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gab.com & the Great Purge on the Horizon

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | October 30, 2018

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

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

Why did this happen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wikipedia’s definition of shadow banning is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least not yet.

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

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

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

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

Russia Insider | October 18, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump, Conspiracy Theorist

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

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

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

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

From Suggestions to Company Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Good Censor – GOOGLE LEAK by on Scribd.

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

Journalist explains why US doesn’t need hackers to control the world, and it’s hard to disagree

RT | October 5, 2018

‘Russian hackers’ have become the go-to bogeymen for Washington. There’s little mention of American hackers though – probably because they aren’t needed, since most of the internet is a branch of US intelligence.

The US, which is now raising massive alarm over Russia’s supposed efforts to hack everything Americans hold dear, has been refusing to sign a treaty on cyberspace behavior with Russia for almost a decade now. The reason is simple, one Russian-American author explains: Washington doesn’t need a treaty, because it dominates the digital space completely as it is.

Washington’s panic over ‘Russian hackers’ is just a reflection of what it’s been doing to the world for years, says Yasha Levine, the author of ‘Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet.’

And thanks to surveillance programs like PRISM, outed by Edward Snowden 2013, the US doesn’t even need hackers: just by being on social media or using Google, you’re voluntarily surrendering your data to the NSA.

Far from scaling back its snooping after Snowden pulled the curtain on PRISM, the US has multiplied its efforts. Citing ‘national security’, lawmakers renewed the NSA’s sweeping spying powers this year. Domestic phone surveillance tripled last year, user data requests to Apple doubled, and user data requests to Google were at an all-time high.

And just recently, the ‘Five eyes’ powers – the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – issued a memo demanding that tech giants implement ‘backdoors’ to allow governments direct access to users’ encrypted data.

The entire narrative of cyber threats to the “good guys” US is a smokescreen to hide the unenviable fact: it’s the US that’s the apex predator of the digital ocean.

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Shutting Down Free Speech in America: Government and Lobbyists Work Together to Destroy the First Amendment

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | September 24, 2018

During the past several years, there has been increased pressure coming from some in the federal government aided and abetted by powerful advocacy groups in the private sector to police social and alternative media. It is a multi-pronged attack on the First Amendment which has already limited the types of information that Americans have access to, thereby narrowing policy options to suit those in power

The process has been ostensibly driven by concerns over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, but it is really about who controls and limits the public’s right to know what is going on out of sight in Washington and New York City, where politics and money come together. If one is interested in the free flow of information and viewpoints that comes with the alternative media, it certainly does not look that way. Robert Parry described it as a deliberate process of “demonizing and silencing dissent that questions mainstream narratives.”

Last October top executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter were summoned to Capitol Hill for a discussion of their role in what is alleged to be Russia’s influence on the presidential campaign and went back home contrite and promising to improve. They have indeed improved by punishing members whose views have been found to be unacceptable, blocking them and suspending their access to the sites. Meanwhile, the federal government for its part has attempted to silence independent non-U.S. based voices by declaring Russian media outlets RT America and Sputnik to be “foreign agents,” requiring them to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA). It is an unprecedented action against a news agency and invites quid-pro-quo for U.S. media operating overseas, leaving the American public more ignorant of world affairs than it already is.

Qatar based Al-Jazeera, which has been particularly targeted by Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as “a major exporter of hate against the Jewish people,” will also be required to register with FARA to comply with the new National Defense Authorization Act. Al-Jazeera, it should be noted, has employed undercover investigative journalism to expose the corruption of Britain’s government by Israeli supported Jewish groups. It’s similar series on the activity of Zionist lobbyists in America is on hold due to threats from Jewish organizations to severely punish the network if the documentary should ever be aired.

More recently Facebook has been active in removing accounts and advertising, much of it pro-Palestinian or otherwise critical of Israel, but also to include highly respectable Telesur’s “The Empire Files,” which looked at the consequences of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela. Anything that criticizes the corporate worldview is fair game for censorship. American Herald Tribune, which is critical of U.S. foreign policy in many areas, has recently had its Gmail shut down while Google also stopped servicing ads on its website. Its Facebook page was also closed, all done without any warning or explanation.

One of the organizations most interested in limiting conversations about what is going on in the world is the ADL which claims that it is “the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism and hate of all kinds,” though it clearly excludes incitement or even physical harm directed against Palestinian Arabs resentful of the Israeli occupation of their country. Its definition of “hatred” is really quite selective and is focused on anyone criticizing Israel or Jewish related issues. Its goal is to have any such speech or writing categorized as anti-Semitism and, eventually, to have “hate crime” legislation that criminalizes such expressions.

It is particularly ironic that Israel, which has now declared that it is in no way subject to international law, has itself proposed across the board censorship of the most prominent social media platforms on a global scale by creating an “international coalition that would make limiting criticism of Israel its primary objective.” It would operate through a “loose coalition… [that] would keep an eye on content and where it is being posted, and members of the coalition would work to demand that the platforms remove the content… in any of their countries at the request of members.”

More recently, Israel has been exposed by Wikileaks as hosting a conference describing how it now has a Command Center that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to scan the internet worldwide looking for “anti-Semitic” content. For Israel, anti-Semitic content means any criticism of its government or its behavior towards the Arabs. It reportedly pulls 200,000 posts a day and then reviews them using AI for content considered to be unacceptable. The roughly 10,000 posts determined to be anti-Semitic are then passed on to “intelligence and law enforcement agencies” in countries that have hate speech legislation for further action. The Israeli government also complains directly to the social media source to have the material taken down and works through Jewish organizations in cities and countries where there is considerable “anti-Semitic” activity to pressure governments to act even if there is no legal basis.

As most genuine independent journalism is currently limited to the alternative media, and that media lives on the internet, the ADL and those who are acting in collusion with the Israeli government are focusing on “cyberhate” as the problem and are working with major internet providers to voluntarily censor their product. On October 10th, 2017 the ADL issued a press release out of its New York City offices to explain just how far the censorship process has gone. The organization boasted of the fact that it was working with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter “to engineer new solutions to stop cyberhate.” Apple is not identified by name in the press release but one should presume that it is also involved, as well as YouTube, which is owned by Google. When you consider that the associates in this venture with ADL are vast corporations that control huge slices of the communications industry, the consequences of some kind of corporate decision on what constitutes “hate” become clear. Combatting “cyberhate” will inevitably become across-the-board censorship for viewpoints that are considered to be unacceptable, including any criticism of Israel.

ADL will be the “convener” for the group, providing “insight on how hate and extremist content manifests – and constantly evolves-online.” Which means it will define the problem, which it calls the “spew[ing] of hateful ideologies” so the corporate world can take steps to block such material. And “the initiative will be managed by ADL’s Center for Technology and Society in Silicon Valley.”

Facebook already employs thousands of censors and there is literally no limit to how far those who want to restrict material that they consider offensive will go. To be sure, most groups who want to limit the flow of information do not have the clout or resources of ADL with its $64 million annual operating budget so its “cyberhate” campaign will no doubt serve as a model that others will then follow. For ADL, reducing criticism of Israel is a much-sought-after goal. For the rest of us, it is a trip into darkness.

September 25, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Researcher Takes on Google’s Subversive Electioneering

Large Google Manipulation: How the search engine brings Clinton millions of votes

Sputnik – September 21, 2018

Big tech companies like Google have the power to “shift upwards of 12 million votes with no one knowing they’re doing so,” a research psychologist told Radio Sputnik Thursday, underscoring the influence profit-making firms can have on public elections.

That, he said, is too much power for “just a couple of executives” and is why tech giant monopolies need to be thought of as public utilities and not private entities.

“Research I have been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections — indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs — than any company in history has ever had,” research psychologist Robert Epstein says.

In 2015, Dr. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, wrote a groundbreaking paper about the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME), published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

“Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more — up to 80 percent in some demographic groups — with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated,” Epstein wrote in Politico at the time.

That kind of a margin could tilt an election, he noted. Indeed, Epstein’s research shows that Google manipulated search results to display pro-Hillary Clinton results higher on the page than others.

With Google reaching a billion users last year, according to The Verge, and the company collecting over $100 billion a year in revenue, the tech giant has acquired an unheard-of power over how we think and how we access information.

Epstein spoke with Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Thursday about the next phase of his studies: an “electronic cat and mouse game,” a system for collecting, monitoring and analyzing data that can identify and quantify “every single manipulation, every single kind of bias there is,” to hold tech giants accountable.

​”I’ve calculated that the big tech companies can shift upwards of 12 million votes with no one knowing they’re doing so without and leaving a paper trail for the authorities to track,” Epstein told Sputnik.

Google claims user activity causes the manipulation, but Epstein said his research found that it affected both red and blue states and that the first 10 results in searches were consistently biased towards Hillary Clinton.

“All reasonable people… will agree that no private company should have the power to decide what content billions of people around the world will see or will not see. Just think about that issue. Whoever that power should be given to, it’s certainly not to a private company in Mountain View, California; it’s just not. We might need entities that are spin offs from the United Nations, we might need nonprofits, nonpartisan groups… we can all agree it can’t be in the hands of a private company. That’s absurd.”

“The search engine itself is an index to what’s on the internet; it’s an index, basically, to all knowledge. Well, the internet doesn’t belong to Google. The internet belongs to the world, and the index to the internet must be public. And by public I don’t just mean public like, USA; it has to be controlled internationally. There has to be transparency; a lot of cooperation is going to be necessary. And I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but the fact is, that index has to be public — period.”

“In terms of laws or regulations or antitrust actions, there’s some things in motion. There’s lots going on in the EU in that regard; people are gearing up in Washington, DC. Right now there are hearings, there’s talk about antitrust actions — I think some things will happen. I don’t think law or regulation is going to help us very much, because law and regulation moves very slowly. Painfully slowly — sometimes, in fact, it gets stalled, completely stalled. Whereas tech, though, tech moves lightning fast,” Epstein said.

“There is a solution here — in some ways it’s a lighter touch because it doesn’t involve changes in laws and regulations — and that is monitoring. I successfully developed and implemented, deployed a monitoring system in 2016 that was written up in the Washington Post… I’m working now with business partners and with academics on three continents to scale up and broaden what we did in 2016. You have to envision here, probably within the next year, the beginnings of what I call a ‘worldwide ecology of passive monitoring systems.’ That is: systems that can’t be detected, that will show us 24/7 what these big tech companies are showing people or what they’re telling people through these new audio devices.”

“By collecting that data, by monitoring it, by analyzing it rapidly, we will be able to detect, very precisely, when Mark Zuckerberg sends out a targeted ‘go out and vote’ message, for example, that could easily flip an election. We’ll see whether there is bias in search results or search suggestions. We will actually be able to quantify shadowbanning, very precisely, on Twitter and elsewhere. So every single manipulation, every single kind of bias there is, we’ll be able to capture it at the moment. You see, it’s all ephemeral content; it’s transitory. It comes, it goes, it’s gone, it’s not stored anywhere, and then we speculate about what’s going on,” he said.

“Well, with monitoring systems in place, we won’t have to speculate. I believe that these systems will make the big tech companies accountable to the public for the first time. And there’s another advantage here: whereas law and regulation is always behind whatever’s going on, monitoring systems basically are their new technologies. We’re fighting tech with tech, and monitoring systems can keep up with whatever is happening in technology. As technology changes, matures, whatever, the monitoring systems change and mature; they adapt. A cat and mouse game, an electronic cat and mouse game that never stops, maybe goes on for decades.”

Noting how the first companies that provided services such as electrical power, fire departments and roads were initially private but are today thought of as ubiquitous public utilities, Epstein told hosts Walter Smolarek and John Kiriakou that “that’s what happening now with these big tech companies, particularly the search engines, but I would argue we could even put Facebook into that category as well. Once a market is dominated by a monopoly, once the barriers to entry are so large that really no one can get in, and that’s where we are now, and once we become dependent on these services, once they become essential services, which certainly Google’s search engine is, once that happens we have to look at it through a different lens. And that’s happened over and over again in recent history, and I think that’s where we are right now.”

“There is a big difference though,” between older monopolies like Standard Oil and AT&T and internet companies like Google and Facebook, he said. “Those companies were doing things that, for the most part, we could see and we could understand. Whereas what Google and Facebook and Twitter are doing — a lot of what they’re doing we can’t see, we can’t understand. That’s what my discoveries have been about for more than five years. We’re talking about extremely powerful tools for altering people’s thinking.”

“Let’s think about Google for what it really is: a surveillance machine,” he said.

“Let’s think about its real effect, which is the control of thinking and behavior and opinion. Basically it’s the most powerful mind control machine that has ever — ever — been invented in human history.”

“That brings me to the key question: what if the mind control machine doesn’t want you thinking bad things about the mind control machine?”

“This is not AT&T,” he said. “It’s a different beast entirely — and it’s a scary beast.”

Epstein said there wasn’t much recourse in the field of the law. He noted that Google gets sued — a lot — and you can view the catalog of cases brought against the tech giant at Google Crimes, but “when these cases go to court, 99 times out of 100 Google wins, hands down. Because we don’t have laws and regulations that protect us from these companies, and over and over again, the courts rule that these companies are protected, either by [Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996] or by the First Amendment right to free speech.”

Epstein noted that court rulings repeatedly recognized Google’s right to free speech as a private company. He further pointed out that Google, with “one of the highest profit margins of any country in history,” can simply shrug off any fines leveled against it for its conduct — such as the European Union did earlier this year, when it fined Google $5.1 billion, or last year when it leveled a $2.7 billion fine against it for having biased search results.

Epstein told Radio Sputnik about what he called “a landmark article” by him that will be published in the periodical Fast Company in the next few days, which is presently titled, “How Big Tech Could Quietly Hijack Democracy: A Researcher Describes 10 Ways that the Big Tech Companies Can Shift Millions of Votes in the Midterm Elections Without Anyone Knowing.”

“These are not old-fashioned techniques,” he said, like mudslinging ads or untrue billboards and TV ads. “This is all clandestine, this is all invisible to users and all involves ephemeral content, which means it doesn’t leave a paper trail. And it’s all in the hands of just a couple of executives in the northwest corner of the United States. And it’s affecting not just people here, it’s affecting billions of people around the world… Something is wrong with this system.”

See also:

Google Seeks to Dictate Truth Using Dubious New Technology

Google’s Pro-Clinton Search Bias Reflects US Tech Firms’ Ties to ‘Deep State’

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Twitter blocks real Iranians’ accounts, overlooks US ‘regime change’ propaganda: Zarif

Press TV – September 16, 2018

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Twitter has blocked the accounts of “real Iranians” but overlooks the “regime change” propaganda spewing out of Washington.

Zarif made the remarks in a post on his official Twitter page on Sunday addressing Jack Patrick Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of Twitter.

He said the accounts of real Iranians, including TV presenters and students, have been shuttered for allegedly being part of an “influence operation.”

“How about looking at actual bots in Tirana used to prop up ‘regime change’ propaganda spewed out of DC?” the top Iranian diplomat asked, alluding to the anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), whose members are currently based in Albanian capital city.

Back in August, Google removed 39 YouTube channels linked to the Iranian state broadcaster. Google terminated those accounts, along with six blogs on its Blogger service and 13 Google+ accounts linked with Iran. The move came after Twitter and Facebook also blocked hundreds of accounts on suspicion of possible ties with Iran.

The MKO has a dark history of assassinations and bombings against the Iranian government and nation. It notoriously sided with former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, in his eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s.

The group has been behind most of the terrorist attacks, which have claimed the lives of nearly 17,000 Iranians since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.

Initially designated as a terrorist organization by Europe and the US, the group has established close links with Western political parties.

In recent years, several media reports have emerged about top political figures in the US and Europe receiving money from the MKO to speak favorably of the terrorist group.

In September 2016, the last remaining members of the terrorist group were relocated from Camp Liberty (Hurriya), a former US military base near the Iraqi capital Baghdad, to Albania.

Iraq had long urged MKO remnants to leave the country, but a complete eviction of the terrorists had been hampered as a result of the US and European countries’ support for the group.

September 16, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Google’s Mass Surveillance Power Threatens Democracy

Sputnik – 29.08.2018

On Monday, US President Donald Trump criticized tech giant Google for allegedly spreading misinformation about him and accused the company of hiding stories with positive content about his presidency.

“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD… 96% of results on ‘Trump News’ are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!” Trump said Tuesday on Twitter.

