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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

An Armenian American Group Caves in to the Anti-Defamation League

By David Boyajian | Dissident Voice | June 14, 2016

For several decades the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other leading Jewish American organizations (AIPAC, AJC, B’nai B’rith, and JINSA) have deliberately colluded with Turkey and Israel to defeat U.S. Congressional resolutions on the Christian Armenian Genocide and to diminish the factuality of that genocide.

Yola Habif Johnston, a director at JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), once admitted that “the Jewish lobby has quite actively supported Turkey in their efforts to prevent the so-called Armenian genocide resolution from passing.”

The hypocrisy is breathtaking given these organizations’ loud, endless demands for recognition of, and legislation on, the Jewish Holocaust.

455px-Lucine-kasbarian-no-place-for-hate-adlStarting in 2007, Armenian Americans in Massachusetts and elsewhere made international news by exposing the national ADL’s hypocrisy.  In disgust, 13 Massachusetts cities and the umbrella Massachusetts Municipal Association kicked out the ADL’s alleged anti-bias program, “No Place for Hate.” Human rights advocates and many honest Jews supported those efforts.  The Turkish government raged that its collaboration with Israel, the ADL, and other Holocaust hypocrites had been blown wide-open.

But in mid-May, a small group of Armenian Americans in Massachusetts — including the politically ambitious Sheriff of Middlesex County Peter Koutoujian and a few members of the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) — struck a horrible “deal” with the two-faced ADL.

For his part of the “deal,” ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt casually “blogged” that his organization now “unequivocally” acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and “would support” (not “do support”) American recognition of that genocide.

Even Andrew Tarsy, former Director of the New England ADL, termed the pact “inadequate“. The ADL “ought to lead the conversation about reparations for these [Armenian] families … assets, land … everything that Holocaust reparations … has represented should be on the table.”

Of the many things wrong with this “deal,” let’s list a few.

The Horrible “Deal”

  • The “deal” was concocted behind the backs of the Armenian American community and the hundreds of activists — Armenian and non-Armenian — who started the campaign in 2007 and have battled the ADL since. Why haven’t the verbal or written details of the negotiations and “deal” been made public? Why the lack of transparency?
  • Greenblatt (former Starbucks VP and Special Assistant to Pres. Obama) isn’t the ADL’s highest official and may not have the authority to set policy. Have the ADL’s National Commission and National Executive Committee (its “highest policymaking bodies”) formally approved of Greenblatt’s “blog” post? We don’t know.
  • The ADL has long played word games with the Armenian Genocide. In 2007, for example, it disingenuously dubbed it “tantamount to genocide” but not genocide. Greenblatt’s conditional claim that “we would support U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide” is similarly suspect. Why not just “we support”?
  • The Armenian American activist website “NoPlaceForDenial.com” demands that the ADL “support U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, as it does with the Holocaust.” I authored those last six words years ago.  They mean that as partial atonement the ADL must work as hard for acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide as it has for the Holocaust.  Nothing in Greenblatt’s statement remotely suggests that the ADL would do that.
  • For three decades or more, the ADL has attacked Armenian Americans and worked with Turkey and Israel to defeat U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Yet the ADL has never apologized for its atrocious conduct.  Ironically, the only ADL apology came in 2007 when National Director Abe Foxman apologized to Turkey because publicity surrounding the Armenian issue had embarrassed that country.  The failure to obtain an apology from the ADL is scandalous.
  • Americans deserve to know the details of the ADL’s longtime Genocide-denial pact with Turkey and Israel. Where are the documents, and why was their release not part of the “deal”?

The Berman Affair

Armenian Americans won a major victory in 2014 when Attorney Joseph Berman, an ADL National Commissioner, lost his bid to become a Massachusetts Superior Court judge. Governor Deval Patrick had nominated him in 2013. I testified against Berman.

Following a widely publicized fight, the eight elected Governor’s Councilors refused to confirm Berman. His leadership position in the hypocritical ADL was one reason why Councilors opposed him.

While I was in close touch with several Councilors, an incident occurred that has never before been made public.

A Councilor who opposed Berman told me of receiving several calls asking that the Councilor vote for Berman. One such caller was Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, an Armenian American prominent in the recent ADL “deal.” I remain deeply troubled by that call.  Why would Koutoujian do such a thing?  I think I know, but only Koutoujian can answer that question. He did not return my recent call asking about his past activities in the campaign against the ADL.

The final Council vote on Berman was 4 to 4.  Had the Councilor voted as Koutoujian asked, the ADL’s candidate and the ADL would have triumphed, and Armenian activists would have been defeated.

That and other significant incidents raise questions as to whether the recent ADL “deal” was negotiated in the tough, adversarial way required to defend Armenian interests.

Failing to Confront

When a few activists and I launched the battle against the ADL in July 2007 and events were moving quickly, AAA and ANCA initially delayed even issuing a statement. Perhaps they were concerned about retaliation or being called anti-Jewish.

The following year, moreover, several activists and I became convinced that these organizations were not fully committed to the ADL fight.  At one point, we were told that at least one of the organizations would no longer try to convince cities to sever ties with the ADL.

In 2015, even the NoPlaceForDenial.com website, an essential news resource maintained by ANCA persons, disappeared. It reappeared after I persisted in complaining about its removal.

Indeed, the ADL came under renewed pressure months ago only because I informed ANCA and a pro-AAA person that Newton, MA had, perhaps unintentionally, invited in the ADL after having booted it out in 2007.

Sheriff Koutoujian himself has long been very close to various Jewish organizations. He once received an award from the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. He has taken two trips to Israel.  The second one, last year, concerned “counter-terrorism.” It was organized by the ADL and funded by Israel’s Gal Foundation, which sponsors ADL programs. Of the 14 Massachusetts law enforcement personnel on the trip, Koutoujian was the only sheriff. Koutoujian later co-narrated a slideshow of the trip at a synagogue in Burlington, MA. Koutoujian has also spoken at other Jewish venues.

He recently wrote this on his Facebook page: “Thank you to the ADL and the Boston Globe for recognizing this terrible moment [Armenian Genocide] for what it is.” So after three decades of the ADL’s conspiring with Turkey to abuse Armenians, defeat Armenian Genocide resolutions, and damage the cause of genocide prevention, the ADL is thanked and all is forgiven, while hundreds of Armenian American activists get no thanks whatsoever? Incredible.

It’s well-known that Americans often interact with powerful Jewish American political organizations in two related ways. First, a person may hesitate to publicly disagree with such organizations due to concern about retaliation and being labeled anti-Jewish. On the other hand, being friendly and deferential to these organizations may advance one’s career in politics, academia, business, and other endeavors.

This question must be asked: Could these two types of interactions have adversely affected the post-2007 Armenian American campaign against, and the recent “deal” with, the ADL?

The Anti-Human Rights ADL

The ADL has an appalling anti-Armenian record.  Despite this, recent stories about the “deal” in the Boston Globe and an Armenian American newspaper depicted the ADL as now somehow virtuous. Neither told readers about the ADL’s three decades of hypocrisy and collusion with Turkey.

The ADL claims to be “the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency [which] protects civil rights for all.” What nonsense! If that were so, it would never have been in the business of covering up genocide. Nor can acknowledging the Armenian Genocide magically now make the ADL a human rights organization. Indeed, the Armenian issue is just one of many that have unmasked the ADL.

The ADL, therefore, is not about civil or human rights.  It’s just a Jewish political organization. For instance, it lobbied for an oil pipeline from Azerbaijan to Turkey. Human rights organizations don’t do that sort of thing.

What about nice-sounding ADL programs such as “No Place for Hate,” “World of Difference,” and “Combatting Bullying”?  They’re covers.  The ADL uses them to penetrate schools, colleges, corporations, and communities to enhance its visibility and political influence.

So that’s the organization that some Armenian Americans just made a “deal” with – a deal that was fatally flawed from the day it was conceived. True human rights advocates and perceptive Armenians reject it.

June 15, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment