

“Tailored” communication was a hallmark of public health efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, in November 2021, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Social Science Research Council launched the Mercury Project, which aimed “to increase uptake of COVID-19 vaccines and other recommended public health measures by countering mis- and disinformation” — in part by studying “differential impacts across socio-demographic groups.”

Similarly, PRET states that it will “incorporate the latest tools and approaches for shared learning and collective action established during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

These “tools and approaches” could be deployed during “acute respiratory events,” according to the document, which recommends that governments:

“Develop and implement communication and behavior change strategies based on infodemic insights, and test them during acute respiratory events including seasonal influenza.

“This includes implementing infodemic management across sectors, and having a coordinated approach with other actors, including academia, civil society, and international agencies.”

This is not the first time the WHO has addressed the so-called “infodemic.”

A WHO review published Sept. 1, 2022, titled “Infodemics and health misinformation: a systematic review of reviews,” found that “infodemics and misinformation … often negatively impact people’s mental health and increase vaccine hesitancy, and can delay the provision of health care.”

In the review, the WHO concluded that “infodemics” can be addressed by “developing legal policies, creating and promoting awareness campaigns, improving health-related content in mass media and increasing people’s digital and health literacy.”

And a separate, undated WHO document advises the public on how we can “flatten the infodemic curve.”

WHO, Google announce collaboration targeting ‘medical misinformation’

The WHO’s PRET proposals coincided with a new multi-year collaboration agreement with Google for the provision of “credible health-related information to help billions of people around the world respond to emerging and future public health issues.”

The agreement was announced on May 23 by Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google’s chief health officer, on the company’s blog. She wrote:

“Information is a critical determinant of health. Getting the right information, at the right time can lead to better health outcomes for all. We saw this firsthand with the COVID-19 pandemic when it was difficult for people worldwide to find useful information online.

“We worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) on a range of efforts to help people make informed decisions about their health — from an SOS alert to surfacing locally relevant content about COVID-19 to YouTube policies on medical misinformation.”

One way Google will collaborate with the WHO is through the creation of more “knowledge panels” that will prominently appear in search results for health-related questions on the platform.

“Each day people come to Google Search looking for trustworthy information on various health conditions and symptoms,” DeSalvo wrote. “To help them access trustworthy information our Knowledge Panels cite content from reliable sources covering hundreds of conditions from the common cold to anxiety.”

“Working closely with WHO, we’ll soon expand to cover more conditions such as COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], hypertension, type 2 diabetes, Mpox, Ebola, depressive disorder, malaria and more,” she added.

Google will make these Knowledge Panels available in several languages, including English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

DeSalvo’s May 23 post also addressed an ongoing collaboration between Google and the WHO, Open Health Stack (OHS), which “help[s] accelerate the digital transformation of health systems around the world” and “lower[s] the barrier to equitable healthcare.”

Google also awarded the WHO with more than $320 million “in donated Google Search advertising via ad grants” allowing the agency “to publish health topics beyond COVID-19, such as Mpox, mental health, flu, Ebola, and natural disasters.”

Google is slated to provide an additional $50 million in ad grants to the WHO this year.

According to Google, the ad grants to the WHO represent the company’s largest such donation to a single organization.

Separately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tweeted on May 22 about the agency’s own efforts at combating purported “misinformation” and “disinformation.”

The tweet contains a 35-second video, which claims “misinformation” travels “six times faster than the facts,” while promoting the FDA’s “Rumor Control” initiative.

A top priority of FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf, “Rumor Control” was launched in August 2022 and joins other agency initiatives to fight “misinformation” and “disinformation.”

“The growing spread of rumors, misinformation and disinformation about science, medicine, and the FDA, is putting patients and consumers at risk,” according to the FDA’s Rumor Control webpage. “We’re here to provide the facts.”

The initiative asks the public to do “three easy things” to “stop rumors from spreading”: “don’t believe the rumors,” “don’t pass them along” and “get health information from trusted sources like the FDA and our government partners.”

“Rumor Control” appears to have been inspired by an initiative developed by the Virality Project, “a coalition of research entities” from six institutions “focused on supporting real-time information exchange between the research community, public health officials, government agencies, civil society organizations, and social media platforms.”

Documents released as part of the “Twitter files” in March revealed that the Virality Project, based out of the Stanford Internet Observatory, also called for the creation of a disinformation board just one day before Biden announced plans to launch his government-run Disinformation Governance Board.

Similar to PRET’s recommendations to target “accurate” information that nevertheless contradicts establishment public health narratives, the Virality Project worked with Twitter and other social media platforms, recommending they “take action even against ‘stories of true vaccine side effects’ and ‘true posts which could fuel hesitancy.’”

These censorship efforts included at least one tweet by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman on leave of Children’s Health Defense.

Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., based in Athens, Greece, is a senior reporter for The Defender and part of the rotation of hosts for CHD.TV’s “Good Morning CHD.”

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.

June 2, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | Leave a comment

Google Renews Its Partnership With The WHO

By Cindy Harper | Reclaim The Net | May 25, 2023

Google has renewed its partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide what it calls “factual” information about different diseases and conditions. The partnership is positioned as a way to combat what it says is the spread of medical “misinformation” observed during the pandemic.

On Google search, there are already Knowledge Panels at the top of results when users search for certain conditions and diseases.

Soon, the Knowledge Panels will include more conditions and illnesses like depressive disorder, Ebola, COPD, malaria, hypertension, diabetes, Mpox, and others, all using information verified by the WHO.

In a previous partnership, Google awarded more than $320 million to the WHO in Ad Grants to help spread its medical information. In the new partnership, Google awarded the global public health organization an additional $50 million to continue the efforts.

The WHO has been criticized more in frequent years for calling for censorship while itself putting out information during the pandemic that turned out to ultimately be untrue.

Google’s YouTube was criticized for censoring anything that went against the WHO during the pandemic, even if independent commentators ended up being correct.

May 25, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

EU demands more online censorship

RT | April 25, 2023

The European Commission has designated 19 online platforms under its Digital Services Act, a move that opens them up to hefty fines if they target advertisements at certain users, publish illegal content, or fail to “address the spread of disinformation.”

In an announcement on Tuesday, the commission named 17 “Very Large Online Platforms” and two “Very Large Online Search Engines,” defined as those reaching at least 45 million monthly active users. Among the platforms cited are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, while Google and Microsoft’s Bing are the two designated search engines.

The decision means that as of August, these platforms must be in compliance with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), a wide-ranging piece of legislation that came into force in November.

To avoid fines of up to 6% of their global annual turnover, the commission stated that these platforms must label all advertisements as such and avoid targeting ads at users based on “sensitive data” such as their ethnicity, sexuality, or political orientation.

Targeting ads toward children will no longer be permitted, and platforms will have to “redesign their systems to ensure a high level of privacy, security, and safety of minors,” the commission said.

Regarding content moderation, platforms will be required to restrict the “dissemination of illegal content” and “address the spread of disinformation.” The entire text of the DSA mentions the word “disinformation” 13 times without defining it. Free speech activists have argued that the term is often used by governments to silence factually correct yet politically inconvenient narratives.

The commission also warned that platforms and search engines will need to address “negative effects on freedom of expression,” a requirement that could clash with the demand to tackle “disinformation.”

While the DSA was being drafted last year, EU officials singled out Twitter as a company that would be forced to comply with its requirements. Immediately after billionaire Elon Musk bought the platform and set about rolling back some of its restrictive speech policies, EU industry chief Thierry Breton declared that “in Europe, the bird will fly by our European rules.”

Two months later, EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova warned that Twitter would face “sanctions” if it breached the DSA. Jourova cited Musk’s banning of several prominent journalists – who shared information on his whereabouts – as potential DSA violations.

April 25, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FBI targeting Russians on Facebook

RT | April 9, 2023

The FBI has launched a social media campaign seeking to convince Russian nationals to provide sensitive information about the activities of their home country’s authorities, Fox News reported on Friday. The ad, which was first posted in February, was said to have been appearing on Twitter, Facebook and Google.

“Do you want to change your future?” Alan Kohler, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, says in the video shared online. “The FBI values you. The FBI can help you. But only you have the power to take the first step.”

Fox News cited a source as saying that, although the Bureau has run ads targeting Russians in the past, this year it decided that “a video was more effective.”

The FBI’s website encourages Russians willing to offer information to visit the bureau’s main office in Washington, DC, to call the FBI hotline, or to send a message online.

The US stepped up efforts to recruit informants in recent years as Moscow and Washington have been locked in a diplomatic row over Ukraine. In 2019, the Bureau posted a series of ads on Facebook, urging Russians to come forward, although this message, written in Russian, contained typos.