​Dr. Robert Epstein, the senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear that while Trump’s outrage was directed at Google’s reported suppression of right-wing outlets, beneath the surface are huge implications about Google’s power and ability to surveil virtually every part of people’s lives.

“The censorship phenomenon, I’ve been writing about that for quite awhile,” Epstein told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

“I did an investigative piece for US News and World Report called ‘The News Censorship,’ and because of Trump’s tweets on the issue, I would urge people to take a look at that article again. There are legitimate issues here, whether Trump is right or wrong, and whether conservative stories are being suppressed.”

“That, in my opinion, is irrelevant to the larger issues here, which is that Google has the power, so does Facebook and Twitter, to suppress all kinds of material. It acknowledges suppressing all kinds of material, and who on Earth gave it that kind of power to determine what 2.5 billion people around the world see or don’t see? That’s the big issue here,” Epstein added.

On Tuesday, Google said that its search results didn’t favor a particular political ideology.

“Search is not used to set a political agenda, and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology,” a Google spokesperson said.

On Tuesday, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow told reporters that the US administration is considering the possibility of tightening regulations on Google.

When asked whether the Trump administration was looking into possible regulation for Google, Kudlow said, “We’ll let you know. We’re taking a look at it,” Sputnik reported Tuesday.

“The Trump administration might be going ahead, somewhat aggressively, looking into the regulation of Google,” Epstein told Radio Sputnik.

“Google and Facebook have nothing to sell except us. So, it’s a completely different business model [than Microsoft]. Microsoft sells a few things, but mainly they sell software. Google sells us,” Epstein continued.

“It’s a business model, the surveillance business model, which I believe should be illegal, in part because it is inherently deceptive, but also because it’s a tremendously dangerous because of the information they are collecting about us and the ways they are discovering to use that information, not just to determine what we buy and who we vote for, but ultimately to build models of us that allow companies to predict our behavior and ultimately to exercise more and more control over our thinking and behavior. It’s a dangerous and deceptive business model which should be illegal. Period,” Epstein argued.

“The fact is that major news organizations and major universities very mindlessly and naively share all of their emails, outgoing and ingoing, and very important documents with Google, naively thinking that Google doesn’t share, store or analyze such information. The fact is, we are talking about organizations like the New York Times, The Guardian, the Financial Times. We are talking about the Daily Caller, The Hill. All of these organizations and many more and major universities share all of their email with Google. It’s absolutely absurd,” Epstein added.

“Google is the biggest data miner in the history of humankind. Google in fact collects the data and stores this sensitive data. This gives Google the ability to monitor ongoing investigations. This gives Google the ability to assess companies that they might want to buy, to make interesting stock decisions. This gives Google access to a world of information that they should have no access to whatsoever,” Epstein continued.

On Tuesday, The US president also told reporters at the White House that Google is taking advantage of a lot of people and characterized the charge against the tech giants as very serious. Trump said “thousands and thousands of complaints” were coming in about the tech companies.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

IRIB slams closure of its social media accounts as ‘clear censorship’

Press TV – August 25, 2018

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has condemned a coordinated move to block its channels on social media platforms, describing it as a “clear example of censorship” aimed at preventing the dissemination of truth and alternative viewpoints online.

In a Saturday statement, the IRIB World Service said “stifling independent media” amounts to a “political scandal” taking place in the age of communications and freedom of press.

On Thursday, Google removed 39 YouTube channels linked to the Iranian state broadcaster. Google terminated those accounts, along with six blogs on its Blogger service and 13 Google+ accounts linked with Iran. The move came after Twitter and Facebook also blocked hundreds of accounts on suspicion of possible ties with Iran.

“We identified and terminated a number of accounts linked to the IRIB organization that had disguised their connection to this effort,” Google Vice President Kent Walker said in a statement.

Elsewhere in its statement, the IRIB said Iran’s Spanish-language television channel, Hispan TV, had done nothing but reveal crimes committed by the Israeli regime and its masters and broadcast criminal acts carried out against humanity in Palestine, Yemen and other parts of the world.

It added that Iran’s well-known Arabic-language Al-Alam news network has been for years exposing the plots hatched by enemies of regional countries, including Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon and Palestine.

The channel has shown crimes by the Israeli regime in the Gaza Strip and those of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, it said.

Al-Alam and Hispan TV’s YouTube channels are among Iranian social media channels targeted.

The statement emphasized that the IRIB once again slammed the closure of independent Iranian media on social networks and noted that they would always remain loyal to the slogan of defending the oppressed people, disclosing crimes by the global hegemony and its allies in the region and across the world and echoing the voice of the voiceless in the world.

The IRIB said it reserves the right to pursue legal measures against those who have placed limitation on its channels.

These pressures indicate that independent media have “considerably influenced the public opinion” despite widespread propaganda by arrogant powers that fear truth revelation and dissemination, it added.

However, the IRIB channels would continue their path with strength, it pointed out.

Read more:

August 25, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

How Do You Tell If The Earth’s Climate System “Is Warming”?

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | August 9, 2018

The earth’s climate system “is warming.” True or false? The answer is that there is no definitive answer. And if someone tells you there is, then that person doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

A more precise answer to the question is that whether the earth’s climate system “is warming” or “is cooling” entirely depends on who gets to pick the start date for the analysis. If you are the one who gets to pick the start date, then you can make it so that the system is either warming or cooling, whichever you would like for your purpose of the moment.

But of course, there are many people out there today with a lot invested in the proposition that the climate system “is warming.” That proposition is a key tenet of global warming alarmism. To “prove” the point that the system “is warming,” advocates use the simple trick of picking a start point to their liking, making for a presentation that appears to support their position. Have you been fooled by this simple trick? The advocates leave it up to you to figure out that if you picked a different start point, you could just as easily make an equally convincing presentation showing that the climate system “is cooling.” A lot of seemingly intelligent people can’t figure that out, and get taken in by the scam.

I raise this point today because it appears that, as part of the campaign to suppress disfavored political speech, Google has begun within the past few days adding a legend at the bottom of YouTube videos that express politically incorrect views in the field of climate science. For example, here is the legend that they have added to a video made for Prager University by eminent MIT atmospheric physicist and climate skeptic Richard Lindzen:

Lindzen YouTube Video.jpg

“Multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate system is warming.

The quote comes from the first two sentences of this Wikipedia entry with the title “Global warming.” Well, Wikipedia says it, so I guess it must be true!

According to this post at BuzzFeed on August 7, others who have been subject to having the same legend affixed to their work include Tony Heller of the Deplorable Climate Science Blog, Mark Morano of Climate Depot, and the Heartland Institute. (So far, nothing comparable has happened to the Manhattan Contrarian; but then, I don’t make YouTube videos.)

So let’s investigate the question of whether the earth’s “climate system” is or is not warming. You could, for example, look at the chart presented by Wikipedia in that entry. Here it is:

Wikipedia GAST trend.png

That looks rather dramatic. On the other hand, the whole vertical scale of the chart is only about 1.5 deg C; and they picked 1880 as their start date. (The slope here is also greatly accentuated by some very large and questionable “adjustments” that have made earlier years cooler and more recent years warmer. You can read my eighteen part series “The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time” for much more detail. But those details are not critical for understanding the current issue.)

Does your skeptical mind possibly think, when they use that phrase “century scale,” is that just a bias-free description of the issue at hand, or is it instead a hand-wave to provide a fake justification for picking a preferred start date? Why do we need to go back 138 years when we are considering a question phrased in the present tense — whether the climate “is” warming? Wouldn’t the present tense normally be used to cover a much shorter period, like a year or two or three at most?  So you ask, what has the climate system been doing during that time? For the answer, how about looking for temperature data to the far more accurate UAH satellite-based series which provides monthly data points going back to 1979. Here is the latest chart from that source:

UAH_LT_1979_thru_July_2018_v6-550x317.jpg

This time, you get to pick the start date. To cover the last few years, how about picking early 2016?  After all, these last couple of years should be a much better indicator of whether the climate “is” warming or cooling than the entire last 138 years. Really, what do temperatures more than 100 years ago, or even 30 or 40 years ago, have to do with the question of whether the earth’s climate “is” warming? So we look at the UAH chart, and we find our answer: since early 2016 temperatures have fallen by more than 0.5 deg C. Thus, once we get to pick our preferred start time, it is obvious that the climate system “is cooling.”

Or, you can pick a different start date to your liking. How about 1998? That will give you an entire 20 year run. It’s hard to say that the verb “is” should cover a period of more than 20 years. On the UAH series you can see that temperatures have also fallen about 0.4 deg C since early 1998. Again, even on this substantially longer scale, the earth “is cooling.” (Note, however, that there is a significant difference between the Wikipedia chart and the UAH satellite series as to what has happened since 1998. On the Wikipedia chart the latest reading (2017?) is up about 0.3 deg C from 1998; while on the UAH series, the latest reading (July 2018) is down about 0.4 deg C from the then-records set in 1998. That’s those “adjustments” in the surface temperature record that I was talking about. I would say that there is no credible position that the heavily adjusted surface temperature record that Wikipedia relies on should be used for this purpose over the far more accurate and un-tampered UAH satellite record.)

But how about if we decide that there is something to this “century-scale” thing? Let’s agree that we’re going to go back many, many decades to determine if the earth “is warming.” But if we’re going to do that, where do we stop? If you want, you can go back a hundred million years; or even a billion. And if you follow this subject a little, you probably know that the 1700s and 1800s are a very suspect era to start a series like this, because those centuries are a known cold period sometimes referred to as the “Little Ice Age.” Picking a date in the “Little Ice Age” as the start point to prove warming is what’s called “cheating.” Let’s pick something more fair.  How about going back a nice round millennium?  Was that time warmer or cooler than now?

OK, they didn’t have networks of thermometers set up around the globe in the 11th century, let alone the highly accurate satellites that we have today. But scores of scientists have done hundreds of studies based on many sorts of “proxies” to determine at least whether it was warmer or cooler at that time than today. It turns out that the evidence is rather overwhelming that it was warmer. Actually, this is what is known as the “Medieval Warm Period.” But picking a date in that period as your start date for deciding whether the earth “is warming” is no more fair or unfair than picking a date in the “Little Ice Age.”

Here is a compilation of dozens of studies reaching the conclusion that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the present:  “More than 700 scientists from 400 institutions in 40 countries have contributed peer-reviewed papers providing evidence that the Medieval Warm Period was real, global, & warmer than the present.”  Examples:

There are literally dozens more, if you follow the links.  The conclusion is inescapable: on a centuries-scale basis, the earth’s climate system “is cooling.”

And by the way, if you want to keep going back farther and farther, you can keep finding time periods that were warmer than the present.  Examples: the Roman Warm Period, from around 250 BC to 450 AD; and the Holocene Climate Optimum, about 5000 to 3000 BC.

So here’s the real answer to the question of whether the earth’s ciimate system “is warming”:

  • If your start date is June 2018, it “is warming.”
  • If your start date is January 2016, it “is cooling.”
  • If your start date is January 1998, it “is cooling.”
  • If your start date is 1880, it “is warming.”
  • If your start date is the year 1000, it “is cooling.”
  • If your start date is the Dark Ages, it “is warming.”
  • If your start date is Roman times, it “is cooling.”

In short, the question is completely meaningless.

It’s hard to believe that the supposed geniuses at Google could be taken in by a scam so obvious and so transparent. But that’s the world we live in.

August 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

The Real “Fake News” From Government Media

By Scott Lazarowitz | ActivistPost | July 31, 2018

Facebook has announced its campaign against “fake news.” But, according to some workers’ own admission, conservatives are being censored.

And Google also wants to censor “fake news.” But Google also was shown to treat conservative websites, but not liberal ones, as “fake news.”

The same thing seems to be going on with Twitter. And again, conservatives are complaining.

But who is to decide what is “fake news”? Who will be Facebook and Google’s sources for real news?

In 2013 the U.S. Senate considered a new a shield law to protect journalists. In the lawmakers’ attempts to narrow the definition of a journalist, some Senators including Sen. Dianne Feinstein only wanted to include reporters with “professional qualifications.”

“Professional” publications such as the New York Times, the “Paper of Record,” would apparently be protected.

So one can conclude that the New York Times can be a source of “real” news for Facebook or Google, despite all the Times‘ errorsscrew-ups, and corrections, right?

According to one NYT former reporter, the Times has been a “propaganda megaphone” for war. Also a partner with the CIA to promote Obama’s reelection bid.

Or CNN, “The Most Trusted Name in News” which wins its own “fake news” awards with its errorsscrew-ups and corrections.

During the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign, there were collusions between then-CNN contributor and DNC operative Donna Brazile, who was outed by WikiLeaks in her giving candidate Hillary Clinton questions in advance for a CNN Town Hall.

Other emails that were leaked to WikiLeaks informed us that reporters obediently followed instructions from the Hillary Clinton campaign on how to cover the campaign. These include reporters from the New York Times such as Maggie Haberman who said the campaign would “tee up stories for us,” and Mark Leibovich, who would email Clinton flunky Jennifer Palmieri for editing recommendations.

And Politico reporter Glenn Thrush asked Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for approval of stories on Clinton. Thrush was then hired by the New York Times. After Thrush was then suspended from NYT over allegations of sexual misconduct, the Times ended the suspension, stating that while Thrush had “acted offensively,” he would be trained to behave himself. Hmm.

But all this from the 2016 campaign reminded me of the “JournoLists,” the group of news journalists who participated in a private forum online from 2007-2010. The forum was to enable news reporters to discuss news reporting and political issues in private and with candor, but also, it was revealed, to discuss ways to suppress negative news on then-2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama.

For instance, according to the Daily Caller, some members of the group discussed their criticism of a 2008 debate in which Obama was questioned on his association with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Nation‘s Richard Kim wrote that George Stephanopoulos was “being a disgusting little rat snake.” The Guardian‘s Michael Tomasky wrote that “we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy.”

Spencer Ackerman, then with the Washington Independent and now of the Daily Beastwrote, “If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

The Nation‘s Chris Hayes wrote, “Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians — men, women, children, the infirmed — on its hands. You’ll forgive me if I just can’t quite dredge up the requisite amount of outrage over Barack Obama’s pastor.”

(But has Hayes criticized Obama’s assassination program, or Obama’s bombings or the blood on Obama’s hands? Just askin’)

In an open letter, according to the Daily Caller, several of the JournoList members called the ABC debate a “revolting descent into tabloid journalism,” because of the moderators’ legitimate questions on Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

So, in today’s Bizarro World, objectively questioning a candidate on a controversial issue is now “tabloid journalism,” but making things up like “Trump-Russia collusions” and repeating the propaganda over and over – that’s not “tabloid journalism.”

The JournoLists also included reporters from Time, the Baltimore Sun, the New Republic, Politico, and Huffington Post.

Now, are those the sources of “real news” that Facebook, Google and Twitter want to rely upon to combat “fake news”?

And who exactly were the “JournoLists” promoting? Obama?

Regarding Obama’s own crackdown on actual journalism, Fox News reporter James Rosen was accused by the feds of being a “co-conspirator” with State Department leaker Stephen Jin-Woo Kim in violating the Espionage Act. Rosen’s correspondences with Kim were seized by Obama’s FBI, along with Rosen’s personal email and phone records. The FBI also used records to track Rosen’s visits to the State Department.

Apparently, then-attorney general Eric Holder went “judge-shopping” to find a judge who would approve subpoenaing Rosen’s private records, after two judges rejected the request.

Commenting on James Rosen and the FBI’s abuse of powers, Judge Andrew Napolitano observed that “this is the first time that the federal government has moved to this level of taking ordinary, reasonable, traditional, lawful reporter skills and claiming they constitute criminal behavior.”

And there was the Obama administration’s going after then-CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, possibly for her reporting on Benghazi and Fast and Furious. Attkisson finally resigned from CBS news out of frustration with the company’s alleged pro-Obama bias and with CBS’s apparently not airing her subsequent reports.

In 2013 CBS News confirmed that Attkisson’s computers had been “accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions.” In 2015 Attkisson sued the Obama administration, claiming to have evidence which proves the computer intrusions were connected to the Obama DOJ.

In Attkisson’s latest lawsuit update, after her computer was returned to her following the DOJ Inspector General’s investigation, her forensics team now believes her computer’s hard drive was replaced by a different one.

Now back to “fake news.”

After Donald Trump locked up the Republican Presidential nomination in May, 2016, there were significant events in the next two months. Fusion GPS and former British spy Christopher Steele colluded to get opposition research on behalf of Hillary Clinton, the FBI applied for a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associates, and Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner had a possibly set-up meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

Also within that same period, the DNC claimed that its computers were hacked but the DNC wouldn’t let FBI investigate. The Washington Post published an article claiming, with no evidence presented, that “Russian government hackers” took DNC opposition research on Trump.

It was very shortly after the November, 2016 Presidential election that the Washington Post published an article on a “Russian propaganda effort to spread ‘fake news’ during the election.” To escalate the media’s censorship campaign perhaps?

The campaign against “fake news” coincided with Obama minions at FBI, DOJ and CIA apparently panicking over a possible Trump presidency and their allegedly abusing their powers to attempt to take down Trump.

So the news media seem to be on a crusade to fabricate “Trump-Russia collusions” and repeat it over and over, and to vilify, ignore and squash actual investigative research and reporting on what exactly the FBI and DOJ bureaucrats have been doing. Call such real investigative reporting “fake news,” “conspiracy theory,” and so forth.

In the end, Facebook, Twitter and Google might want to reconsider relying on the mainstream news media led by the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN, and instead include citizen journalists and non-government-sycophant media to provide news and information.

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh has noted that the Founders generally viewed the freedom of the Press to apply to every citizen to print, publish or express accounts of events. We really need to highlight that kind of old-fashioned, honest journalism.

August 3, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hardcore Hitler on Hitler in Helsinki

CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | July 10, 2018

Here it comes, the moment we’ve been waiting for, when Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki to officially launch the Destruction of Democracy, and very possibly the Apocalypse itself. That’s right, folks, once again, it appears we’re looking at the end of everything, because according to the corporate media, on July 16, 2018, Trump is probably going to disband NATO so that Putin can invade the Baltic states, then Germany, then the rest of Europe, and then presumably order an all-out thermonuclear strike on the United States, which will pretty much end civilization as we know it. Or perhaps the plan is to do away with NATO, withdraw all American troops from Poland, let Putin rape and pillage Western Europe, and then have North Korea nuke both coasts of the US mainland (and Canada, of course) so that a Putin-Nazified Middle Amerika will have carte blanche to exterminate the Mexicans and make women wear those “Handmaid” costumes, or some other ridiculously paranoid scenario, possibly involving Susan Sarandon as some kind of Putin-Nazi triple agent.

Tragically, the global neoliberal establishment is completely powerless to stop Trump and Putin from carrying out this evil scheme (whatever it turns out to be in the end), because even the US Intelligence Community has to obey the law, after all, and not do anything sneaky, or unethical, not even with the fate of democracy at stake. No, unlike the Russians, who go around blatantly poisoning people with novichok oatmeal more or less whenever they like, the global capitalist ruling classes’ hands are tied by their own integrity. All they can do is watch in horror as these two Hitlerian megalomaniacs destroy their entire global empire and establish a thousand-year Putin-Nazi Reich.

Thank God at least the corporate media are raising their collective voices in protest. In a recent piece in The Washington Post, Max Bergmann of the Center for American Progress warns that “this is a summit about appeasement, and we should be terrified that Trump is going to sell out America and its allies.” According to Bergmann, Trump might “accidentally” share state secrets with Putin, or promise to reduce support for our freedom-loving Ukrainian Nazis, or stop trying to overthrow the Syrian government so that Syria, with the help of Russia and Iran, can launch a sneak attack on Israel and drive “the Jews” into the sea. Worse still, Bergmann speculates, he might make “secret agreements” with Putin without telling the editors of The Washington Post, which … God help us all if that ever happened.

Not to be out-apocalypsed by The Post, Roger Cohen of The New York Times published a full-blown dystopian vision wherein Trump, Putin, Marine Le Pen, the AfD, and a variety of other globalist-hating Hitler-alikes form “the Alliance of Authoritarian and Reactionary States” (the “AARS”), disband the European Union and NATO, impose international martial law, and start ethnically cleansing the West of immigrants. Matteo Salvini and Horst Seehofer, decked out in full Putin-Nazi regalia, personally supervise the genocidal purges, which frightened Europeans come to support after Putin’s irresistible “fake news” bots brainwash them into believing that a little Russian girl named “Tatiana” has been abducted by Moroccan migrants off a beach along the Costa del Sol.

And as if that wasn’t horrifying enough to whip folks up into a mindless frenzy, The New York Times (which, let’s remember, is an extremely distinguished and respected newspaper, and not at all a cheap propaganda rag) produced this charming little animated film depicting Putin and Trump as … well, a couple of tongue-sucking, titty-pinching homos. I found this kind of weird at first, as I had thought such ugly anti-gay sentiment had disappeared from liberal society, but apparently it’s fine in Resistance circles to stigmatize your enemies as butt-humping queers in order to render them more repulsive in the eyes of your sophisticated, liberal audience. I did a little research, and it appears this “Hitler on Hitler” porno The Times produced is just the latest in a rather long line of Trump on Putin “homo” jokes, which are perfectly harmless when told by liberals, but when told by conservatives are homophobic hate crimes.

Look, I’m not a fan of poofter humor, or the corporate media, or the so-called “Resistance,” but neither am I a fan of Trump, nor am I, technically, an employee of Putin. What I am is a student of propaganda, media manipulation, and mass hysteria, and though I experienced the roll-out of the War on Terror, and assorted other propaganda campaigns (like Obama’s “Hope and Change” routine, Reagan’s “Morning in America” schtick, George H.W. Bush’s “New World Order,” and Bill Clinton’s “Third Way” happy horseshit), I have never witnessed anything like this. Most of those other propaganda campaigns at least bore some vague resemblance to reality. What we’re experiencing now is more akin to the kind of behavior that goes on in cults … where people are conditioned to surrender their reason (and, ultimately, to conform their perception) to whatever paranoid official narrative the leader of the cult has invented, and eventually to direct their fear and hatred, not only at the cult’s official enemy, but at anyone who questions the cult’s “reality.”

If you believe cults work because people are gullible, or stupid, you need to do some research. Cults work because their members are gradually conditioned to detach from “society” (i.e., the social body that conditioned them as children) and conform to the social body of the cult. This conditioning happens systematically, often over the course of years. Scientology cult members are not introduced to the “body thetans” story the day they walk in. Nor were the Manson girls ready to butcher a house full of people for Charlie at first … it took months of orgies, acid trips, and other de- and re-programming techniques to get them to buy into his paranoid prophecy of Imminent Racist Hippie Apocalypse.

Which is what I find so disturbing, presently. The ease with which the neoliberal ruling classes have programmed millions of Western consumers to believe a narrative no less ridiculous than Scientology’s “body thetans,” Manson’s “Helter Skelter” … or take your pick of any number of other cult narratives. The speed at which they switched from the War on Terror narrative to the Putin-Nazi narrative attests to the power of the corporate media and the neoliberal propaganda machine, generally. It really is an amazing achievement. In less than two years, they managed to condition a significant portion of the Western masses to forget about “the Islamic terrorists” that they had been conditioned to live in fear of, and to transfer their fear and hatred to Trump, and Putin, and anyone who appears to support them, or doesn’t sufficiently hate and fear them.

The ruling classes have achieved this feat by generating an ongoing series of episodes of mass hysteria. Most of them last a week or two, but their cumulative effect is powerful and enduring. Fake news, bots, travel bans, Confederate statues, neo-Nazi rallies, “novichok” attacks, kids in cages … anything the corporate media can use to channel more hatred toward Trump and Putin. None of these episodes are generated out of whole cloth. Obviously, the Russians are pursuing their interests, there is a white supremacist subculture in the United States, as there always has been, those kids were put in those cages, and so on … none of which began with Trump, or has anything exclusively to do with Putin, or triggered mass protests and widespread outrage until the neoliberal ruling classes and corporate media decided it should.

The upcoming summit is next on the list. It won’t be as juicy as the baby concentration camps, but it will do as far as reminding people that Trump is a secret Russian operative, or traitor (or quisling, as Paul Krugman would have it), conspiring with Putin to destroy democracy … that is, when they’re not fellating each other. Once the summit has come and gone, and democracy has miraculously survived, they will generate another round of Hitler hysteria, and Resistance cultists will spring into action like salivating Pavlov’s dogs, denouncing whatever unspeakable horror they had completely ignored for the previous eight years, jabbering about concentration camps, and ripping MAGA hats off teenagers. Purely for the sake of entertainment, I’m hoping it will be the secret Nazi code the Department of Homeland Security is embedding in its press materials, presumably to alert the Underground Network of Putin-Nazi Militias to stand by for imminent government takeover, the “securing of the future for white people and their children,” and the weeks of homosexual Odinist orgies that are sure to follow.

Seriously, though, the absolute genius of the ruling classes’ Putin-Nazi narrative (which rational people are underestimating) is that it is virtually impossible to criticize it without being labeled a Trump supporter, a Putin apologist, or a crypto-Nazi. Like Scientology’s Suppressive Persons (i.e., those who criticize Scientology), Putin-Nazi narrative deniers “seek to upset, continuously undermine, spread bad news about and denigrate” the cult. These are typically ex-cult members who no longer subscribe to official cult teachings, and are thus an existential ideological threat. Such persons are to be stigmatized and shunned, “so that others will know not to associate with them.” (Those quotes are from the Scientology website, but the same rules apply in every cult.)

Glenn Greenwald is probably the best example of a prominent Putin-Nazi narrative denier (and he is harassed for it on an daily basis), but an hour or two of research on Twitter will reveal the same dynamic at work against much less famous “pillow biting traitors.” Nor is it just fanatical cultists on Twitter. If you happened to google your humble narrator at any point during the last nine months, and were concerned that the people “People Also Search For” in my “Knowledge Panel” are mostly anti-Semites and “alt-right” types … well, I wrote about that in November of last year. (I have since repeatedly written to Google and advised them to occasionally alternate the anti-Semites they are associating me with, as using the exactly the same ones for months is lazy, and makes it rather difficult to blame their “search results” on some innocent algorithm.)

But what do I know? Maybe I’m just paranoid, and Google isn’t out to get me. Or maybe they know me better than myself, and I really am a crypto-Nazi, or some other kind of Suppressive Person, and democracy really is on the brink of disaster. After all, Glenn Greenwald just flew over to Moscow, and was selfied in the company of Edward Snowden, and Putin is poisoning random people in Amesbury for no apparent reason, and Susan Sarandon hacked the election, or dropped a Sarin bomb on Douma, or else Putin did, or maybe it was Xenu, or the Russians are about to take down the entire American fiberoptic network, and I almost forgot those four hundred white supremacist idiots who are planning to gather and bellow Nazi slogans at each other in Lafayette Square on August 12, and who are already receiving international coverage, because we can’t afford to ignore a few hundred racist morons in polo shirts … if we did, well, who knows what that might lead to? People might actually have a moment to pause and think about what’s going on, and why it’s going on, and who it serves, and try to put it all into some kind of perspective, before they react to the next Pavlovian stimulus the media waves in their faces. Ready? Good. Because here it comes …

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment