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Battlefield Social Media: The West’s Growing Censorship

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 08.10.2020

Censorship in the West flourishes as tech giants turn social media back into traditional programmed media.

The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union are fond of passing judgement on nations around the globe regarding “free speech.”

While it is increasingly clear to a growing number of people that this “concern” is disingenuous and aimed at merely defending agitators funded and directed by Western special interests in these targeted nations, the West still likes to fashion itself as a sort of champion of free speech.

Yet back home the Internet has been taken over by social media and tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Their platforms clearly serve as online public squares where everything is discussed and even election campaigns play out. Yet these companies have, over the years, begun to eliminate voices of dissent against a notion known as “consensus.”

If you are speaking out against “consensus” you are in real danger of disappearing from these platforms. Some of these platforms, like Google-owned YouTube, serve as the livelihood to people who have for years built up their audiences, produced hundreds of videos and when their accounts are deleted for speaking out against the “consensus,” they have their livelihoods destroyed.

In the wake of these incremental “purges” is a chilling effect with content creators self-censoring or even withdrawing entirely from Western social media.

It is the sort of very real censorship the West has crusaded against in fiction around the globe for decades.

Consensus or Else 

A more recent example is Google’s decision to ban ad revenue for those going against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) “consensus.”

CNBC in their story “Google will ban ads from running on stories spreading debunked coronavirus conspiracy theories,” would claim:

Google next month will ban publishers from using its ad platform to show advertisements next to content that promotes conspiracy theories about COVID-19. It will also ban ads that promote those theories. In cases where a particular site publishes a certain threshold of material that violates these policies, it will ban the entire site from using its ad platforms.

Those “conspiracy theories” might include questioning the official death rates of COVID-19. Yet even the British government itself has been recently forced to investigate its statistics regarding death rates, vindicating the very sort of people who would have been either forced into silence or forced to give up ad revenue.

The London Guardian in its article, “Matt Hancock orders urgent review of PHE Covid-19 death figures,” would admit:

The UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, is ordering an urgent review of the daily COVID-19 death statistics produced by Public Health England, after it emerged that they may include recovered former sufferers who could have died of other causes.

False reporting over deaths to hype COVID-19, induce greater public panic and pave the way for billions in government handouts to pharmaceutical giants is at the very core of many of these so-called “conspiracy theories” Google seeks to silence through its campaign of financial coercion.

Imagine if this chilling effect was achieved sooner. Would the British government have even bothered investigating its faulty statistics if there weren’t people suspicious of them?

The chilling effect this has over openly discussing something as serious as COVID-19 considering its socioeconomic impact is truly alarming and much more so because it is happening in the so-called “free world” overseen by its self-appointed arbitrators in the US, UK and EU.

A similar campaign was carried out to purge Google, Twitter and Facebook of anyone allegedly connected with “Russia” who also so happened to be anti-war and anti-NATO for waging those wars.

Entire lists are compiled by Western government-funded organizations which are then submitted to these tech giants for purging. The Western media writes accompanying articles announcing, justifying and spinning the purges… but also sending a warning to those left about what is and isn’t going to be tolerated on these platforms.

Social Media Transforming Back into Programmed Media 

Content creators are faced with two decisions; to either self-censor themselves to protect their work, their audiences and their livelihood, or to accept the possibility they will eventually be “purged” (censored) and need to rebuild their audiences from scratch on platforms with far fewer potential readers, viewers and patrons.

Social media, of course, is no longer social media in this sort of environment, but more akin to the sort of programmed media giant Western special interests built their power on over the course of the 20th and early 21st century.

Private Public Squares? 

Of course the defense is that Google, Facebook and Twitter are “private companies”and can do as they please with their platforms. In reality, these companies work in tandem with Western governments whether it is fomenting political destabilization abroad or creating “concensus” at home.

The notion that censorship is “OK” because the US, UK and EU governments launder it through private companies ignores the close relationship these companies have with the government and how their platforms have been transformed into de facto public squares and critical channels of public communication and participation.

The West’s growing overt censorship leaves it with a choice; to either accept that it is in reality as guilty of censorship and manipulating the public as it has claimed its opponents are, or continue pretending it isn’t but at the continued cost of its legitimacy upon the global stage.

There is a very good reason the West is in decline around the globe and why its attempts to leverage notions like “human rights” and “free speech” against nations like China or Russia are increasingly impotent. That reason can be found, at least in part, among the growing number of purge lists, censorship campaigns and calls for “consensus” across Western social media.

Finally, the increasingly overt nature of censorship and controlled narratives promoted by tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter should have them facing restrictions and bans around the globe. Why should any nation host a “public square” where discourse is entirely controlled by interests oceans away? Why shouldn’t a local alternative be created instead where the revenue is kept locally and if narratives are to be controlled, controlled in a way that best suits people locally?

It is ironic that, China for example, is condemned for not allowing Google, Facebook and Twitter to operate freely within their information space because it is a violation of “free speech,” even as Google, Facebook and Twitter cudgel free speech on their own respective platforms.

How much longer will the world tolerate these double standards? How long until individuals, organizations and even entire nations begin creating alternatives to Google, Facebook and Twitter to at the very least balance out the lopsided power and influence they have collectively accrued and abused?

October 8, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Israel wages War on Palestinian History

By Jonathan Cook – The National – August 21, 2020

When the Palestinian actor Mohammed Bakri made a documentary about Jenin in 2002 – filming immediately after the Israeli army had completed rampaging through the West Bank city, leaving death and destruction in its wake – he chose an unusual narrator for the opening scene: a mute Palestinian youth.

Jenin had been sealed off from the world for nearly three weeks as the Israeli army razed the neighbouring refugee camp and terrorised its population.

Bakri’s film Jenin, Jenin shows the young man hurrying silently between wrecked buildings, using his nervous body to illustrate where Israeli soldiers shot Palestinians and where bulldozers collapsed homes, sometimes on their inhabitants.

It was not hard to infer Bakri’s larger meaning: when it comes to their own story, Palestinians are denied a voice. They are silent witnesses to their own and their people’s suffering and abuse.

The irony is that Bakri has faced just such a fate himself since Jenin, Jenin was released 18 years ago. Today, little is remembered of his film, or the shocking crimes it recorded, except for the endless legal battles to keep it off screens.

Bakri has been tied up in Israel’s courts ever since, accused of defaming the soldiers who carried out the attack. He has paid a high personal price. Death threats, loss of work and endless legal bills that have near-bankrupted him. A verdict in the latest suit against him – this time backed by the Israeli attorney general – is expected in the next few weeks.

Bakri is a particularly prominent victim of Israel’s long-running war on Palestinian history. But there are innumerable other examples.

For decades many hundreds of Palestinian residents in the southern West Bank have been fighting their expulsion as Israeli officials characterise them as “squatters”. According to Israel, the Palestinians are nomads who recklessly built homes on land they seized inside an army firing zone.

The villagers’ counter-claims were ignored until the truth was unearthed recently in Israel’s archives.

These Palestinian communities are, in fact, marked on maps predating Israel. Official Israeli documents presented in court last month show that Ariel Sharon, a general-turned-politician, devised a policy of establishing firing zones in the occupied territories to justify mass evictions of Palestinians like these communities in the Hebron Hills.

The residents are fortunate that their claims have been officially verified, even if they still depend on uncertain justice from an Israeli occupiers’ court.

Israel’s archives are being hurriedly sealed up precisely to prevent any danger that records might confirm long-sidelined and discounted Palestinian history.

Last month Israel’s state comptroller, a watchdog body, revealed that more than one million archived documents were still inaccessible, even though they had passed their declassification date. Nonetheless, some have slipped through the net.

The archives have, for example, confirmed some of the large-scale massacres of Palestinian civilians carried out in 1948 – the year Israel was established by dispossessing Palestinians of their homeland.

In one such massacre at Dawaymeh, near where Palestinians are today fighting against their expulsion from the firing zone, hundreds were executed, even as they offered no resistance, to encourage the wider population to flee.

Other files have corroborated Palestinian claims that Israel destroyed more than 500 Palestinian villages during a wave of mass expulsions that same year to dissuade the refugees from trying to return.

Official documents have disproved, too, Israel’s claim that it pleaded with the 750,000 Palestinian refugees to return home. In fact, as the archives reveal, Israel obscured its role in the ethnic cleansing of 1948 by inventing a cover story that it was Arab leaders who commanded Palestinians to leave.

The battle to eradicate Palestinian history does not just take place in the courts and archives. It begins in Israeli schools.

A new study by Avner Ben-Amos, a history professor at Tel Aviv University, shows that Israeli pupils learn almost nothing truthful about the occupation, even though many will soon enforce it as soldiers in a supposedly “moral” army that rules over Palestinians.

Maps in geography textbooks strip out the so-called “Green Line” – the borders demarcating the occupied territories – to present a Greater Israel long desired by the settlers. History and civics classes evade all discussion of the occupation, human rights violations, the role of international law, or apartheid-like local laws that treat Palestinians differently from Jewish settlers living illegally next door.

Instead, the West Bank is known by the Biblical names of “Judea and Samaria”, and its occupation in 1967 is referred to as a “liberation”.

Sadly, Israel’s erasure of Palestinians and their history is echoed outside by digital behemoths such as Google and Apple.

Palestinian solidarity activists have spent years battling to get both platforms to include hundreds of Palestinian communities in the West Bank missed off their maps, under the hashtag #HeresMyVillage. Illegal Jewish settlements, meanwhile, are prioritised on these digital maps.

Another campaign, #ShowTheWall, has lobbied the tech giants to mark on their maps the path of Israel’s 700-kilometre-long steel and concrete barrier, effectively used by Israel to annex occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law.

And last month Palestinian groups launched yet another campaign, #GoogleMapsPalestine, demanding that the occupied territories be labelled “Palestine”, not just the West Bank and Gaza. The UN recognised the state of Palestine back in 2012, but Google and Apple refused to follow suit.

Palestinians rightly argue that these firms are replicating the kind of disappearance of Palestinians familiar from Israeli textbooks, and that they uphold “mapping segregation” that mirrors Israel’s apartheid laws in the occupied territories.

Today’s crimes of occupation – house demolitions, arrests of activists and children, violence from soldiers, and settlement expansion – are being documented by Israel, just as its earlier crimes were.

Future historians may one day unearth those papers from the Israeli archives and learn the truth. That Israeli policies were not driven, as Israel claims now, by security concerns, but by a colonial desire to destroy Palestinian society and pressure Palestinians to leave their homeland, to be replaced by Jews.