In 2020, the FBI’s online campaign aimed at potential Russian informants included images of popular Soviet actor and singer Vladimir Vysotsky, known for portraying a police detective on screen. The CIA, meanwhile, has been publishing job postings for people who speak Russian.

April 9, 2023 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Google Expands Campaign to ‘Inoculate’ People Against ‘Misinformation,’ But Critics Say It’s All About Money

By Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D. | The Defender | February 22, 2023

Google said last week it plans to expand into Germany its campaign to “inoculate” people against misinformation — as if it were a virus — after seeing “promising results” in Eastern Europe.

The campaign is based on an approach called “prebunking” designed to teach people how to spot false claims before encountering them, thereby “inoculating” them against the “disease” of misinformation “like a vaccine does” against a physical disease, Euronews reported.

The tech giant will release a series of short videos that highlight techniques — such as fear-mongering, scapegoating, false comparisons, exaggeration and missing context — that are commonly used to promote misleading claims.

The videos dissect these different techniques so viewers can more readily recognize them when consuming media.

Proponents of the campaign say it’s an “efficient way to address misinformation at scale.”

But some critics allege Google’s campaign is selectively targeting information related to corporate and government interests and is motivated by money rather than a sincere desire to protect readers from false information.

“They [Google’s leaders] want Google to be what they see as a safe place for advertisers,” said Clayton Morris, a former Fox News anchor who co-hosts the online news show “Redacted.”

Videos to run as ads on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok

Google’s “prebunking” videos will run as advertisements on FacebookYouTube or TikTok in Germany. A similar campaign in India is also in the works, the AP reported.

Last fall, Google ran a test video campaign in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The campaign focused on inoculating viewers against “false claims about Ukrainian refugees” and showed techniques commonly used to support such claims, such as alarming or unfounded stories about refugees committing crimes or taking jobs away from residents.

The AP did not report the specific statements regarding Ukrainian refugees that Google deemed as false.

The videos were viewed 38 million times on Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter.

Researchers said people who viewed the videos were more likely to be able to identify misinformation techniques and less likely to spread false claims than people who hadn’t watched the video.

‘You can think of misinformation as a virus’

Alex Mahadevan, director of MediaWise, a media literacy initiative of the Poynter Institute, told the AP that the strategy was a “pretty efficient way to address misinformation at scale, because you can reach a lot of people while at the same time address a wide range of misinformation.”

In November 2022, Google and YouTube gave the Poynter Institute $13.5 million to strengthen its fact-checking efforts with $12 million earmarked to create a Global Fact Check Fund.

“You can think of misinformation as a virus,” Sander van der Linden, Ph.D., professor of social psychology in society at the University of Cambridge, told the AP. “It spreads. It lingers. It can make people act in certain ways.”

It also sometimes needs a periodic “booster,” according to the AP, because the effects of the videos eventually wear off.

Van der Linden assisted Google in developing its prebunking campaign and is presently advising Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, the AP said.

Google announced its expanded campaign just before the Feb. 17 start of the Munich Security Conference.

According to the AP, the timing of the announcement reflected the heightened concerns of government officials and tech companies regarding the impact of misinformation.

“There’s a real appetite for solutions,” Beth Goldberg, head of research and development at Jigsaw, a unit of Google that “explores threats to open societies,” told the AP. “Using ads as a vehicle to counter a disinformation technique is pretty novel. And we’re excited about the results.”

Google has not announced plans to expand its campaign to the U.S., so it remains unknown if and when the California-based company will apply its misinformation prebunking tactics on its home turf.

‘Prebunking’ campaign more about promoting ‘corporate and government interests,’ say critics

Commenting on Google’s latest announcement, “Redacted” co-host Natali Morris said, “It’s clear the corporate idea of disinformation is really only related to corporate and government interests — not at all to human interest.”

The topics addressed by Google’s misinformation campaign, such as COVID-19 and climate change, are topics “that will either give governments or corporations more power,” Natali said.

Meanwhile, other topics of human interest — such as child trafficking — remain untouched by Google, she said.

Clayton Morris, who co-hosts “Redacted” with his wife Natali, said he believed Google’s efforts to fight misinformation are motivated by money.

For example, Clayton said, companies like Pfizer and Moderna spend billions of dollars in advertising and Google wants to be an “advertiser-friendly environment” so it “pushes down” information and opinions that criticize the companies’ pharmaceutical products.

“Imagine if Pfizer execs are sitting there and they’re thinking about where to put their ad dollars and they start seeing Google search results that are like Pfizer this, Pfizer that … that’s why they [Google] downrank all of this stuff to push that stuff away and they continue to make their good ad revenue,” he said.

Now the pharmaceutical companies don’t even have to produce ads anymore because Google is essentially doing it for them, Natali added.

“Imagine what a prebunking video would look like around a COVID vaccine,” she said.

Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D., is a reporter and researcher for The Defender based in Fairfield, Iowa. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (2021), and a master’s degree in communication and leadership from Gonzaga University (2015). Her scholarship has been published in Health Communication. She has taught at various academic institutions in the United States and is fluent in Spanish.

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.

February 23, 2023 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Gmail’s Czech Election Campaign Interference

By Přemysl Janýr | February 5, 2023

On 18 January, a few days before the presidential election, I received an email from a non-political group of friends with an anti-Babiš pamphlet. I replied with an anti-Petr picture that I had received shortly before. Out of a group of forty recipients, seven emails were returned to me as undeliverable because “This message does not pass authentication checks” (SPF and DKIM both 5.7.26 do not pass).

This has never happened to me in decades of assiduous email communication. From time to time some mail is undeliverable, the address no longer exists, it has overflowed, etc., but so far no one has ever blocked the delivery of my message and withal to such an extent. I checked all seven error messages, all of them addresses. So a few minutes later I sent out another email to the group informing that was blocking Petr Pavel’s picture. It was delivered to all of them, including the seven.

So the difference in deliverability was clearly not related to authentication requirements, but to Petr Pavel’s picture. I pasted it directly into the email body without any comment, not as an attachment. I don’t know how long it had been circulating on the Internet, but knew it, recognizes it in emails by the content, and takes it into account in its algorithms to determine which messages to deliver to its clients and which to hide from them. Gmail is owned by the US corporation Google. And since Czech elections have to be irrelevant to it from a business point of view, it is obviously accommodating other entities for which they are not irrelevant. Of course, someone familiar with the Czech conditions had to evaluate Petr Pavel’s picture for them.

Mail, like a letter or any verbal or telephone conversation, is a private communication between two or more persons. The censorship of content described is analogous to the post office unsealing letters and deciding whether to deliver them based on their content. Or to a telephone provider listening to what you are talking about and cutting the connection if the subject matter is inappropriate. According to Czech law, it is a criminal offence.

This is compounded by the delicate fact that our private communications concerned electoral preferences, and that was apparently disturbed not by a pamphlet disparaging Andrej Babiš, but by a picture disparaging Petr Pavel. This corresponds to a manipulation of the Czech election campaign by a foreign entity in favour of one of the candidates. And if we consider that Google offers not only an e-mail server, but also a virtually monopolistic search portal and a number of other services used by Czech citizens, it can covertly influence electoral preferences to a considerable extent. Even this is a criminal offence.

On the same day, I filed a criminal complaint with the prosecutor and a notification of election manipulation with the Ministry of the Interior. I published both submissions, including the suppressed image, in a posting on my blog and sent out a notice to my readers with a link, but forgot to release the posting before doing so. The notifications reached all recipients without any problems.

In no time, the first responded that the posting was unavailable. I immediately corrected that and sent out the notification again with an apology. Twenty addresses on denied the delivery. I sent another email to those affected informing them that they had not received the link to the posting together with a link to my blog where they could find it. It went through to all twenty.

Thus over a course of hours, I‘ve accumulated a lot of material to analyze. In the first case, recognized the suppressed image in the message body. In the second, it had to double-check the contained link and determine that the image was located at the destination address.

A statistical recap:

– I sent a total of 220 emails to recipients on 90 of them contained the suppressed image or a link to the posting where it was used.

– Of the emails with the image or link, 27 were undeliverable.

– All emails without the image or link, including those to “undeliverable” addresses, were delivered without issue.

Thus, the dependence of delivery on content is evident, but at the same time, also delivered most of the emails with a link to my posting. So how is the decision actually made?

I sent out the notification in five batch emails. So I listed the recipients and marked those undelivered. In fact, the censorship affected only one of the five emails and consistently blocked all twenty addresses contained. So apparently the censorship check is done randomly. If I add the original email with the picture, which just as consistently blocked all of the addresses, only two, or one-third, of the six emails were censored. So if you get mail returned to a recipient on with the reasoning that it doesn’t meet the authentication requirements, it will probably bypass censorship when resent.

If the reader is communicating with friends about topics that may contain a critical political charge, I can only recommend that he use a mail server other than Out of over a hundred servers, it is the only one I have encountered this behavior on.

February 5, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

After Twitter revelations, Rep. Comer says Google and Facebook need to be investigated for similar censorship collusion

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | December 18, 2022

Commenting on the recent  Files’ revelation of the FBI’s constant communication with Twitter, including recommending account bans, Republican Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee Rep. James Comer said investigations should go beyond Twitter to Google and .

“The entire FBI needs to be dismantled, we need to start all over. We need to enact strict reforms, and there need to be checks and balances at the FBI,” Comer said, speaking to Tammy Bruce on Fox News’ Hannity. He added that fixing and holding the FBI accountable should start with the budget process, which is why he is against the push for an omnibus.

“My concern was that this was a rogue FBI employee or two…but what we found today is the FBI had its own ministry of propaganda,” Comer continued.

“This is serious. What else are they involved in at the FBI? The entire FBI needs to be dismantled. We need to start all over. We need to enact strict reforms and there need to be checks and balances at the FBI.”

Bruce then asked, “I trust, though, that you are going to expand this beyond Twitter. You mentioned Google, you mentioned, perhaps, Facebook… are you going to expand and include those platforms, which we also know, at least from he too was contacted by the FBI. I think we only know a portion of that. Are you going to expand this investigation?”

The Republican lawmaker, set to chair the Oversight Committee starting in January, replied: “Yes. This is going to take several committees focusing a lot of attention. Big tech is going to be a priority for the Republican majority…”

He added that “the FBI was involved in censorship… they have stepped in where the government does not belong. And this has to end. People have to be held accountable and we’re going to have to start with the budget, that’s what is so frustrating about what’s going on right now in Washington.”

December 19, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

YouTube censors RT Balkans

RT | December 6, 2022

YouTube, the Google-owned video platform has blocked the channel of Belgrade-based RT Balkans. No explanation was given for Monday’s move, which came about three weeks after the launch of the Serbian-language outlet in a region saturated by Western media coverage.

RT Balkans reported the ban on Monday evening, pointing out that the most recent video posted on the channel was their interview with the Russian ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko.

“Why are owners of the Western media space so afraid of RT’s Serbian-language reporting?” the outlet asked. “Their move mainly speaks about the lack of media freedom in the West, especially since the posts on your YouTube channel in no way violated the company’s rules of conduct.”

The Serbian-language news site was launched on November 15, with plans to begin TV broadcasts by 2024. It was able to open a YouTube account and post content even though the Google-owned platform had previously banned all “Russian” media.

Enacted in March, the ban followed demands by the EU to block RT and Sputnik channels in the bloc’s territory. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos in May, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki explained the platform had created a new policy regarding “verified violent events,” which puts “denial or trivialization” of the conflict in Ukraine in the same category as denying the Holocaust.

Meanwhile, YouTube continued to operate in Russia so that its citizens could have access to “independent news,” she said, adding that one of the lessons of the conflict in Ukraine is that “information can be weaponized.”

RT sued YouTube in May. In October, an arbitration court in Moscow ruled that video platform must unblock RT’s accounts or face a daily fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,694), doubling every week. The same court had frozen Google’s assets in Russia, valued at 500 million rubles ($8.4 million), to ensure the verdict could be enforced.

December 7, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Musk Promises to Make ‘Alternative Phone’ If Twitter Gets Removed From App Stores

Samizdat – 26.11.2022

WASHINGTON – Twitter’s new owner, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, says he will create a new smartphone if the social network is removed from the Apple and Google app stores.

“I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone,” Musk tweeted on Friday, in response to a user’s suggestion that Musk should produce his own phone instead of the “biased, snooping iPhone and Android,” if the Twitter app becomes unavailable on them.

On October 28, Musk finalized the acquisition of Twitter, which cost him $44 billion. Following the takeover, Musk changed the company’s day-to-day operations, including the termination of Twitter’s executives, who were responsible for the platform’s privacy and cybersecurity, as well as regular Twitter employees. The significant policy changes have caused a wave of concern.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing market research data, that more than one-third of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers had stopped putting ads on the social media platform in the two weeks following Musk’s takeover of the company.

Earlier this month, Twitter unblocked former US President Donald Trump’s account, banned after the January 6, 2021 events at the US Capitol, as the majority of participants in a survey conducted by Musk voted in favor of the measure.

Musk has promised that Twitter will reinstate blocked accounts after the majority of users voted for “general amnesty.”

November 26, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Name-Calling, ‘Fact-Checking’ and Censorship in the Covid Era


One novel feature of the pandemic, from the standpoint of public debate, is the fact that so much name-calling, ‘fact-checking’ and censorship was aimed not just at random dissidents but at credentialed scientists.

Academics who’d reached esteemed positions within their field were denounced as ‘Covid deniers’, accused of spreading ‘misinformation’, and subjected to multiple forms of censorship.

Renowned scholars had warning labels attached to their tweets, and found their articles blacklisted on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. In one particularly egregious case, the Great Barrington Declaration was downranked by Google, so that when users searched for it, articles critical of the Declaration appeared above the Declaration itself.

Somehow, Big Tech firms felt they were in position to adjudicate complex scientific debates. This would be like two scientists having an argument at speaker’s corner in Hyde Park, but the groundskeeper keeps blasting an airhorn every time one of them speaks.

And it wasn’t just Big Tech that restricted one side’s freedom of speech. Academics who questioned the mainstream view on Covid faced sanctions from their universities, journals and professional associations.

In a recent paper, Yaffa Shir-Raz and colleagues analysed the tactics that were used against dissenting scientists, based on semi-structured interviews with some of the targets. Their findings have already been summarised by Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson, but it’s worth pulling out a few anecdotes from the paper.

One interviewee recounted that he/she was even censored on Google docs – a program for creating documents and spreadsheets (like Microsoft Office):

Google Docs started restricting and censoring my ability to share documents… This is not Twitter throwing me off like they did. This is an organisation telling me that I cannot send a private communication to a colleague or to a friend, or to a family member.

Another interviewee explained that his/her employment contract was re-written after he/she deviated from the narrative:

They offered me a new contract… we got some new terms for you, because my old contract was not restricted. The new one basically had like seven or eight restrictions of my First Amendment rights… basically I couldn’t talk to the press, I couldn’t speak in public… unless I said, these are my opinions not that of my employer… It was a relatively short conversation. I said that’s never going to happen, I’m never going to sign that thing.

A third interviewee described how he/she was cancelled by several organisations without any due process:

There was a whole series of actions taken again with no due process and no explanation… I received a notice from the [medical association] that I was being stripped from a committee position… I received a letter from a journal…where I was the Editor-in-Chief, being stripped of the editorship, again with no due process, no phone calls no, tractable explanation… I received a letter from the National Institutes of Health being stripped from a longstanding committee position.

Remember, these were all “established doctors and scientists”, not foreign spies engaged in subversion.

The point isn’t that dissenting scientists were right about everything (although they were right about a lot). It’s that we can’t have a proper debate if one side faces a barrage of name-calling, ‘fact-checking’ and censorship. Enforcing a narrative around Covid shouldn’t be the role of Big Tech companies. And it certainly shouldn’t be the role of academic institutions.

November 13, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US agencies working directly with Big Tech to police Internet content

By Drago Bosnic | November 1, 2022

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the United States effectively became a police state. Government control and direct surveillance, the legality of which remains questionable at best, has been the norm ever since. With the advent of new technologies and the expansion of the so-called Big Tech (Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta/Facebook, etc.), the government managed to acquire unprecedented access to the personal information of not just its own citizens, but hundreds of millions of others around the world as well.

For decades, Big Tech denied any involvement with US agencies, despite it being common knowledge for the vast majority of users. However, the level of cooperation and integration between the US government and the aforementioned Internet giants (all of which are private companies) has been truly staggering.

Back in August, while on the Joe Rogan podcast, Meta/Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the FBI worked with the company to suppress so-called “Russian propaganda” shortly before the Hunter Biden laptop scandal was published by the New York Post. However, new reports now indicate that this Big Tech-US government collusion goes much deeper, according to the leaked documents acquired by The Intercept. Their investigation revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is “quietly broadening control over speech it considers dangerous.” Years of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents — obtained via leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents — illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms.

According to the report, the work, much of which remains unknown to the American public, came into clearer view earlier this year when DHS announced a new “Disinformation Governance Board”, a panel designed to police misinformation (false information spread unintentionally), disinformation (false information spread intentionally), and malinformation (factual information shared, typically out of context, with harmful intent) that allegedly threatens US interests. While the board was widely ridiculed, immediately scaled back, and then shut down within a few months, other initiatives are underway as DHS pivots to monitoring social media now that its original mandate — the war on terror — has been wound down.

Behind closed doors, and through pressure on private platforms, the US government has used its power to try to shape online discourse. According to meeting minutes and other records appended to a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican who is also running for Senate, discussions have ranged from the scale and scope of government intervention in online discourse to the mechanics of streamlining takedown requests for false or intentionally misleading information, The Intercept reports.

During a March 2022 meeting, FBI official Laura Dehmlow warned that the “threat of subversive information on social media” could undermine support for the US government – stressing that “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.” Interestingly, Dehmlow’s insistence on preventing the fall of support for the US government is clearly a priority over telling the truth. What’s more, the US agencies seem to have a strict bias towards certain power structures within the US establishment, primarily those dominated by the DNC neoliberals and partially the GOP neoconservatives. This was particularly noticeable during Donald Trump’s presidency, when undermining the 45th US president through disinformation and conspiracy theories such as the alleged “Russian election meddling” wasn’t seen as a “threat to our democracy”.

Expectedly, the Big Tech companies denied involvement. Twitter told The Intercept that they “do not coordinate with other entities when making content moderation decisions” and that they “independently evaluate content in line with the Twitter Rules.” However, the claim doesn’t seem very convincing given the sheer amount of coordinated efforts by the Big Tech companies (seemingly unrelated, as they are all officially separate private entities) to suppress so-called MDM (misinformation, disinformation, malinformation). Having every Big Tech corporation banning or restricting millions of users in a virtually identical manner can only be described as a cooperative effort directed by the same authority. The Intercept report indicates that this authority is none other than the US government itself.

The issue at hand is the fact that various interest groups within the US establishment are controlling what hundreds of millions of people get to see as the “undeniable truth”, or worse yet, billions when taking the global scale into account. Whether it’s the election meddling designed to push their preferred candidates or promoting wars around the world, these entities should be denied such a tremendous amount of power.

The so-called “struggle against MDM (misinformation, disinformation, malinformation)” has become the No. 1 pretext to suppress any information deemed as such. This has gone so far that private companies are now fining their customers, with PayPal deducting $2500 from anyone’s account for “spreading MDM”. It’s clear that such a level of control is quite uncomfortable, to say the least. The question is, where does it stop?

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

November 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

RT wins court case against Google

Samizdat | October 4, 2022

Google has been ordered by Moscow’s arbitration court to restore RT’s YouTube channels, which were blocked by the tech giant following the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

The decision was announced on Tuesday as the court found in favor of ANO TV-Novosti, RT’s founding company, against Google LLC, Google Ireland Limited and the Russian Google division. They have been ordered to restore access to some 27 blocked channels.

If they fail to do so, a court penalty of 100,000 rubles per day ($1,694) will be imposed on Google until access to all of the channels is restored. Every week, the amount of the daily penalty will double.

Google now has 30 days to appeal the court’s verdict.

The lawsuit against Google was filed back in May when the court, at RT’s request, took interim measures to “make sure it is possible to enforce the judicial act” against the company and seized all financial assets and movable and immovable property of the tech giant’s Russian division to the value of 500 million rubles ($8.4 million).

Similar amounts have also been seized from the company in two other pending lawsuits filed by Russian television companies NTV and the GPM Entertainment Television, which have also had their content blocked on YouTube.

YouTube administrators restricted access to all RT and RTD channels in early March, shortly after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine.

According to a March report from Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media watchdog, there have been some 54 cases of YouTube restricting content belonging to Russian channels.

Following the launch of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, Western governments and private tech companies began a censorship campaign against Russian media they deem to be ‘state-controlled’. The European Union completely banned RT and Sputnik from its airwaves. RT America was forced to cease operations amid US sanctions on Moscow, while Google removed RT’s and Sputnik’s apps from its Play Store, and YouTube blocked access to all of the broadcasters’ channels.

October 4, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 5 Comments