The lessons for future researchers will be no different from the lessons learnt by their predecessors, who discovered the 1948 documents.

But in truth, we do not need to wait all those years hence. We can understand what is happening to Palestinians right now – simply by refusing to conspire in their silencing. It is time to listen.

August 22, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Managing the Narrative

Corporations and government use internet to control information

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • August 18, 2020

Some Americans continue to believe that when they go to the internet they will get a free flow of useful information that will guide them in making decisions or coming to conclusions about the state of the world. That conceit might have been true to an extent twenty years ago, but the growth and consolidation of corporate information management firms has instead limited access to material that it does not approve of, thereby successfully shaping the political and economic environment to conform with their own interests. Facebook, Google and other news and social networking sites now all have advisory panels that are authorized to ban content and limit access by members. This de facto censorship is particularly evident when using the internet information “search” sites themselves, a “service” that is dominated by Google. Ron Unz has observed how when the CEO of Google Sundar Pichai faced congressional scrutiny on July 29th together with other high-tech executives, the questioning was hardly rigorous and no one even asked how the sites are regulated to promote certain information that is approved of while suppressing views or sources that are considered to be undesirable.

The “information” sites generally get a free pass from government scrutiny because they are useful to those who run the country from Washington and Wall Street. That the internet is a national security issue was clearly demonstrated when the Barack Obama Administration sought to develop a switch that could be used to “kill it” in the event of a national crisis. No politician or corporate chief executive wants to get on the bad side of Big Tech and find his or her name largely eliminated from online searches, or, alternatively, coming up all too frequently with negative connotations.

Google, for example, ranks the information that it displays so it can favor certain points of view and dismiss others. Generally speaking, progressive sites are favored and conservative sites are relegated to the bottom of the search with the expectation that they will not be visited. In late July, investigative journalists noted that Google was apparently testing its technical ability to blacklist conservative media on its search engine which processes more than 3.5 billion online searches every day, comprising 94 percent of internet searching. Sites targeted and made to effectively disappear from results included NewsBusters, the Washington Free Beacon, The Blaze, Townhall, The Daily Wire, PragerU, LifeNews, Project Veritas, Judicial Watch, The Resurgent, Breitbart, Drudge, Unz, the Media Research Center and CNSNews. All the sites affected are considered to be politically conservative and no progressive or liberal sites were included.

One has to suspect that the tech companies like Google are working hand-in-hand with some regulators within the Trump administration to “purge” the internet, primarily by removing foreign competition both in hardware and software from countries like China. This will give the ostensibly U.S. companies monopoly status and will also allow the government to have sufficient leverage to control the message. If this process continues, the internet itself will become nationally or regionally controlled and will inevitably cease to be a vehicle for free exchange of views. Recent steps taken by the U.S. to block Huawei 5G technology and also force the sale of sites like TikTok have been explained as “national security” issues, but they are more likely designed to control aspects of the internet.

Washington is also again beating the familiar drum that Russia is interfering in American politics, with an eye on the upcoming election. Last week saw the released of a 77 page report produced by the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) on Russian internet based news and opinion sources that allegedly are guilty of spreading disinformation and propaganda on behalf of the Kremlin. It is entitled “Understanding Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem” and has a lead paragraph asserting that “Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem is the collection of official, proxy, and unattributed communication channels and platforms that Russia uses to create and amplify false narratives.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, The New York Times is hot on the trail of Russian malfeasance, describing the report and its conclusions in a lengthy article “State Dept. Traces Russian Disinformation Links” that appeared on August 5th.

The government report identifies a number of online sites that it claims are actively involved in the “disinformation” effort. The Times article focuses on one site in particular, describing how “The report states that the Strategic Culture Foundation [website] is directed by Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the S.V.R., and stands as ‘a prime example of longstanding Russian tactics to conceal direct state involvement in disinformation and propaganda outlets.’ The organization publishes a wide variety of fringe voices and conspiracy theories in English, while trying to obscure its Russian government sponsorship.” It also quotes Lea Gabrielle, the GEC Director, who explained that “The Kremlin bears direct responsibility for cultivating these tactics and platforms as part of its approach of using information and disinformation as a weapon.”

As Russia has been falsely accused of supporting the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the existence of alternative news sites funded wholly or in part by a foreign government is not ipso facto an act of war, it is interesting to note the “evidence” that The Times provides based on its own investigation to suggest that Moscow is about to disrupt the upcoming election. It is: “Absent from the report is any mention of how one of the writers for the Strategic Culture Foundation weighed in this spring on a Democratic primary race in New York. The writer, Michael Averko, published articles on the foundation’s website and in a local publication in Westchester County, N.Y., attacking Evelyn N. Farkas, a former Obama administration official who was running for Congress. In recent weeks, the F.B.I. questioned Mr. Averko about the Strategic Culture Foundation and its ties to Russia. While those attacks did not have a decisive effect on the election, they showed Moscow’s continuing efforts to influence votes in the United States…”

Excuse me, but someone writing for an alternative website with relatively low readership criticizing a candidate for congress does not equate to the Kremlin’s interfering in an American election. Also, the claim that the Strategic Culture Foundation is a disinformation mechanism is overwrought. Yes, the site is located in Moscow and it may have some government support but it features numerous American and European contributors in addition to Russians. I have been writing for the site for nearly three years and I know many of the other Americans who also do so. We are generally speaking antiwar and often critical of U.S. foreign policy but the contributors include conservatives like myself, libertarians and progressives and we write on all kinds of subjects.

And here is the interesting part: not one of us has ever been told what to write. Not one of us has ever even had a suggestion coming from Moscow on a good topic for an article. Not one of us has ever had an article or headline changed or altered by an editor. Putting on my ex-intelligence officer hat for a moment, that is no way to run an influencing or disinformation operation intended to subvert an election. Sure, Russia has a point of view on the upcoming election and its managed media outlets will reflect that bias but the sweeping allegations are nonsense, particularly in an election that will include billions of dollars in real disinformation coming from the Democratic and Republican parties.

Putting together what you no longer can find when you search the internet with government attempts to suppress alternative news sites one has to conclude that we Americans are in the middle of an information war. Who controls the narrative controls the people, or so it seems. It is a dangerous development, particularly at a time when no one knows whom to trust and what to believe. How it will play out between now and the November election is anyone’s guess.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

August 18, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Media Falsely Claim Ethiopian Climate Crisis as Crop Yields Set Records

By H. Sterling Burnett | ClimateREALISM | August 10, 2020

Among the top Google News search results today for “climate change,” an article at Insider.com claims “food insecurity from climate change” is “pushing millions of people into cities.” In reality, Ethiopian crop yields are enjoying consistent, impressive gains, and are setting new records virtually every year. Also, Ethiopia’s rural population is growing, not shrinking, as higher crop yields support more farmers and more food production. The Insider.com article being promoted by Google is a perfect example of the dishonest claims made by proponents of the Climate Delusion.

The Insider.com article, titled “Climate change is pushing millions of people into cities like Addis Ababa. Here’s what rapid urbanization looks like in the Ethiopian capital,” asserts that World Health Organization predictions of a growing Ethiopian urban population prove that climate change is devastating crop production and driving people into cities. But that is faulty logic that defies objective reality. In reality, Ethiopia is benefiting from increasing food production and rapid economic growth in its cities. This economic growth is not forcing people away from the farms, but rather enticing many Ethiopians into cities with better paying jobs and the cultural and social attractions of urban life.

Data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), charted below, show remarkable growth in Ethiopian crop yields as the Earth continues its modest warming. Crop yields per acre are currently 80 percent higher than just a decade ago, and double what they were in the year 2000.

Moreover, the FAO reports that fully half the Ethiopian population was undernourished in the year 2000, while less than 20 percent of the population is undernourished today.

It is amazing that a “news” article at Insider.com can paint this spectacular crop growth and beneficial improvement in nutrition as “food insecurity from climate change.”

About the only thing that is true in the Insider.com article is that Ethiopia is experiencing dramatic urban population growth. However, it is a lie that the urban growth is being caused by climate change destabilizing food production and forcing people into cities. According to the FAO, Ethiopia’s urban areas have added 13 million people since the year 2000. However, Ethiopia’s rural areas have added 28 million people since the year 2000. Ethiopia’s urban and rural areas are gaining population – with rural areas experiencing the largest growth – as increasing crop yields sustain more population and bring more wealth to the nation’s people.

World Bank economic data illustrate this. Per the World Bank:

“Ethiopia’s economy experienced strong, broad-based growth averaging 9.9 percent a year from 2007/08 to 2017/18, compared to a regional average of 5.4%. … Industry, mainly construction, and services accounted for most of the growth. … Higher economic growth brought with it positive trends in poverty reduction in both urban and rural areas. The share of the population living below the national poverty line decreased from 30% in 2011 to 24% in 2016.”

In summary, Ethiopia is enjoying spectacular gains in crop yields that are supporting a rapidly growing population and dramatic growth in both urban and rural populations. The growth in Ethiopia’s urban population is clearly and inarguably a result of spectacular increases in food production and a wealthier population rather than mythical food insecurity. But the easily discernible and reassuring truth doesn’t promote climate alarmism. Therefore, the media lie and invent a false narrative.

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

The Pharmaceutical Narrative is Failing

By Bretigne Shaffer – LewRockwell.com – August 7, 2020

So now we don’t have to listen to what those doctors said in front of the US Supreme Court, because it turns out that one of them has some whacky beliefs about sex with demons causing reproductive disorders. What a relief.

I’m not going to pretend that the things Dr. Stella Immanuel has said don’t sound just a little crazy to me. They do. But I’ve been observing this game long enough to have a pretty good idea of how this works:

Someone says something that contradicts the dominant narrative (in this case, the narrative about medical science), and the machine that supports that narrative goes into overdrive to discredit them, with whatever information they can dig up–as long as it doesn’t involve discussing the actual substance of what the person has said.

I understand that for some people, maybe even for a great many, that is the end of the conversation. So for everyone who is satisfied with the “fringe doctors promoting hydroxychloroquine also believe demon sex causes fybroids” narrative–please, stop here. Your ride is over, and you may go on believing that this group of doctors and other professionals has been thoroughly discredited by these statements.

For everyone else, if you are at all interested in why such a coordinated effort has been launched to silence and discredit this group, why–even before the sex demon stuff was uncovered–videos of the group’s press conference were quickly yanked from YouTube, and why their own website was taken down without warning by its host, SquareSpace, (their new website can now be found here) then please keep reading.

WHAT THE AMERICA’S FRONTLINE DOCTORS GROUP SAID:

What follows is a brief summary of the key points made by the group America’s Frontline Doctors at their press conference last week. I will not comment on the validity of their claims, however founder Dr. Simone Gold has provided support for much of what the group said, in a white paper that can be found here.

1. They believe that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for Covid-19.

This is the claim made by several of the speakers, including Dr. Immanuel, based on their own clinical experience, as well as on multiple published studies. Many of those studies are listed here, and here.

2. State licensing boards are using their power to forcibly prevent people from having access to this drug.

According to Dr. Gold, many states have empowered their pharmacists to not honor prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine to be used in treating Covid-19. This, she says, is unprecedented: “It has never happened that a state has threatened a doctor for prescribing a universally accepted safe generic cheap drug off-label.”

Meanwhile, says Gold, the drug is available over the counter in many other countries, including Iran and Indonesia, where it can be found “in the vitamin section”.

3. There is a coordinated campaign to discredit and suppress information about the drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for Covid-19:

“If it seems like there is an orchestrated attack going on against hydroxychloroquine,” said Dr. James Todaro, “it’s because there is.”

Dr. Todaro is speaking from experience. He was the co-author of a March 13 white paper arguing for the use of hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19. The paper was made public on Google Docs, received a lot of attention, and was then removed–without warning–by Google. (It has since been put back up.)

4. The World Health Organization (the authority upon which YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has said she bases her company’s policy on “misinformation”) halted its trials of hydroxychloroquine based on a blatantly fraudulent study that relied on data that it appears never even existed. The WHO later resumed trials after independent investigators discovered the problems and the study’s authors retracted it.

5. We should be able to have a free and open discussion about this.

Dr. Dr. Joseph Lapado from UCLA, sums it up:

We’ve been using (hydroxychloroquine) for a long time. But all of a sudden it’s been escalated to this area of looking like some poisonous drug. That just doesn’t make sense… At the very least, we can live in a world where there are differences of opinion about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, but still allow more data to come, still allow physicians who feel they have expertise with it to use that medication, and still, you know, talk and learn and get better at helping people with Covid-19.

WHY THE ALL-OUT MEDIA ASSAULT ON THE FRONTLINE DOCTORS?:

The influence that the pharmaceutical industry wields over media outlets is no secret. As of 2018, an estimated 70% of all news advertising in the US came from pharmaceutical companies. I have written elsewhere about how “reporting” on medical issues can be difficult to distinguish from outright marketing for drug companies.

Social-media platforms are not immune to this influence, whether it comes via advertising dollars; “partnerships” such as that between the CDC Foundation and MailChimp (which like many other platforms, has an explicit policy of censoring content about vaccines that does not align with the positions of the CDC and the WHO); direct investment, such as that of Google’s parent company Alphabet; or indeed at the behest of politicians such as Congressman Adam Schiff, who last year wrote to the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook and Google, requesting that those companies censor information and products that did not conform to the officially sanctioned position on vaccines. All three complied.

So it should come as small surprise that both Google and YouTube have now taken to removing content supportive of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is no longer covered by patent, and can be made and sold by any generic producer, for a fraction of the price that Gilead, for example, might charge for its still-patented Remdesivir. Twitter and Facebook have likewise removed posts about the drug, most notably–and with no visible sense of irony–removing posts of the video in which the Frontline Doctors speak out about widespread media censorship of the topic. (You can now see those videos on Bitchute.)

One need not have an opinion on the merits of the drug hydroxychloroquine in order to recognize that something very odd is happening here. Something that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with free and open inquiry or honest scientific discourse.

Many argue that the politicization of this drug is founded in a desire to unseat President Trump, that the opposition to it is primarily because it was endorsed by Trump, and if it is deemed to be a failure (or even better, dangerous to patients) it will be a powerful strike against the president. That may well be part of what has motivated this. But there is another motivation, having to do with the desire to push a more expensive medication onto the market, and to push a new vaccine on the world’s population.

More broadly, it has to do with the narrative that those in the business of selling drugs demand we believe: that we are all in desperate need of their products (but only the ones still under patent) if we are to be healthy–or indeed, if we are to survive at all.

If it turns out that this “new” virus is easily treatable, with hydroxychloroquine or anything else, then the industry’s dreams go up in smoke. If hydroxychloroquine turns out to be a safe and effective way of treating Covid-19 (as multiple studies and the experience in many other countries outside of the US indicate it may be) then there is much less reason for anyone to receive a vaccine for it, let alone the entire world’s population. Likewise, there is no pressing need to develop a new, more expensive treatment.

But even more than that: If it turns out that hydroxychloroquine is after all a safe and effective treatment for Covid-19, then this whole episode – the silencing of dissenting voices, the “fact-checking” on social media, the campaigns against “misinformation” – will be revealed in plain sight, for what it has always been: Nothing more than a well-funded marketing campaign and damage-control effort on behalf of the industry that wants you to believe that you need to use its expensive products in order to go on living.

So when a group of doctors took to the steps of the US Supreme Court and told the world how they were having success using a cheap anti-malarial that had been in use for 65 years to treat the most deadly contagion of our generation, it was a massive blow to the narrative upon which the pharmaceutical purveyors’ success depends. And over the next few days, as viewers engaged in a race with the censors, quickly downloading videos before they were removed, to post them on other platforms… it became clear that the censors and the gatekeepers had lost control of the conversation.

This is not only about hydroxychloroquine. Every time media outlets or social-media platforms engage in outright censorship of content, in a way that happens to benefit pharmaceutical companies, both parties lose just a little more credibility. The actions we are witnessing now are not the actions of an industry confident in the value of what it provides to the world. They are the actions of a desperate, threatened creature. They are the actions of an entity that is not strengthened by the truth, but weakened by it. That is what these (increasingly obvious) acts of censorship tell us. What we are witnessing are the pangs of a lumbering, wounded, behemoth.

August 7, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

Just a glitch? Google hides conservative & alt-media websites from search results for hours

RT | July 21, 2020

Google excluded major conservative and alt-media outlets from its search results for hours, hiding hits for sites like Breitbart and RedState even in searches for the outlets’ names – only to mysteriously revert to normal later.

Conservative sites were in a panic Tuesday morning, reporting they seemed to have been blacklisted from Google. Articles and pages published by PJ Media, Daily Caller, The Blaze, and many other sites were absent even from searches for the publication name, replaced by links to Wikipedia and other sites talking about the outlet in question – usually negatively.

While most of the affected sites hailed from the right side of the political spectrum, leftist sites whose views don’t conform to prevailing orthodoxy also appeared to fall victim to the purge. Mediaite’s Charlie Nash posted a screenshot of a Google search for MintPress News that included no hits from the left-leaning antiwar outlet, while another commenter noted Occupy Democrats was MIA.

Google was quick with the damage control, announcing it was “investigating this and any potentially related issues.” The search giant described the problem as if it was merely an issue with one specific search command rather than a politically-specific problem that somehow left establishment-friendly media alone.

After a few hours, searches were working normally again. However, those affected had their own suspicions about why this extremely specific search plague might have hit “wrongthink” websites all at once.

Perhaps realizing that simply returning the news sites to their rightful place in search results wouldn’t silence critics, Google later released a statement acknowledging “an issue that impacted some navigational and site: operator searches.” However, they denied any “particular sites or political ideologies” were targeted.

Project Veritas, one of the sites affected by the search blackout, interviewed a Google whistleblower last year who revealed the company has multiple “blacklists” for both YouTube and regular web search, one of which includes many of the sites that went missing on Tuesday.

Additionally, internal Google communications from 2016 show employees considered burying or blocking search results from conservative outlets in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s electoral victory, specifically naming the Daily Caller and Breitbart – both of which were affected by the temporary blackout. While it eventually opted to run “fact-checks” next to conservative articles instead, that program was short-lived, having been quietly discontinued after its many shortcomings were exposed by the right-leaning outlets it invariably targeted. The “fact-checks” sometimes critiqued statements the original articles had not even made, and occasionally ran alongside unrelated articles.

As November’s elections loom, Google and other tech firms are likely scrambling to prevent a rerun of 2016. With 88 percent of US search engine market share, Google’s results will figure heavily in the information American voters can access in the next few months.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Calls for Google to put Palestine back on the map

MEMO | July 21, 2020

Pro-Palestine activists have launched an online campaign calling on Google and Apple to put Palestine back on their maps, accusing the internet giants of trying to erase Palestinian identity and changing facts to suit American and Israeli objectives.

“According to Google, Palestine does not exist,” a change.org petition with over one million signatories says.

“Whether intentionally or otherwise, Google is making itself complicit in the Israeli government’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine.”

Google has been replacing the names of Palestinian towns and villages with Israeli names, leading to fears that the search engine is normalising Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank in line with US President Donald Trump’s controversial ‘peace plan‘.

“The omission of Palestine is a grievous insult to the people of Palestine and undermines the efforts of the millions of people who are involved in the campaign to secure Palestinian independence and freedom from Israeli occupation and oppression,” the petition adds, calling on Google to “clearly designate and identify the Palestinian territories illegally occupied by Israel.”

July 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Not Fact Checkers

By Iain | In This Together | February 28, 2020

Fact Checkers claim they check facts for you, so you don’t have to. The dictionary definition of a fact is:

“Something that is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information”

The legal definition of a fact is:

“An actual and absolute reality, as distinguished from mere supposition or opinion; a truth, as distinguished from fiction or error.”

Like reality and truth, a fact is absolute. It never changes, it is immutable and eternal. Our understanding of the facts may differ because we only have the available evidence to inform our knowledge of the facts. The availability of evidence is vital if we are to have any hope of knowing the facts. Our access to evidence doesn’t change the facts, it merely limits or expands our knowledge of them.

The definition of knowledge is:

“[Noun]… awareness, understanding, or information that has been obtained by experience or study, and that is either in a person’s mind or possessed by people generally.”

Vital Access to Information

Access to information is the key component for developing knowledge of the facts. Knowledge doesn’t mean we always get the facts right, but we have no chance if information is limited or deliberately restricted.

Some facts are relatively easy to understand. The boiling point of water is a fact we can physically measure with consistent results. Others are more difficult to know and therefore less certain from our perspective. For example, history comprises of nothing other than facts but for us to know what they are we need to sift through the evidence, some reliable some not, to build our knowledge of the historical facts.

The same is true with current affairs and public issues. The facts are fixed but our knowledge of them is determined by our access to information. Information is subject to many competing forces. Censorship, propaganda, commercial interest, fabrication, omission and basic human error all combine to distort, obfuscate or over emphasise information (evidence). This makes knowing the facts about contemporary public issues just as tricky as knowing the historical facts, often more so.

Fortunately, we can all employ critical thinking skills, cross reference the evidence from various sources and decide the facts for ourselves. Thanks to the current iteration of the internet, the logical pursuit of information, forming our own balanced judgments of the facts, has never been more accessible for ordinary folk. The process called thinking is the service the fact checkers are selling.

Fact checkers claim their knowledge of the information (evidence), which identifies fact, is both complete and indisputable. They are certain about what happened, thoroughly understand all the relevant circumstances, have a complete grasp of reality, knowledge of all the relevant information and are accurately able to determine what is fact.

In short, they say they possess the truth. If you disagree with them, you don’t know the truth and are therefore wrong, regardless of the evidence you cite.

If you rely upon the fact checkers for your facts you must accept this. You no longer need to think critically or examine the evidence yourself. The fact checkers will do the hard work for you. They will tell you what the information is, give you your knowledge and cement the facts in your mind. All you need do is “Google it.”

What Do Fact Checkers Do?

The State has decided people are incapable of critical thinking and can’t tell the difference between facts and disinformation. Further, they propose legislation that will fundamentally change the nature of the internet. It is in this political environment that fact checkers have been commissioned to discern the facts and present the truth to the confused public.

In 2014 there were just 44 Fact checkers worldwide. As of June 2019 there were 188. While the whole of Africa, Asia, Australasia and South America have 67 fact checkers between them, the much smaller geographical and less populated regions of Europe and North America have 121. So there must be more incorrect information in the U.S. and Europe than anywhere else in the world.

Fact Checking is a rapidly changing startup industry. In 2014 nearly 90% of Fact Checkers were directly funded by mainstream media corporations. Today that figure has dropped to just 56% with many more claiming they are independent. We are going to look at how independent they are.

Some independent fact checkers, such as the UK’s Full Fact, have been given charity status. The UK Charity commission accepted Full Fact’s charitable purpose:

“To provide free tools, advice, and information so that anyone can check the claims we hear about public issues.”

Fact Checking?

Fact Checkers make money by fact checking for multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), wealthy charitable foundations and the mainstream media. Global corporations, notably the tech giants, are under considerable political pressure to employ fact checkers and devise ways of stopping the spread of so called disinformation. Disinformation being anything that questions official narratives.

Recently Facebook announced that its subsidiary Instagram was working with fact checkers to deploy a rating system. They will apply a rating “label” to all information as either true, partly false or false. Information rated as partly false or false will then be removed from search results and associated hashtags denied. Once the label is activated Facebook and Instagram bots seek out all “matching” content and label it accordingly. Thus effectively removing the offending information from the public domain.

The public will then be redirected to the correct information:

“… If something is rated false or partly false on Facebook, starting today we’ll automatically label identical content if it is posted on Instagram (and vice versa). The label will link out to the rating from the fact-checker and provide links to articles from credible sources that debunk the claim(s) made in the post.”

“Credible sources”, as far as most International Fact Checking Network (IFCN) fact checkers are concerned, often means the mainstream media (MSM) who they cite while seemingly oblivious to the MSM’s never ending stream of fake news.

Independent Fact Checkers?

For fact checkers to have any credibility they need to be scrupulously unbiased, thoroughly independent and as objective as possible. Any evidence that they are not means they are not fact checkers at all but rather political organizations that offer an opinion. If they are paid by people or groups with clear agendas then they have no credibility and everything they say needs to be treated with caution. We would still need to exercise due diligence and examine the evidence ourselves to establish if the fact checkers opinions are indeed facts.

When the UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office established the Open Information Partnership (the Expose Network) they suggested their network of actors use approved fact checking services, such as Full Fact in the UK, who are members of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Network (IFCN). Poynter’s major funders include the Charles Koch Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Omidyar Network (Luminate), Google and the Open Society Foundation.

Therefore it is a fact that the IFCN, the “official” trade organisation for “approved” fact checkers, is funded by, among others, the multinational corporation Koch Industries, the C.I.A (NED), globalist venture capitalists (Omidyar), aggressive internet monopolists (Google) and globalist currency speculator & social change agent George Soros (Open Society). Nearly all of the fact checking signatories to the IFCN code have similar agenda driven backers. Members include Politifact, Full Fact, StopFake and AP Fact Check, to name but a few.

Full Fact, for example, list their corporate members to include the City of London Corporation (the UK financial sector and a global center for international finance), the global corporate law firm King & Wood Malleson, St Jame’s Place Wealth Management (a huge global capital investment firm), and the defence contractor Rolls Royce. Their funding partners include Google, The Omidyar Network and the Open Society foundation. They even wrote a policy proposal paper called “Tackling Misinformation In an Open Society.”

Full Fact’s trustees include former BBC Director of News and Current Affairs James Harding. James was responsible for one of the most egregious pieces of fake news war propaganda in modern history when he oversaw production of the BBC’s fake documentary Saving Syria’s Children.

BBC Fake Documentary To Promote War

Chair of the board of trustees is Conservative Party donor Michael Samuel and he is joined by fellow Conservative Lord Inglewood and Labour Peer Baroness Royal. The political establishment is well represented when it comes to making sure we have the right facts.

Another Full Fact trustee is Lord Sharkey Liberal Democrat Peer and former strategic adviser to once UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Clegg joined Facebook in October 2018 to become Facebook Head of Global Affairs. In January 2019 Full Fact became approved third party fact checkers for Facebook and in September 2019 Nick announced that Facebook won’t “fact check” politicians in the same way that it fact checks the general public. Speaking of Facebook’s approach to the political class Clegg said:

“From now on we will treat speech from politicians as newsworthy content that should, as a general rule, be seen and heard.” 

Obviously this carte blanche doesn’t extend to the general public. Presumably because we are all disinformation agents.

Another Full Fact trustee Tim Gordon was also an advisor to Nick Clegg. He co founded Best Practice AI which was the first UK AI firm invited to join the World Economic Forum’s Global AI Council (GAIC). The GAIC bring together representatives from tech giants including Microsoft , IBM and Google’s Chinese division with British government ministers, such as former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright, who attending their council meeting in 2019.

GAIC is one of six WEF global councils focused upon technology and the fourth industrial revolution. Their stated purpose is:

“… to provide policy guidance and address governance gaps.”

So as Full Fact rolls out automated AI fact checking, fully funded by regular WEF attendees Pierre Omidyar and George Soros, with the full support of GAIC members Google, it is good to know these projects are rooted firmly in Full Fact’s independence. As they only report the facts they state on their website:

“Full Fact fights bad information. We’re a team of independent fact checkers and campaigners who find, expose and counter the harm it does.”

“Bad information” is information that questions government policy agendas and harms globalist interests. These interests are defined for government by global institutions like the World Economic forum, where government ministers attend to get their orders. Independent, in Full Fact speak, must mean “employed by global corporations and oligarchs.”

The extensive political, intelligence, non governmental and globalist network steering Full Fact is by no means unique to them. A cursory glance at the supporters of the other fact checking signatories to the IFCN reveal a similar web of globalist and corporate interests in practically every case. The IFCN, and its members, are paid by people with overt political, financial and social agendas. Independence is non existent and consequently the fact checkers claims of objectivity need to be treated accordingly. They have no credibility at all.

Not Fact Checking

Get Your Facts Straight

If fact checkers check facts then you would at least expect them to report the evidence accurately. However, all too often, they don’t. For example, AP Fact Check are IFCN members who report that World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC7) collapsed on September 11th 2001 as a result of fires. This “fact” was first reported by AP Fact Check on 13/06/2017 and remains as their statement of fact today (28/02/2020.)

The engineering department of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) undertook a 4 year long study into the collapse of WTC7. The UAF report is currently open to peer review and cites the evidence it is based upon. It was published in draft form in mid September 2019 and the findings were officially announced at the same time. It categorically states:

“… fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST and private engineering firms that studied the collapse.”

The UAF study represents the most thorough, up to date, scientific analysis of the collapse of WTC7. Incomplete peer review of the UAF report is no reason for AP Fact Check to ignore it. The NIST report, the sole source for the fire collapse theory, has never been peer reviewed. Anyone using AP Fact Check to check the facts about the collapse of WTC7 would be wrong if they believed AP Fact Check. AP Fact Check haven’t got their facts straight.

This is a common problem with so called fact checkers. Due to the political nature of their role, all too often they stray into opinion rather than fact. There’s nothing wrong with that except the fact checkers falsely claim their opinions are facts not opinions. What’s worse is that the Internet is being policed and information censored on the basis that the fact checkers opinions are facts.

In January this year the HighWire released a video which contrasted clips of Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist for the World Health Organisation (W.H.O). The Video was titled “W.H.O. Chief Scientist Caught Lying To The Public.” Their was no commentary in the Highwire video, viewers were simply presented with the two clips of Dr. Swaminathan. It was left to the viewers discretion to decide if they believed Dr. Swaminathan was, in fact, lying.

In the first clip, from an official W.H.O. vaccine promotional video, Dr. Swaminathan states:

“We have vaccine safety systems. Robust vaccine safety systems … [The] WHO works closely with countries to make sure that vaccines can do what they do best: prevent disease without risks.”

The second clip records Dr. Swaminathan’s address to the U.N. Global Vaccine Safety Summit in 2019. She informs the summit:

“… We really don’t have very good safety monitoring systems in many countries…..we’re not able to give clear-cut answers when people ask questions about the deaths that have occurred due to a particular vaccine… One should be able to give a very factual account of what exactly has happened and what the cause of deaths are, but in most cases, there is some obfuscation at that level.”

Creating Truth Policy

These two mutually exclusive statements cannot both be true. If one is, the other is a lie. Vaccines cannot both “prevent disease without risks” while “deaths….have occurred due to a particular vaccine.”  The intention to deceive is an evident fact. Yet Facebook’s automated fact checking labeling system flagged the video as PARTLY FALSE and directed users to two articles from two credible sources which both presented specious, illogical arguments to discredit the factually accurate HighWire video.

In September 2019 climatologists and environmental experts protested to Facebook after its fact checkers labelled the article “The Great Failure of the Climate Models” as ‘FALSE.’ The article was blocked and users could not share it. The information in the article was censored. The article was based upon the work of scientists and statisticians and was factually accurate. Facebook not only labelled the article FALSE they directed readers to a dubious, poorly evidenced source, calling that “credible.”

Facebook removed the FALSE label shortly after receiving the protest letter, without explanation or apology. They clearly accepted their fact checking wasn’t checking any facts at all, simply censoring factually accurate information. However, in the fast paced modern information environment, the damage was done, and the political objective achieved.

This is not fact checking. This is political opinion masquerading as fact checking, deceiving the public into believing something is factually accurate (or inaccurate) when, in fact, it isn’t.

Poynter and the IFCN also confuse their opinion with fact. In May 2019 Poynter were forced to issue an apology, of sorts, to a number of media organisations after they issued an index of ‘unreliable’ media sources. When some of the listed organisations inquired about the basis for Poynter’s unfounded accusations, requesting Poynter and the IFCN provide some evidence to back up their claims, Poynter quickly removed the suggested “blacklist.”

Poynter’s IFCN make a great deal out of their fact checking principles so it’s a shame they didn’t apply any when they issued their blacklist. Poynter’s managing editor, Barbara Allen, said the purpose of the blacklist was as follows:

“… to provide a useful tool for readers to gauge the legitimacy of the information they were consuming… We began an audit to test the accuracy and veracity of the list, and while we feel that many of the sites did have a track record of publishing unreliable information, our review found weaknesses in the methodology. We detected inconsistencies between the findings of the original databases that were the sources for the list and our own rendering of the final report.”

This was tantamount to the IFCN admitting they chose who to put on their blacklist based upon their feelings. When we look at who funds the IFCN it’s pretty clear who those feelings lean towards.

When requested to evidence their decision the IFCN, guardians of the fact checking industry, couldn’t provide any. They had no relevant information, had no evidence to back up their opinion and were simply stating something as a fact when it was nothing of the sort.

Just because an organisation claims they are a fact checker it doesn’t mean they check facts. They are essentially establishment stooges whose role it is to police information and make sure the wider public doesn’t have access to any evidence that challenges official narratives and policy decisions. These fallible groups of people, no better informed than anyone else, are being used by the internet giants, at the behest of government, to censor what we can say online.

Let’s ignore the establishment’s fact checkers and hang on to our critical thinking skills for a while. It looks like we are going to need them more than ever.

July 8, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

SouthFront is Censored under Cover of Pandemic

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | June 8, 2020

Censorship of alternative media is becoming more widespread in the COVID19 era. This article documents the case of SouthFront.

Introducing SouthFront

Where do you find daily news, videos, analysis and maps about the conflict in Syria? Detailed reports about the conflicts in Libya, Yemen and Venezuela? News about the rise of ISIS in Mozambique? Original analysis of events in the US and Russia? SouthFront is the place.

SouthFront is unique and influential, reaching a global audience of hundreds of thousands. They have  opinion articles but their reports and videos are informational and factual. Their website says,

SouthFront focuses on issues of international relations, armed conflicts and crises…. We try to dig out the truth on issues which are barely covered by the states concerned and the mainstream media.

Censorship by Facebook and YouTube

A major disinformation and censorship drive against SouthFront was recently launched. On April 30 the SouthFront Facebook account with about 100,000 subscribers was deleted without warning or notice.

On May 1, SouthFront’s main YouTube account with over 150 thousand subscribers was terminated. The English language channel had 1,900 uploaded videos with 60 million views over the past 5 years.

While the SouthFront website continues as before, the above actions remove important distribution channels which SouthFront has painstakingly built up.

The censorship has been accompanied by a parallel disinformation campaign promoted by corporate, governmental and establishment “think tank” organizations. This is in the context where the US State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) has a direct liaison with Silicon Valley companies and teams focused on “countering the propaganda” from Russia, China and Iran with a current budget of $60 million per year.

In a March 2020 hearing, Senator Chris Murphy (D – Conn) lobbied for increased funding and more censorship. He said, “It’s hard to chase one lie after another. You have to actually go after the source and expose the source as illegitimate or untrustworthy, is that right?” Lea Gabrielle, head of GEC, responded “That’s correct.”

When the Senator says “it’s hard to chase one lie after another,“ he is acknowledging that it’s often hard to show that it’s a lie. Even more so when it is not a lie. It is much easier for the authorities to simply say the source is untrustworthy- or better yet to eliminate them — as they have tried to do with SouthFront.

False Accusations by Facebook

The elimination of SouthFront’s Facebook account was based on a Facebook sponsored investigation titled “April 2020 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report.” The 28 page report says:

We’re constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public debate across our platforms…. We view influence operations as coordinated efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation…. This month we removed eight networks of accounts, Pages and Groups….. Our investigation linked this activity to … two media organizations in Crimea – News Front and SouthFront. We found this network as part of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior.

First, SouthFront is not trying to “manipulate public debate”; they are providing news and information which is difficult, if not impossible, to find elsewhere. It seems to be the censors who are trying to manipulate debate by shutting out some voices.

Second, SouthFront does not have “fake accounts”; they have a public website plus standard social media outlets like Facebook and YouTube (until cancelled). Third, SouthFront has no connection to NewsFront nor operations in Crimea.

NewsFront and SouthFront are completely different organizations. They share the name “Front” but that is irrelevant. Does Facebook confuse the New York Times with Moscow Times? After all, they both have “Times” in their title.

Facebook has shut down SouthFront on the basis of misinformation and smears.

False Accusations by DFRLab

The  Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) was created by the Atlantic Council, a “non partisan organization that galvanizes US global leadership.” It is another organization which is quick to label alternative foreign policy voices as “Russian propaganda.” DFRLab claims to have “operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news”. They reported the censorship of SouthFront with a report titled “Facebook removes Russian propaganda outlet in Ukraine” with subtitle “The social network took down assets connected to NewsFront and SouthFront, propaganda websites supportive of Russian security services.”  They reported that the two “demonstrated a close relationship by liking each other’s pages.” As anyone who uses Facebook is aware, it is common to “like” a wide variety of articles and publications. The suggestion that “liking” an article proves a close relationship is silly.

The DFRLab  report says NewsFront and SouthFront “disseminated pro-Kremlin propaganda in an array of languages, indicating they were attempting to reach a diverse, international audience beyond Russia.”

First, NewsFront and SouthFront are completely distinct and separate organizations. Second, is there anything unusual about a website trying to expand and reach different audiences? Don’t all publications or outlets do that? This is a tactic of the new censors: to portray normal behavior as sinister.

Another censorship tactic is to assert that it is impermissible to question the veracity of certain findings. Thus DFRLab report says NewsFront posted “outright disinformation” when it published a story that “denied the culpability of Russian-backed separatists’ involvement in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines MH-17”. They suggest this proves it is Russian propaganda and false. However, the facts about the downing of MH-17 are widely disputed. For example. one of the foremost American investigative journalists, the late Robert Parry, came to the same conclusion that the MH-17 investigation was manipulated and the shoot-down was probably NOT as portrayed. Parry did many articles on this important event, confirming that it is not “Russian propaganda”.

The Atlantic Council is one of the most influential US “think tanks”. It appears they have created the DFRLab as a propaganda tool to disparage and silence the sources of alternative information and analysis.

Disinformation by European Council “Task Force”   

The goals and priorities of the European Union are set by the European Council. They are also increasingly active in suppressing alternative information and viewpoints.

In 2015 the European Council created an East StratCom Task Force to “address Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns”. Their major project is called EUvsDISINFO. They say, “Using data analysis and media monitoring services in 15 languages, EUvsDISINFO identifies, compiles, and exposes disinformation cases originating in pro-Kremlin media.”

This organization is part of the disinformation campaign against SouthFront. In April 2019 they published an analysis “SouthFront – Russia Hiding Being Russian.” The story falsely claims that SouthFront “attempts to hide the fact it is registered and managed in Russia.” The SouthFront team is international and includes Russians along with numerous other nationalities. Key spokespersons are the Bulgarian, Viktor Stoilov, and an American, Brian Kalman. They do not hide the fact that the website is registered in Russia or that PayPal donations go to an account in Russia. The website is hosted by a service in Holland. It is genuinely international.

EUvsDISINFO demonstrates the disinformation tactic of falsely claiming to have “exposed” something that is “hidden” when it is public information. There is nothing sinister about collaboration between different nationalities including Russia. EUvsDISINFO suggests there are sinister “pro-Kremlin networks.” In reality, SouthFront is a website run by a dedicated and underpaid staff and lots of volunteers. While the European Council gives millions of dollars to EUvsDISINFO, SouthFront operates on a tiny budget without government support from Russia or anywhere else.

False accusations by US Department of Defense

On April 9, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Laura Cooper, spoke at a press briefing. She identifies SouthFront by name and accuses them of “reporting that there actually was no pandemic and that some deaths in Italy might in fact have been from the common flu.”

The first accusation is because of the SouthFront article “Pandemic of Fear.” In contrast with the accusation, the article says, “The COVID-19 outbreak is an apparent threat which cannot be ignored.” The article also discusses the much less reported but widespread pandemic of fear.

The second false accusation is regarding the high death toll in Italy. SouthFront reported the findings of a report from the Italian Ministry of Health which suggested the previous mild winter and flu season had “led to an increase in the pool of those most vulnerable (the elderly and those with chronic illnesses) that can increase the impact of the epidemic COVID-19 on mortality and explain, at least in part, the increased lethality observed in our country.” This is very different than saying the deaths were caused by the common flu. In any case, the findings came directly from Italian health authorities not SouthFront.

In the same press conference, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense says she wishes to “reign in malign actors that are spreading misleading disruptive information”. The censors claim the higher ground but engage in misinformation and falsehoods as they seek to silence discussion and debate.

Conclusion

There is a coordinated effort to manipulate and restrict what the public sees and hears in both North America and Europe. Under the guise of “fact checking” and stopping “Russian propaganda,” the establishment has created private and government sponsored censors to distort and diminish questioning media. They label alternative media “Russian” or “pro Kremlin” even though many of the researchers and writers are from the West and have no connection or dependency on the Russian government.

SouthFront is an example of a media site doing important and original reporting and analysis. It is truly international with offices in several countries. The staff and volunteers include people from four continents. The censorship and vilification they are facing seems to be because they are providing information and analysis which contradicts the western mainstream narrative.

In recent developments, SouthFront is posting videos to a secondary YouTube channel called SouthFront TV. When that was also taken down on May 16, they challenged the ruling and won. The channel was restored with the acknowledgment “We have confirmed that your YouTube account is not in violation of our Terms of Service.”

SouthFront is still trying to have their main channel with 152K subscribers restored. Their Facebook account is still shut down and attempts to disparage their journalism continues. The censorship has escalated during the Covid-19 crisis.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist who has visited Syria several times since 2014. He lives in the SF Bay Area and can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

June 8, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Tech Pandemic

By Leo Goldstein | Watts Up Wth That? | June 8, 2020

Patients in Wuhan, China, are being saved with high-dose vitamin C. In the U.S., you can get your Twitter or Facebook account deleted or your video scrubbed for even talking about it. – American Association of Physicians and Surgeons

The Statistics

Strikingly, the 10 countries with the highest COVID-19 mortality rates are large Western countries, including the US, UK, France, Spain, and Italy. The non-Western country with the highest mortality rate is Ecuador, ranked at #13. Ecuador only has 195 deaths/million, however, compared with the median of around 450 deaths/million in the “top 10”. No Asian countries make the top-20 list despite being close to the epicenter of the epidemic and having high population densities. No African country makes the list despite many having much traffic from China.

Table 1. The 20 countries with the highest COVID-19 mortalities (2020-06-03)

Country Cases/M Deaths/M Population
1 Belgium 5,065 822 11,585,802
2 Spain 6,139 580 46,753,443
3 UK 4,097 580 67,858,826
4 Italy 3,862 555 60,468,295
5 Sweden 4,042 450 10,094,432
6 France 2,319 443 65,262,729
7 Netherlands 2,728 349 17,132,042
8 Ireland 5,081 336 4,933,409
9 USA 5,693 327 330,854,064
10 Channel Islands 3,223 265 173,737
11 Switzerland 3,572 222 8,649,729
12 Canada 2,450 196 37,716,316
13 Ecuador 2,293 195 17,621,217
14 Luxembourg 6,431 176 625,142
15 Brazil 2,628 147 212,442,762
16 Peru 5,310 145 32,934,728
17 Portugal 3,261 142 10,198,850
18 Germany 2,198 104 83,763,806
19 Denmark 2,033 100 5,790,665
20 Iran 1,915 95 83,906,701

Worldometers, 06/03/2020, 9:30 am CT

*Eliminated from the comparison are countries with less than 100k population (San Marino, Sint Maarten, Montserrat, Monaco, Bermuda, Isle of Man, and Andorra).

Possible Explanations

The popular hypotheses, such as the use of anti-malarial drugs in some countries and anti-tuberculosis vaccination of children in others, do not explain these differences.

Chloroquine and similar drugs are not widely used for malaria prevention in India and other malaria-affected countries. Travelers do take anti-malarials for prophylaxis, but locals acquire some immunity from exposure to it in childhood. If they do contract malaria, they are treated with chloroquine or artemisinin combo for a few days. India uses less HCQ per million population than the US.

One observational hypothesis posits that full national anti-tuberculosis vaccination (BCG) correlates with lower COVID-19mortality. BCG is typically given to babies at birth, sometimes with boosters in late childhood. This hypothesis suggests that BCG provides some degree of long-term immunity to COVID-19. Even if there is correlation, however, it is not relevant here. The UK had full BCG from 1953–2005. Belgium had it from about 1953–1995 and France from 1950–2007. Ireland started mandatory BCG vaccination in the 1950s and still has it.

Other factors exist. Less developed countries might not detect and report cases and deaths from COVID-19 as completely as more developed countries. They also have lower ratios of older people and have low urbanization.

Amplifying Factors

On the other hand, population density in the cities of non-Western countries is typically higher than in Western ones. Mumbai has 32 thousand persons per km2, while New York City has just 10,000 persons per km2. People in non-Western countries also tend to have less physical distance between them. There are more persons per area at work and home, and multiple generations often live together in the same households. Even in developed Russia and Ukraine, the typical physical distance between persons is about three times less than in the US, which should translate to a much higher transmission speed, and exponentially higher rates of cases and deaths.

Many non-Western countries also have low hygienic standards. Many suffer from bad nutrition, cold weather, lack of UVB sunlight, and other immunity-compromising factors. Less developed countries also have much lower capacities to hospitalize and treat those who are severely ill.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The top dozen Western countries share another distinguishing factor: information flow dominated by Google, Facebook, Twitter, and their accomplices (here, Masters of the Universe or “MOTUs”). The media are downstream of them, depending on information, clicks, and even cash handouts from them. These companies collaborated with the WHO, spread panic (like Google’s SOS Alert), misled government health agencies and the public about coronavirus mortality (e.g., calling COVID-19 a pandemic was wrong). They have been removing helpful medical advice and even opinions simply because they were not endorsed by the WHO or confused government agencies. Notice that this debate ban prevents scientists and clinicians from communicating helpful information to government agencies, and even communicating among themselves. Many governments censor information, such as the Soviet Union. With all the inferiority of such a model, the Soviet government developed and possessed all the anti-epidemic expertise and capacities it wanted. In the US, most expertise and capacity in this and other fields is with its citizens, from whom the government can receive help and advice when needed. Citizens do provide such help and advice, but the MOTU use their physical control of the communications channels to block and remove information helpful to fight the epidemic. For example, Google blocked access to the scientific paper An Effective Treatment for Coronavirus (COVID-19) by James Todaro and Gregory Rigano, which made a case for CQ and HCQ on March 13–15.

Effects of COVID-19 Misinformation in the US

In the US, most COVID-19 deaths happened in the New York cluster. NYC also spread COVID-19 nationally and internationally. These are some main mistakes made by NYC in handling the epidemic:

  • It blocked early HCQ treatment of COVID-19 victims.
  • It failed to recommend and, where relevant, implement nutritional and environmental mitigation measures to slow the epidemic.
  • It allowed COVID-19 patients to mix with other patients and unprotected healthcare personnel in hospitals.
  • It sent young COVID-19 patients to nursing homes.

None of these mistakes was caused by material factors or a lack of knowledge in the public domain. None of these are obvious only in hindsight. All were caused by incorrect assumptions about COVID-19 and/or by panic, both of which were spread by the MOTUs (General incompetence and the politics of NYC have just aggravated these mistakes, I hope).

The resistance to recommending vitamin C, which was caused by misinformation spread by the MOTU directly and through their proxy “fact-checkers,” is an example of how much damage they inflicted.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has always been recommended as safe and helpful for many health conditions, including the prevention and treatment of respiratory infections. An abundance of evidence and studies supports the use of vitamin C to prevent and alleviate respiratory diseases.

Despite this, in February, the WHO published a Q&A on COVID-19 advising against taking vitamin C, even comparing taking vitamin C to smoking:

“The following measures ARE NOT specifically recommended as 2019-nCoV remedies as they are not effective to protect yourself and can be even harmful:
* Taking vitamin C
* Smoking
* Drinking tradition herbal teas
* Wearing multiple masks to maximize protection
* Taking self-medication such as antibiotics

With all the incompetence and power hunger of the WHO, this is bad copywriting rather than bad judgment. An ordinary person can easily recognize that. However, the MOTU “fact-checkers” interpreted it in the worst conceivable way.

Apparently, it started in the article “These are false cures and fake preventative measures against coronavirus. Help fact-checkers spread the word” (February 13) published by the Poynter Institute (the entity that certifies the fact-checkers used by Google, Facebook, and Microsoft):

Aos Fatos reported that the World Health Organization says on its website that taking vitamin C is not recommended as a way to prevent coronavirus. It is actually dangerous, just like smoking and taking antibiotics without a prescription.

The linked Aos Fatos article did not say that. The Poynter Institute omitted the “not specifically recommended” clause. “Fact-checkers” are in the clickbait business, too. This “advice” went beyond Google and Facebook: the New York Times (NYT) article “Coronavirus Myths” (March 17) said:

You might be tempted to bulk order vitamin C or other supposedly immune-boosting supplements, but their effectiveness is a long-standing fallacy. Even in the cases of colds or flus, vitamin C hasn’t shown a consistent benefit.

Unlike Google, the NYT is supposed to have human editors. Where were they? Its other article with the strange title “Supplements for Coronavirus Probably Won’t Help, and May Harm” (March 23) called vitamin C “a purported immune booster.”USA Today was even worse: “We rate the claim that vitamin C can help cure or prevent the novel coronavirus FALSE because it is not supported by our research”—as if it conducted research.

It seems that Google and Facebook forgot that these fact-checkers were intended as proxies to justify their politically motivated editorializing by pretending it was third-party information. They started using them as authoritative sources. By May 20, it was easier to find “stabilized oxygen” than vitamin C in Google searches including the word COVID-19.

The MOTU financially benefited from their misdeeds. More people were forced to use Facebook, Twitter, Google Docs, YouTube, and Microsoft Skype instead of meeting face-to-face.

Facebook and Twitter Examples

The MOTU have been collaborating and colluding with the WHO to misinform the public and government in the US and other countries since early February. The NYT article “W.H.O. Fights a Pandemic Besides Coronavirus: an ‘Infodemic’” (Feb 6) wrote

Google launched what it calls an “SOS Alert,” which directs people who search for “coronavirus” to news and other information from the W.H.O., including to the organization’s Twitter account . . .

The health agency has worked especially closely with Facebook. The company has used human fact-checkers to flag misinformation, which can come to their attention through computer programs that identify suspicious keywords and trends. Such posts can then be moved down in news feeds, or, in rare cases, removed altogether.

These are some results of this close work. “Coronavirus: World leaders’ posts deleted over fake news” (BBC, 2020-03-31),

Facebook and Twitter have deleted posts from world leaders for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. Facebook deleted a video from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro that claimed hydroxychloroquine was totally effective in treating the virus.

Brazil is the sixth-largest country of the world by population. By that time, the use of CQ or HCQ for COVID-19 had been endorsed to some degree by the governments of China, India, and the US. Did Facebook and Twitter executives think they knew better?

Facebook: Combatting COVID-19 Misinformation

We regularly update the claims that we remove based on guidance from the WHO and other health authorities.

Once a post is rated false by a fact-checker, we reduce its distribution so fewer people see it, and we show strong warning labels and notifications to people who still come across it, try to share it or already have.

Facebook: An Update on Our Work

Informing People Who Interacted With Harmful COVID-19 Claims

We’re going to start showing messages in News Feed to people who have liked, reacted or commented on harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that we have since removed. These messages will connect people to COVID-19 myths debunked by the WHO …

Twitter: An update on our continuity strategy during COVID-19

Broadening our definition of harm to address content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information. . . . [W]e will require people to remove tweets that include:

* Denial of global or local health authority recommendations to decrease someone’s likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 . . .

* Description of alleged cures for COVID-19, which are not immediately harmful but are known to be ineffective . . .

* Denial of established scientific facts . . .

* [The list is going on and on]

It is incredible: denial of recommendations … global health authority … alleged cures … denial of established scientific facts. “Require people to remove tweets” means temporary disabling their accounts until they remove the tweets that Twitter dislikes.

The global conversation about COVID-19 and ongoing product improvements are driving up total monetizable DAU (mDAU), with quarter-to-date average total mDAU reaching approximately 164 million, up 23% from 134 million in Q1 2019 . . .

… manufacturing delays in China have compromised the supply chain, resulting in delays in deliveries to our data centers.

Have they de-platformed critics of the Chinese government to avoid “manufacturing delays” or something else?

Most people would think that if Google, Facebook, or Twitter deleted information related to treatment or prevention of the pandemic, they were 100% sure it was false and harmful. Few would believe that they did that on a whim or based on the opinion of entities like Snopes. And they would be branded “conspiracy theorists.”

Remarks

Other Possible Factors

Anti-tuberculosis vaccines and their administration schedules vary by country, and some countries might have COVID-19 protective effects from them.

Another hypothesis is put forward in the following papers:

“Have the malaria eradication measures been behind the COVID-19 pandemic?” Elnady Hassan M., Sohag Medical Journal, opinion article

“Parasites and their protection against COVID-19—Ecology or Immunology?” Ssebambulidde et al., preprint:

One plausible hypothesis for the comparatively low COVID-19 cases/deaths in parasite-endemic areas is immunomodulation induced by parasites.

I consider these hypotheses too exotic to discuss here and just mention them. Many confounding factors remain when comparison among countries is done.

Miscellaneous

  • Another commonality among the highest-mortality countries is climate alarmism taking over the scientific community.
  • The “fact-checkers” seem to be the original sources of some of the worst hoaxes on the Internet.
  • Yes, the MOTUs used artificial intelligence to misinform the public and governments about COVID-19.
  • Besides the direct effects of bans, removals, and the deplatforming of information and speakers who knew more about COVID-19 than the WHO, these actions had chilling effects on discussions related to COVID-19.
  • Coughing into one’s elbow is outright harmful advice because it makes the sleeve a virus-spreader.

June 8, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | 1 Comment

FBI launches open attack on ‘foreign’ alternative media outlets challenging US foreign policy

By Gareth Porter | Grayzone Project | June 5, 2020

The FBI has publicly justified its suppression of dissenting online views about US foreign policy if a media outlet can be somehow linked to one of its adversaries. The Bureau’s justification followed a series of instances in which Google and other social media platforms banned accounts following consultations with the FBI.

In a particularly notable case in 2018, the FBI encouraged Facebook, Instagram and Google to ban the American Herald Tribune (AHT), an online journal that published critical opinion articles on US policy toward Iran and the Middle East. The bureau has never offered a clear rationale, however, despite its private discussions with Facebook on the ban.

The FBI’s first step toward intervening against dissenting views on social media took place in October 2017 with the creation of a Foreign Influence Task Force (FTIF) in the bureau’s Counterintelligence Division. Next, the FBI defined any effort by states designated by the Department of Defense as major adversaries (Russia, China, Iran and North Korea) to influence American public opinion as a threat to US national security.

In February 2020, the FBI defined that threat in much more specific terms and implied that it would act against any online media outlet that was found to fall within its ambit. At a conference on election security on February 24, David K. Porter, who identified himself as Assistant Section Chief of the Foreign Influence Task Force, defined what the FBI described as “malign foreign influence activity” as “actions by a foreign power to influence US policy, distort political sentiment and public discourse.”

Porter described “information confrontation” as a force “designed to undermine public confidence in the credibility of free and independent news media.” Those who practice this dark craft, he said, seek to “push consumers to alternative news sources,” where “it’s much easier to introduce false narratives” and thus “sow doubt and confusion about the true narratives by exploiting the media landscape to introduce conflicting story lines.”

“Information confrontation”, however, is simply the literal Russian translation of the term “information warfare.” Its use by the FTIF appears to be aimed merely at justifying an FBI role in seeking to suppress what it calls “alternative news sources” under any set of circumstances it can justify.

While expressing his intention to target alternative media, Porter simultaneously denied that the FBI was concerned about censoring media. The FITF, he said “doesn’t go around chasing content. We don’t focus on what the actors say.” Instead, he insisted that “attribution is key,” suggesting that the FTIF was only interested in finding hidden foreign government actors at work.

Thus the question of “attribution” has become the FBI’s key lever for censoring alternative media that publishes critical content on US foreign policy, or which attacks mainstream and corporate media narratives. If an outlet can be somehow linked to a foreign adversary, removing it from online platforms is fair game for the feds.

The strange disappearance of American Herald Tribune

In 2018, Facebook deleted the Facebook page of the American Herald Tribune, a website that publishes commentary from an array of notable authors who are harshly critical of US foreign policy. Gmail, which is run by Google, quickly followed suit, along with the Facebook-owned Instagram.

Tribune editor Anthony Hall reported at the time that the removals occurred at the end of August 2018, but there was no announcement of the move by Facebook. Nor was it reported by the corporate news media until January 2020, when CNN elicited a confirmation from a Facebook spokesman that it had indeed done so in 2018. Furthermore, the FBI was advising Facebook on both Iranian and Russian sites that were banned during that same period of a few days. As Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos noted on July 21, 2018, “We have proactively reported our technical findings to US law enforcement, because they have much more information than we do, and may in time be in a position to provide public attribution.”

On August 2, a few days following the removal of AHT and two weeks after hundreds of Russian and Iranian Pages had been removed by Facebook, FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters at a White House briefing that FBI officials had “met with top social media and technology companies several times” during the year, “providing actionable intelligence to better enable them to address abuse of their platforms by foreign actors.” He remarked that FBI officials had “shared specific threat indicators and account information so they can better monitor their own platforms.”

Cybersecurity firm FireEye, which boasts that it has contracts to support “nearly every department in the United States government,” and which has been used by Department of Homeland Security as a primary source of “threat intelligence,” also influenced Facebook’s crackdown on the Tribune. CNN cited an unnamed official of FireEye stating that the company had “assessed” with “moderate confidence” that the AHT’s website was founded in Iran and was “part of a larger influence operation.”

The CNN author was evidently unaware that in US intelligence parlance “moderate confidence” suggests a near-total absence of genuine conviction. As the 2011 official “consumer’s guide” to US intelligence explained, the term “moderate confidence” generally indicates that either there are still differences of view in the intelligence community on the issue or that the judgment ”is credible and plausible but not sufficiently corroborated to warrant higher level of confidence.”

CNN also quoted FireEye official Lee Foster’s claim that “indicators, both technical and behavioral” showed that American Herald Tribune was part of the larger influence operation. The CNN story linked to a study published by FireEye featuring a “map” showing how Iranian-related media were allegedly linked to one another, primarily by similarities in content. But CNN apparently hadn’t bothered to read the study, which did not once mention the American Herald Tribune.

Finally, the CNN piece cited a 2018 tweet by Daily Beast contributor Josh Russell which it said provided “further evidence supporting American Herald Tribune’s alleged links to Iran.” In fact, his tweet merely documented the AHT’s sharing of an internet hosting service with another pro-Iran site “at some point in time.” Investigators familiar with the problem know that two websites using the same hosting service, especially over a period of years, is not a reliable indicator of a coherent organizational connection.

CNN did find evidence of deception over the registration of the AHT. The outlet’s editor, Anthony Hall, continues to give the false impression that a large number of journalists and others (including this writer), are contributors, despite the fact that their articles have been republished from other sources without permission.

However, AHT has one characteristic that differentiates it from the others that have been kicked off Facebook: The American and European authors who have appeared in its pages are all real and are advancing their own authentic views. Some are sympathetic to the Islamic Republic, but others are simply angry about US policies: Some are Libertarian anti-interventionists; others are supporters of the 9/11 Truth movement or other conspiracy theories.

One notable independent contributor to AHT is Philip Giraldi, an 18-year veteran of the CIA’s Clandestine Service and and an articulate critic of US wars in the Middle East and of Israeli influence on American policy and politics. From its inception in 2015, the AHT has been edited by Anthony Hall, Professor Emeritus at University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.

In announcing yet another takedown of Iranian Pages in October 2018, Facebook’s Gleicher declared that “coordinated inauthentic behavior” occurs when “people or organizations create networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are what they’re doing.” That certainly doesn’t apply to those who provided the content for the American Herald Tribune.

Thus the takedown of the publication by Facebook, with FBI and FireEye encouragement represents a disturbing precedent for future actions against individuals who criticize US foreign policy and outlets that attack corporate media narratives.

Shelby Pierson, the CIA official appointed by then director of national intelligence in July 2019 to chair the inter-agency “Election Executive and Leadership Board,” appeared to hint at differences in the criteria employed by his agency and the FBI on foreign and alternative media.

In an interview with former acting CIA Director Michael Morrell in February, Pierson said, “[P]articularly on the [foreign] influence side of the house, when you’re talking about blended content with First Amendment-protected speech… against the backdrop of a political paradigm and you’re involving yourself in those activities, I think that makes it more complicated” (emphasis added).

Further emphasizing the uncertainty surrounding the FBI’s methods of online media suppression, she added that the position in question “doesn’t have the same unanimity that we have in the counterterrorism context.”

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist who has covered national security policy since 2005 and was the recipient of Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2012. His most recent book is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis co-authored with John Kiriakou, just published in February.

June 6, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Vitamin C in COVID-19 Prevention

Vitamin C in COVID-19 Prevention

This is not medical advice. This is a petition to federal and state governments to urgently publish recommendations for vitamin C intake as a prevention measure against COVID-19.

Introduction

Can vitamin C prevent or alleviate symptoms of acute respiratory tract infections, including COVID-19? (Gorton & Jarvis, 1999) reported 85% decrease of cold and flu symptoms in the test group taking vitamin C, compared with the control group, not taking vitamin C. The test group took vitamin C prophylactically and over the course of disease at 3,000 mg per day (1,000 mg x 3), and an increased dose of 6,000 mg (1,000 mg x 6, hourly) on the first day of symptoms onset. This specific regimen is important: taking a moderate amount of vitamin C prophylactically and during illness, and a larger dose on the first day of symptoms onset.

There is a caveat. The dosage in this study is 1.5-2 times higher than what doctors feel comfortable recommending to the public, as far as I see. Nevertheless, the research reviewed below supports the conclusion that 1.5-2 times lower doses help against broad class of ARTI, including colds and flu, although expectably less. COVID-19 is an acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI). The reasonable assumption is that what helps against multiple prior viral ARTI would help against COVID-19.

Vitamin C Role in the Immune System

Vitamin C does not prevent infection, but it helps the immune system combat it. It has been shown to alleviate symptoms, sometimes to the point where symptoms are not detectable. Thus, a person can feel as if s/he never got sick, since no symptoms ever presented, and may count this as having prevented the illness.

Vitamin C, at its normal level 70 μmol/L, is a necessary part of the immune system.  Excess vitamin C intake (over 200 mg/day) is normally excreted in urine. But when a body experiences physiological stress, it consumes the vitamin C present in the blood and thus, needs an increased intake (Hemilä, Vitamin C and Infections, 2017). All existing studies agree on this point. Observations have shown that in such conditions even many grams of vitamin C per day are neither excreted nor accumulate in blood.

(Hemilä & Chalker, 2019) listed several studies, showing that vitamin C levels drop in patients hospitalized with acute respiratory infections to less than 10-35% of the normal level. (Carr, 2017) found that all ICU patients in one hospital had less than on third of the normal vitamin C level.

The rationale behind discovered Vitamin C supplementation

When a person gets a viral respiratory infection, the body starts fighting it using the vitamin C present in the blood. That decreases vitamin C levels in the blood, impairing the immune system, even before the symptoms appear. But if it regularly receives extra vitamin C, it stops excreting it, but consumes in fighting the infection. In the most successful regimens (Ran, 2018), symptoms are used as a signal that the body requires even more vitamin C in order to maintain normal vitamin C blood levels while consuming more of it in fighting the infection. That justifies increased intake of it on the first symptomatic day and until the body overcomes the virus. This time might be shorter than the period for which symptoms exist. The first symptomatic day might have a special significance, possibly because it is when the body has not produced enough antibodies specific to the virus.

Safety

The human body has natural safety valves for vitamin C. First, excess of it is removed in urine. Second, it typically causes diarrhea before getting close to potentially dangerous levels.

(National Institute of Health, 2020) confirms safety of vitamin C:

Vitamin C has low toxicity and is not believed to cause serious adverse effects at high intakes. The most common complaints are diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and other gastrointestinal disturbances due to the osmotic effect of unabsorbed vitamin C in the gastrointestinal tract.

Possible Vitamin C Regimen

This is a possible Vitamin C regimen against COVID-19, for adults.

Some doctors recommend taking the higher dose only on the first day of symptoms onset. The dose is for an average 70 kg person. Those weighing much more or less should adjust proportionately. Older and non-healthy persons (i.e., the most at-risk group) should consult their physicians

Possible contra-indications: some kidney diseases, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, cholesterol lowering drugs,  diabetes in postmenopausal women (National Institute of Health, 2020). For other people, diarrhea is a sign to decrease or stop taking vitamin C.

It is not expected to completely protect against the Wuhan coronavirus or to approach the effectiveness of HCQ + Zn prophylaxis.

I remind that this is not medical advice, but a starting point for CDC/NIH/FDA and state governments to develop the medical advice. Follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Vitamin C Controversies and Misconceptions

Some confusion surrounds the use of vitamin C because different amounts are used for different purposes and produce different results. The officially recommended minimum intake of vitamin C 75-90 mg per day is just that – the minimum, established long ago to prevent scurvy. Many people exceed this amount simply by eating ordinary food; a medium orange contains 70 mg of vitamin C.

Studies with vitamin C supplementation of less than 1 g/day have shown little or no effect on respiratory infections. This was a cause of the confusion among medical professions. At such amounts, “control” group’s vitamin C intake was not controlled and might have exceeded the amounts taken by the intervention group. Also, low level vitamin C supplementation might provide benefits too low to detect. That might have caused confusion among medical professionals. Further, most studies gave vitamin C either prophylactically or during illness, but not both (Hemilä, Vitamin C and Infections, 2017).

On the high end, mega-doses of vitamin C (like tens of grams per day), delivered intravenously in hospital settings, is successfully used in treatment of many serious diseases and conditions, including late stages of severe cases of COVID-19. They are used for patients with sepsis (Kashiouris, 2020) and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Such doses and associated treatments are beyond the scope of this article.

Thus, this review is only concerned with vitamin C doses of 1 – 3 g/day prophylactically, and 3 – 6 g/day during ARTI. Such doses have been shown helpful in easing ARTI, and safe for almost all people.

Studies Review

Peer Reviewed Papers

(Hemilä, 2017) is a meta-analysis of multiple studies. It concludes that vitamin C is helpful against many infections, especially the common cold. The study suggests a linear dose – effect function up to 6-8 g/day.

(Hemilä & Chalker, 2019) is another meta-analysis. In 12 trials, totaling 1766 patients , vitamin C, given during the time of treatment, reduced ICU stays by an average of 7.8%. The vitamin C doses were relatively small, 1-3 g/day. (In four studies, higher doses were used, but those studies were either excluded from the meta-analysis (Dingchao 1994) or given very low weight in the calculations (Tanako 2000, Fowler 2014, Zabet 2016)). In this study vitamin C was given too little too late.

(Marik & Hooper, 2017) explains that vitamin C acts like a “stress hormone”. Most vertebrates synthesize their vitamin C and increase its production during physiological stress. Humans, as well as primates and guinea pigs, are exceptions to this rule. Therefore, we need to obtain vitamin C from food or supplements, and we may need to increase our intake in times of physiological stress.

(Colunga Biancatelli, Berill, & Marik, 2019) explains concepts behind vitamin C antiviral benefits. Unfortunately, they cite a 2013 review by Hemilä et al., which did not find benefits of vitamin C supplementation, as explained above. The more recent meta-analysis (Hemilä, Vitamin C and Infections, 2017) has firmly established evidence of such benefits.

(Ran, 2018) is a review, showing benefits of taking daily vitamin C supplements before and increasing the dosage when common cold occurs. It proposes a regimen of taking 1 g/day prophylactically while healthy and 3-4 g/day while having a cold.

Non peer reviewed sources

Drugs.com:

Beneficial effects of vitamin C supplementation have been reported for

Elderly people with acute respiratory infections

Recurrent acute respiratory distress syndrome

Reducing the severity and duration of the common cold

Reducing the length of hospital stay and symptoms in elderly patients with pneumonia

Reducing the duration of mechanical ventilation in people in ICU

Preventing the common cold in people who are vitamin C deficient

Preventing the incidence of pneumonia in people who are vitamin C deficient.

Studies have shown that excretion of vitamin C is decreased during infections, such as the common cold, suggesting that more is utilized during times of need.

COVID-19: Prevention and Treatment, Vitamin C (cihs.edu, Michelle Fauver, Ph.D.):

If you choose to supplement with vitamin C as a preventive, you might want to start with 2 grams a day administered orally

To use vitamin C supplementation as a treatment for colds or flus (remember we still have the flu going around), the best results have been obtained by administering 6-8 g (6,000-8,000 mg) immediately upon appearance of the first symptoms, then continuing that dose daily until the symptoms subside.

8 g/day is likely to cause diarrhea.

Remarks

  • The effect of prophylactic doses of vitamin C in COVID-19 infection have not been quantified. But even if the effect were small (and there is no reason to think that it is small), when the infection spreads exponentially, it decreases the exponential coefficient. It is a possibly large impact, at a miniscule cost, with almost no risk. Further, vitamin C seems to help the immune system to decrease the viral load even if it does not alleviate the symptoms.
  • Taking vitamin C is not the only helpful prophylactic measure receiving less attention than it deserves. Another research piece shows similar benefits of cod liver oil, used in this country for hundreds of years, or its equivalent – a diet rich in wild caught salmon or mackerel.
  • Physiological stress is not the same as psychological stress. I do not know whether lockdowns and forced social isolation cause physiological stress.
  • While it is not the role of the federal government to recommend diets and vitamin supplements, Google and Facebook delete and hide information about potentially effective COVID-19 prophylactics and treatment, if it does not come from WHO or a government. Thus, to allow such information to reach the public, the federal government should either rein in Google and Facebook, or itself make the recommendations.
  • I prefer the name Wuhan coronavirus the COVID-19 pathogen. This is where the virus was detected first. The name SARS-CoV-2 is associated with SARS of 2003, which had a much higher mortality ratio. This association is misleading and causes unnecessary panic.
  • To avoid the appearance of bias, I excluded from this review most known enthusiasts of the vitamin C. I also did not rely upon the peer-reviewed Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, although it is a recognized medical journal, and included in multiple indexes.
  • It is impossible not to mention Linus Pauling in this article. I do not know whether he was right or wrong about vitamin C. It might be that some of his ideas were correct, but explanation and/or clinical recommendations were not.
  • A medical group of Eastern Virginia Medical School, headed by Dr. Paul Marik, has developed and published its own COVID-19 prophylactic regimen, including vitamin C, Zinc, and Quercetin. It is occasionally mentioned in comments on this site.

References

Carr, A. (2017). Hypovitaminosis C and vitamin C deficiency in critically ill patients despite recommended enteral and parenteral intakes. Critical Care. Retrieved from https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13054-017-1891-y

Colunga Biancatelli, R. M., Berill, M., & Marik, E. P. (2019). The antiviral properties of vitamin C. Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14787210.2020.1706483

Gorton, H., & Jarvis, K. (1999). The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/S0161-4754(99)70005-9

Hemilä, H. (2017). Vitamin C and Infections. Nutrients. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9040339

Hemilä, H., & Chalker, E. (2019). Vitamin C Can Shorten the Length of Stay in the ICU: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/4/708

Kashiouris, M. (2020, January 22). The Emerging Role of Vitamin C as a Treatment for Sepsis. Nutrients. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/2/292/htm

Marik, P. E., & Hooper, M. H. (2017). Vitamin C and Sepsis, Response. The Chest Journal. Retrieved from https://journal.chestnet.org/article/S0012-3692(17)31252-7/fulltext

National Institute of Health. (2020, February 27). Vitamin C. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/

Ran, L. (2018). Extra Dose of Vitamin C Based on a Daily Supplementation Shortens the Common Cold: A Meta-Analysis of 9 Randomized Controlled Trials. BioMed Research International. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1837634

May 31, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment