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WHO Taps ‘Anti-Conspiracy’ Crusader to Sway Public Opinion on COVID Vaccine

By Jeremy Loffredo | Children’s Health Defense | October 23, 2020

An outspoken proponent of government-led tactics to influence public opinion on policy and to undermine the credibility of “conspiracy theorists” will lead the World Health Organization’s (WHO) efforts to encourage public acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine, Children’s Health Defense has learned.

Last week, WHO’s general director, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, tweeted that he was glad to speak with the organization’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Behavioural Insights and Sciences for Health to “discuss vaccine acceptance and uptake in the context of COVID-19.”

In his next tweet Ghebreyesus announced that Cass Sunstein, founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School, will chair the advisory group, which was created in July.

Sunstein was former President Barack Obama’s head of Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where he was responsible for overseeing policies relating to information quality.

In 2008, Sunstein wrote a paper proposing that governments employ teams of covert agents to “cognitively infiltrate” online dissident groups and websites which advocate “false conspiracy theories” about the government. In the paper, Sunstein and his co-authors wrote:

“Our principal claim here involves the potential value of cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, designed to introduce informational diversity into such groups and to expose indefensible conspiracy theories as such.”

The government-led operations described in Sunstein’s paper would work to increase faith in government policy and policymakers and undermine the credibility of “conspiracists” who question their motives. They would also maintain a vigorous “counter misinformation establishment” to counter “conspiracy” groups opposed to government policies that aim to protect the common good.

Some of this would be accomplished by sending undercover agents, or government-paid third parties, into “online social networks or even real space groups.”

Sunstein also advocated in 2008 that the government pay “independent experts” to publicly advocate on the government’s behalf, whether on television or social media. He says this is effective because people don’t trust the government as much as they trust people they believe are “independent.”

WHO has already contracted the public relations firm, Hill + Knowlton. The PR giant, best known for its role in manufacturing false testimonies in support of the Gulf War, was hired by WHO  to “ensure the science and public health credibility of the WHO in order to ensure WHO’s advice and guidance is followed.”

WHO paid Hill + Knowlton $135,000 to identify micro-influencers, macro-influencers and “hidden heroes” who could covertly promote WHO’s advice and messaging on social media, and also protect and promote the organization’s image as a COVID-19 authority.

There’s no evidence that WHO has yet implemented any “cognitive infiltration” policies similar to what Sunstein advocated in 2008. If the organization were to adopt such a strategy, and use it to convince hesitant populations to take a COVID vaccine, it would raise questions of legality.

As put forward in a report by the Congressional Research Service, illegal “publicity or propaganda” is defined by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to mean either (1) self-aggrandizement by public officials; (2) purely partisan activity; or (3) “covert propaganda.” By covert propaganda, GAO means information which originates from the government but is unattributed and made to appear as though it came from a third party.

Because WHO is a multinational organization and not a U.S. Government agency, covert “cognitive infiltration” policies could fall into a gray area, or even be considered legal.

Dr. Margaret Chan, former general-director of WHO, once stated that the organization’s policies are “driven by what [she called] donor interests.”

According to a 2012 article in Foreign Affairs, “few policy initiatives or normative standards set by the WHO are announced before they have been casually, unofficially vetted by Gates Foundation staff.” Or, as other sources told Politico in 2017, “Gates’ priorities have become the WHO’s.”

WHO’s current general director, Ghebreyesus, was previously on the board of two organizations that Gates founded, provided seed money for and continues to fund to this day: GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, a public–private global health partnership focused on increased access to vaccines in poor countries, and the Global Fund, which says it aims to accelerate the “development, production and equitable global access to safe, quality, effective, and affordable COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.”

If, as Politico put it, “Gates priorities have become the WHO’s,” and if WHO’s policies are driven by “donor interests,” this raises questions as to what online groups, people and websites would be targeted by such covert programs.

The idea of government agents carrying out psychological operations on social media is not far fetched. Earlier this year the head of editorial for Twitter’s Middle East and Africa office was outed as an active officer in the British Army’s psychological warfare unit, known as the 77th brigade, which specializes in online behavioral change operations.

© 2016-2020 Children’s Health Defense® • All rights Reserved

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

Twitter vs. the First Amendment in Social Media Censorship

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | October 24, 2020

Twitter and Facebook are the censors the Founders feared when they wrote the First Amendment. In the 18th century, none of those forward-thinking men could have envisioned a day when technology and global corporations would overshadow the power of governments to control information. But that day is here, and @jack and his colleagues are trying to steal an election for Joe Biden in real time.

The social media giants this week tried to disappear a story from the New York Post claiming Hunter Biden had sold access to his father Joe to a Ukrainian company. I’m afraid to include a link to the story, for fear this article too will be blocked and made to disappear. See, you can’t tweet a link to the Post’s story or send it as a direct message on Twitter and you can’t post it on Facebook without some sort of red flag. If you’re an unimportant person your message will just be blocked. If you are important, like the White House press secretary, @Team Trump, or a conservative journalist trying to report out the fuller story, your account will be locked. The NY Post, one of the largest mass circulation dailies, can’t RT its own article on Twitter. In my case, I was life banned from Twitter years ago, censored so broadly I can’t even buy a ticket for this ride. Orwell of course anticipated all this, creating the term “unperson” for someone erased from society. But he, too, did not anticipate the power of the electronic media companies or he would have likely also created the term “unthought.”

The goal of Twitter and Facebook censorship is unthought, to make the NY Post story go away to the extent possible, and to delegitimize it as much as possible in those spaces the giants do not yet control because it might hurt Biden’s chances in the election. They have reimagined free speech as a liability to democracy. They have also crossed some border into the bizarro world by claiming the NY Post story is unproven after years of pressing untrue Russiagate stories into the public conscious, and after featuring NYT stories on Trump’s taxes based on purloined documents never made public. They have given voice to their self-created Blue Check experts who, simply based on imagination, claim the Post story has been spiked directly into the American vein by the Russians. The latter is especially insidious, using a fully disproven story (the Russians controlled the 2016 election) to support another new unproven accusation. This is sadly consistent with another blow to democracy, the media’s abandonment of any commitment to objectivity in favor of ideological activism. This election, there is a Right Candidate and a Wrong Candidate and it is the media’s job to use the tools of censorship, propaganda, and now unthought to direct your vote accordingly.

We have no protection. For something like this to be unconstitutional or illegal, the denial has to come from the government. Facebook and others can deny speech rights anytime they want. We now know the argument only the government is covered by the 1A has reached its limit. Technology and market dominance give great power with no responsibility to a handful of global companies even as the law hides behind the simplicity of the 18th century. That way of thinking requires you to believe that Facebook, et al, would never act as a proxy, barring viewpoints on behalf of a politician who would not be allowed to do it himself.

The NY Post story being disappeared caught the public’s eye, coming from a MSM source, right in front of the election, with all the sleaze of crack pipes and Russian spies as a cherry on top. But this has been going on for a long time.

After hazy accusations that some Russians tried to influence the 2016 presidential election, Twitter and Facebook banned advertising by RT and Sputnik. Senator Chris Murphy followed by demanding social media censor even more aggressively on the government’s behalf for the “survival of our democracy.” Following racial violence in Charlottesville, Google, GoDaddy, and Cloudflare collectively ended their relationships with The Daily Stormer, “effectively booting it off the Internet.” Google noted that, “while some free speech advocates were troubled by the idea that ‘a voice’ could be silenced at its source, others were encouraged by the united front the tech firms put up.”

Google blocks users from their own documents on Google Drive if the service feels the documents are “abusive.” Twitter and the others suspend those who promote (what it defines as) hatred and violence, “shadow bans” others to limit the size of their audience, and tweaks its trending topics to push certain political ideas and downplay others. It purges users and bans “hateful symbols.” There are near-daily demands by increasingly organized groups to censor specific users, with Trump at the top of that list. Users can snitch out other users so that Twitter can evaluate whether they should be suspended. The motivation is always the same: to limit the ideas people can choose to be exposed to.

Google has basically added its terms of service to the First Amendment. A leaked document from the tech giant argues that because of a variety of factors, including the election of Donald Trump, what it dismissively calls the “American tradition” of free speech may no longer be viable. The report lays out how Google can serve as the world’s “Good Censor,” protecting us from harmful content and, by extension, dangerous behavior, like electing the wrong president again. Google sees itself at the nexus of  historic change, declaring, “Although people have long been racist, sexist, and hateful in many other ways, they weren’t empowered by the Internet to recklessly express their views with abandon.” Google is, for the first time in human history, in a position to do something about it. After all, via 90 percent market dominance, they “now control the majority of our online conversations,” so the Internet is whatever they say it is.

We are approaching a time when the freedom to speak will no longer exist independent of the content of speech. What you’re allowed to say could depend on media’s opinion of how it will affect others, in this case, electing Joe Biden. Maybe you like Joe, but do I really have to include here “but what about the next time they use this power, maybe against something believe in?”

For those muttering “it can’t happen here,” look how American tech companies are already employing their tools to serve the 1A-free China market’s social control needs. Companies exist to make money. You can’t count on them past that. Handing over free speech rights to an entity whose core purpose has nothing to do with free speech means it will inevitably quash ideas when they conflict with profits; it just happens to be going your way right now. Those who gleefully celebrate that the anthropomorphized @jack and good old ‘Zuck are not held back by the 1A and can censor at will seem to believe they will always yield power in the way “we” want them to. And trading away a little free speech, especially from a journalistic roach like the NY Post seems reasonable compared to another four years of Trump.

It makes sense for them to unabashedly mainstream unthought and censorship Because Trump. Never before have a large number of Americans feared a politician more. Trump isn’t just against what you are for, he is someone literally out to kill you, via COVID, via some war, your life is in danger. He is not just bad, he is a pure strain of evil without goodness, like a pedophile.

Google first introduced censorship in the most well-intentioned way: to stop child predators. The Internet giant tweaked its search results to block sites it believed linked to child porn. It went on to do the same for terrorist sites, and sites that encouraged suicide. But Google can skew search results any way it wants. It knows the higher an item appears on a list of search results, the more users will click on it. In a test, placing links for one candidate above another in a rigged search increased the undecided voters who chose that candidate by 12 percent. Burying an idea can have a similar effect; 21st century free speech is as much about finding an audience as it is about finding a place to speak. Censorship in the 21st century targets both speakers (example: Twitter blocks someone) and listeners (Google hides that person’s articles). There will soon be no fear anyone will lock up dissident thinkers in some old-timey prison to silence them; impose a new Terms of Service and they are effectively dead. As are their ideas.

The argument Twitter, Facebook, and Google are private companies, that no one forces you to use their services, and in fact you are free to switch to MySpace, is an out-of-date attempt to justify end runs around the First Amendment. Platforms like Twitter are the public squares of the 21st century (seven of 10 American adults use a social media site), and should be governed by the same principles, or the First Amendment will become in practical terms irrelevant.

Pretending a corporation with the reach to influence elections is just another company that sells stuff is to pretend the role of unfettered debate in a free society is outdated. These corporations understand their power to influence. They feel morally required in using it for partisan goals. They have exercised it for Joe Biden. When that happens, elections can be stolen in real time. Just watch.

October 24, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Internet Resources Become Weaponized

High Tech Oligarchs threaten democracy

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • October 20, 2020

The current electoral campaign differs from that of 2016 in that the media, both conventional and online, has realized its power and has been openly playing a major role in what might well prove to be a victory across the board for the Democratic Party. At least that is the expectation, bolstered by a flood of possibly suspect opinion polls that appear to make the triumph of Joe Biden and company inevitable while at the same time denigrating President Donald Trump and covering up for Democratic Party missteps.

Most Americans no longer trust what is being reported in the mainstream media but when they look for “real” information they frequently turn to online resources that they believe to be more politically objective. That has never been true, however, and what most newshounds are actually seeking is commentary that reflects their own views. In reality, the news provided is almost always either spun or distorted and sometimes completely blocked, note particularly the resistance to reporting the tale of the shenanigans of Hunter Biden.

The New York Post is claiming that a trove of emails from a laptop reveals that “Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.”

The emails include a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the oil company Burisma’s board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month. “Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email reads. An earlier email from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.

The correspondence, if authentic, disproves Joe Biden’s claim that he’s “never spoken to his son about his overseas business dealings.” One would think that the story would be a real blockbuster, welcomed by self-respecting journalists but the reality has been that the mainstream media is doing its best to kill it. Facebook and Twitter have both blocked it though Twitter has since relented, and much of the rest of the liberal media is regarding it as a hoax.

Facebook has in fact become something of a leader in reversing its self-promotion as a site for free exchange of ideas. It has removed large numbers of users and alleged suspect sites and has blocked any “denial or distortion” of the so-called holocaust in response to what it regards as a surge in anti-Semitism. It has hired a former Israeli government official to lead the censorship effort on the site.

As Facebook and Twitter are private companies, they can legally do whatever they want to set the rules for the use of their sites, but when the two most powerful social media companies choose to censor a major newspaper’s story about a presidential candidate’s possibly corrupt son less than three weeks before the election it suggests a more sinister agenda. They are quite likely banking on a Democratic victory and will expect to be rewarded afterwards.

Indeed, it should be assumed that Facebook and the other social media giants are reconfiguring themselves for the post-electoral environment in expectation that they will be more than ever politically and economically indispensable to aspiring politicians. This willingness to engage with politically powerful forces has led to increased involvement in the various mostly left-wing movements that have shaken the United States over the past five months. Television and radio stations as well as corporations and local businesses have rushed to endorse and even fund black lives matter without considering the damage that the group has been doing to property and persons that have had the misfortune to cross its path, not to mention some of the group’s long-term more radical objectives. Individuals identified as blm leaders have demanded mandatory training to reprogram whites as well as punitive reparations, to include “white people” turning over their homes to blacks.

Some of the developments are quite dangerous, most notably the compiling of lists of organizations and individuals that are considered to be “enemies” of the new social justice order that intends to take over the United States. One has noted the desire for revenge permeating many of the comments on sites like Facebook (which claims to delete “threats” from its commentary), to include some material in recent weeks that has called for the “elimination” of Americans who do not go along with the new normal.

One of the most invidious steps taken by any of the corporate social media is a recent decision by Yelp to allow Antifa to compile the raw material on so-called “fascist businesses” that will be included on a list of “Businesses Accused of Racist Behavior Alerts.” The list itself was set up to appease demands coming from the BLM movement.

Yelp is a review site that provides grades and commentary on a broad range of goods and services, to include many businesses that cater to the public. The potential for abuse is enormous as Yelp is an information site that has no capability to investigate whether complaints of “racism” are true or not and Antifa, which is recognized as being at least in part behind the devastating Portland riots, is far from an objective observer. In fact, this is what Antifa has tweeted about its new role, which will allow group members to submit names of “non-friendly” businesses, defined as “also known as (AKA) any company that’s hanging blue lives garbage in their store or anything else that’s anti the BLM movement.”

The Antifa intention is clearly to put unfriendly shops and restaurants out of business, so it will not exactly be interested in engaging in constructive criticism or changing behavior through negotiation. Using the intimidation provided by the “Alerts” list and direct threats of violence from Antifa and BLM, businesses will be coerced into supporting radical groups lest they be targeted. It is somewhat reminiscent of the old Mafia protection rackets, and who can doubt that demands for money will follow on to the verbal threats?

The rise of the internet oligarchs might indeed do more serious damage to the freedoms that still survive in the United States than will victory by either Biden or Trump. What Americans are allowed to think and how they perceive themselves and the world have taken a serious hit over the past twenty years and it can only get worse.

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

October 20, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Twitter removes mask guidance from White House Covid-19 adviser, claiming it violated policies on ‘misleading information’

RT | October 18, 2020

Twitter has removed a tweet from White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Scott Atlas questioning the effectiveness of mask mandates, claiming the message violated the platform’s Covid-19 Misleading Information Policy.

“Twitter seems to be censoring the science if it goes against their own goals of public indoctrination,” Atlas told Newsweek on Sunday about his tweet being removed.

In the original tweet, Atlas wrote, “Masks work? NO,” before citing various examples and quotes from health officials pushing back against the protection face coverings can provide.

The information cited included details of various places that have seen Covid-19 cases rise despite mask mandates, as well as quotes from both the World Health Organization and Dr. Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal’s Evidence-Based Medicine publication.

“It would appear that despite two decades of pandemic preparedness, there is considerable uncertainty as to the value of wearing masks,” Dr. Heneghan said of face coverings.

In a subsequent tweet, Dr. Atlas made it clear he was not arguing against masks, but instead was saying they are only effective in situations where one is around people at a high risk of getting Covid-19, or where one cannot social distance.

A Twitter spokesperson still said the tweet violated their policy on distributing misleading information about Covid-19. Twitter’s policy specifically targets tweets the company says could lead to harm. It flags “statements or assertions that have been confirmed to be false or misleading by subject-matter experts, such as public health authorities.”

Dr. Atlas is a neuroradiologist and a Robert Wesson senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who joined the coronavirus task force in August.

Twitter has also flagged tweets from the president in the past which it claimed had violated the platform’s Covid-19 policies.

Atlas has appealed the decision to remove his tweet and will be unable to post again while his appeal is under review.

October 18, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | | 3 Comments

Twitter Refuses To Unlock NYPost Account Unless Paper Deletes Tweets About Hunter Biden

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 10/17/2020

By immediately condemning the Hunter Biden emails and photos published by the New York Post as the work of Russian hackers colluding with Rudy Giuliani, the MSM destroyed any credibility it might have had. As we pointed out earlier, more evidence has emerged to support Giuliani’s version of events – namely, that he was given a copy of the laptop’s hard drive and all of its contents by the owner of a Delaware computer-repair shop.

But despite apologizing and acknowledging  “straight up blocking of URLs was wrong“, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has apparently not finished punishing the New York Post, because three days after the account was initially frozen, the New York Post hasn’t been able to tweet, and according to a NY Post report, Twitter has frozen the New York Post’s account until the paper’s social media managers agree to delete six tweets about Hunter Biden.

“Anyone who looks at The Post’s Twitter feed can’t even see the tweets about the Biden stories, which have been replaced by messages saying, ‘This Tweet is no longer available,'” the Post wrote on Friday.

Twitter previously said the Post’s Hunter Biden stories violated the website’s Hacked Media Policy which prohibits the display of “hacked” information, an allegation that the Post called “baseless.” However, on Friday, Twitter updated that policy, saying it will start labeling content that violates its rules rather than remove it altogether “unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them.”

Confusingly, though, the company said that these changes wouldn’t apply retroactively, meaning that the NYP still must delete the tweets if it wants to use its account again, even though readers can’t even see them.

Twitter confirmed in an interview with Fox Business that the NY Post “has been informed what is necessary to unlock their account.”

Facebook, meanwhile, is temporarily restricting circulation of the story until an independent team of fact checkers has had time to investigate the claims, and certify they are real.

While social media has been rife with speculation, in the days since the first NYP story was published, nobody has offered anything in the way of evidence – however circumstantial or unconvincing – that the materials were stolen by hackers. Beyond James Clapper’s ‘professional opinion‘, the MSM has nothing to support these claims.

October 18, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Twitter rolls out ‘DISPUTED’ warnings for users trying to post ‘misleading’ content after backlash over Biden emails censorship

RT | October 16, 2020

Twitter is cracking down on the spread of “misleading” content ahead of the US election, as users attempting to retweet anything similar to the NYPost’s Hunter Biden leaks will now get a warning the material is “disputed.”

Attempting to retweet offending content will trigger a prompt warning the user that the material they’re trying to post is “disputed,” Twitter revealed on Friday, posting an image of the new warning screen.

The user will be able to click a button to “find out more” about why Twitter doesn’t want the material shared, and then presumably post it anyway.

The new feature arrives in the aftermath of a major controversy arising from Twitter’s censorship of a series of stories critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, published by the New York Post based on emails supposedly extracted from his son Hunter’s laptop.

Conservative politicians, lawmakers and press have slammed Twitter for prohibiting users from even linking to the story, and some users who shared details of the stories found themselves locked out of their account for reasons that ranged from sharing “hacked material” to posting “personal information” without permission.

The social media giant’s guidelines for what is considered “misleading” are themselves somewhat nebulous, having grown since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to encompass not just “disinformation” but also “disputed” content, a vague descriptor that could apply to most of what users post on the platform.

The Republican National Committee on Friday filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission charging Twitter had illegally meddled on behalf of the Biden campaign when it squelched the spread of the Biden-laptop stories. The platform had even briefly blocked a link to the US Congress website, when Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee attempted to skirt Twitter’s censorship by reposting one of the banned articles on their official .gov page.

Twitter also apologized to its users for a prolonged outage on Thursday night, which left many speculating about whether the platform was testing an intensified form of censorship ahead of November’s elections. The site blamed a “system change initiated earlier than planned” that had “affect[ed] most of our servers” – an explanation which likely did little to put conspiracy theories to rest.

Facebook subsidiary Instagram rolled out a feature similar to Twitter’s ‘wrongthink warning’ last year, which alerts users when they are about to post something “potentially offensive.” In April, Facebook began alerting users as to whether they’d shared, replied to, or otherwise interacted with posts that were later deemed to be “misinformation,” specifically content concerning the novel coronavirus that had been “debunked” by the World Health Organization.

In June, the platform further expanded its wrongthink-alert system, warning users when they attempted to share articles that were over 90 days old – regardless of whether they were true or not.

Facebook has also resorted to somewhat more subtle tactics of “shadowbanning” – which on Wednesday was once again confirmed by its communications chief Andy Stone, a former Democratic Party staffer. He tweeted that the platform was restricting the spread of the New York Post’s story until the platform’s fact-checkers could stamp their own judgment on the material.

October 17, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Twitter, Biden and the New York Post – Social Media Censorship Kicks up a Gear

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | October 15, 2020

Yesterday, the New York Post published several articles claiming to show evidence of corruption on the part of Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The charges are varied but not really surprising. One article claims Hunter introduced his father to a Ukrainian energy magnate who asked the family to use their influence to shut down an investigation into his company.

Another story suggests Hunter Biden used his family name to secure a high-paid job and stock interests in a Chinese company.

The NYP evidence these claims with emails and documents allegedly retrieved from a laptop left at a computer repair store in Delaware. The owner of the store alerted the FBI to the computer’s existence when no one came forward to pay for the repairs and he could not contact the owner.

According to the NYP, both the hard drive and laptop were then seized by the FBI. They have a copy of the grand jury subpoena, which is certainly solid evidence, if genuine.

The owner of the store claims he, prior to it being seized, made a copy of the hard drive and sent it to Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s lawyer.

While this is potentially intriguing, if true, it’s not really “news”. Biden’s corruption in Ukraine has been evident since his son was appointed to the board of the largest energy company in Ukraine within weeks of the US-backed coup in 2014 (a decision so obviously dodgy even the Guardian made a joke out of it). Joe Biden himself has even admitted to applying financial pressure to get a Ukrainian State Prosecutor removed from office.

None of this is really “big news”. Corruption is rampant in the halls of power, that is as certain as death and taxes, and will continue to be so, whether or not these specific allegations are accurate.

The big news, the part of this story that should concern everyone, is that Twitter has completely blocked this material on their platform.

And we’re not talking a “soft block”, we at OffG are more than familiar with twitter’s use of “warnings”, no they literally made it impossible to share the links, even in DMs. If you try, you get his warning:

We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our Help Center to learn more.”

We’ve talked about twitter’s “partners” before, and they are suspect. As for being “potentially harmful”, well isn’t that subjective? Fire is vital at times, but certainly “potentially harmful” at others. Water, in sufficient quantity, is “potentially harmful”.

If you’re a liar, the truth is “potentially harmful”.

Facebook has followed suit, if in less sweeping fashion. The social media giant’s spokesperson Andy Stone announced that they would be:

“… reducing its distribution on our platform. This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.

This decision is pending approval by their “independent fact-checkers”, which we have also covered in detail before.

*

So what are the social media companies’ excuses reasons for blocking this content?

Well, it depends who you ask.

Twitter claims that since the emails are potentially “hacked”, posting them violates their policy regarding illegally gathered material. (Interestingly this policy was never applied to Trump’s leaked tax returns.)

Facebook, on the other hand, claim to have blocked these stories because they might be “misinformation”. A truly ludicrous precedent to set. You can’t block something that might not be true, because that applies to literally almost everything.

You do have to admire the strategy though. The pincer movement is brilliant.

You see, one site is blocking them because they might not be real, the other because if they are real then they’re stolen. It’s a win-win situation.

Essentially, real or not, the tech giants have all the bases covered and there’s no way they are going to let people read those emails, or even stories about the emails. Twitter even blocked the account of the Whitehouse Spokesperson Kayleigh MacEnany for sharing the links.

Of course, moving forward this will not just apply to these emails, but anything they want.

More and more precedents are rolling out that social media companies can stop anyone from saying anything by applying their absurdly vague and subjective rules.

They have essentially given themselves license to block anything they want on a totally ad hoc basis, and because it’s being done in the name of “orange man bad” or combatting “hate speech”, an army of useful idiots are happy to go along with it. Even calling it a win for progressive values.

The mainstream cheered on twitter earlier this year when they started (incorrectly) “fact-checking” Donald Trump’s tweets concerning postal voting. We wrote then that it was a scary and potentially damaging idea. This is why.

We now have mega-corporations, who possess neither democratic mandate nor public accountability, controlling what elected officials can and cannot say in public. The political discourse of our society has become subject to the approval of “independent fact-checkers” created by billionaires and staffed by the Deep State.

Which is exactly what we’ve been warning about, for years.

*

It all makes you wonder – what exactly is the point of this story?

Are we just witnessing surface tremors of the deeper internal conflict in the Deep State, just as we saw in 2016?

Or is it meant to distract everyone with salacious details of a corruption scandal we all already knew about, while ever-more of our online freedoms are taken away?

This story probably isn’t going away any time soon. For one thing, we can expect that someone is going to accuse Russia of somehow being involved in the very near future.

… oh, they already did. I guess we’re in for Russiagate II then. Fun times.

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Battlefield Social Media: The West’s Growing Censorship

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 08.10.2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consensus or Else 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Transforming Back into Programmed Media 

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

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

Private Public Squares? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter is Blocking Access to OffGuardian’s Content

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | October 3, 2020

Twitter is blocking all links to OffGuardian with an incredibly vague and highly dishonest “warning”, they have been doing it for weeks and we have never received any notice or explanation. It is a blatant attempt at censorship, and it needs to stop.

Any of you who follow us on social media have probably become more than familiar with this screen:

… it appears every time you click on any of our articles on twitter.

Note the vague language – “potentially spammy”, “could fall into”. They don’t even definitely say there is anything wrong, let alone what it actually is.

Since we can obviously rule out malicious software, phishing, spam and “violent content”, the only thing we can concluded is that we supposedly “violated” one of twitter’s rules. Since they don’t see fit to tells us which of their rules we’ve broken, let’s just inspect them all. They are right here in black and white and are fairly predictable:

  1. No child exploitation or child pornography
  2. No promotion of illegal practices
  3. No violence or promotion of violence
  4. No hate speech or threats
  5. No posting private information without consent
  6. No abuse or harassment
  7. No hacking, spam or fraud
  8. No plagiarism or copyright infringement

It’s all very basic stuff, and anyone even passingly familiar with our site could tell you we have never come close to breaking any of those rules. (We would be happy to argue this with anyone who comes forward to accuse us of anything specific).

Of course, none of this is accidental – the vagueness is entirely intentional. They don’t accuse us of anything specific, because then we cannot give a specific refutation (youtube does the same thing all the time, they will say your video “violated our community guidelines”, but they will never say how.)

This is actually even more dishonest than youtube – which is a hell of a thing to say – because twitter is going further, implying we have engaged in borderline illegal behaviour.

The most revealing details here are actually buried deep with the rabbit-warren of “help pages” on twitter.

First, there’s the way they “surface links” (meaning identify URLs which might be “dangerous”). Their methods include [our emphasis]:

Collaborative information sharing with industry peers and trusted NGO partners

They don’t say who their “trusted NGO partners” are, but we can probably guess…and we really don’t need to know the specifics to see how potentially corrupt that is.

Second, there’s this quote from the section headed “about links that have warning notices” [again, our emphasis]:

In some instances, Twitter will introduce a warning that the link may be unsafe. The warning notice can be clicked through if you wish to proceed to the third-party site. When a link has been categorized by Twitter as meeting the criteria for a warning notice, it will also have limited visibility on Twitter.

“Limited visibility” means twitter is actively hiding our content. Specifically – they are concealing it on people’s timelines and suppressing in search results.

To sum up:

  • Twitter is suppressing our content in searches and blocking links to our articles.
  • This decision was informed by unnamed third party “partners” – perhaps including unknown NGOs – and based on unspecified criteria.
  • They have been doing it for months, without ever notifying us, or giving us any option for appeal or review.
  • We don’t know of what we are accused and we have been given no method or avenue for defending ourselves.

This is authoritarian censorship, pure and simple.

But, as the saying goes, “When you’re taking flak you know you’re over the target”

October 3, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 3 Comments

If you can’t beat them, ban them: Twitter no longer showing search results from well-known Russian state news agency RIA Novosti

By Jonny Tickle | RT | September 28, 2020

Twitter has shadow-banned well-known Russian news agency RIA Novosti. In practice, the move means users will no longer see the agency’s tweets in the website’s search results, unless they follow the media organization’s account.

The removal of RIA Novosti’s tweets from the search function has been called “media censorship,” as the social network continues to restrict news outlets it considers to be “Russian state-affiliated.” Last month, both RT and Sputnik also faced the same suppression.

“We consider such restrictions on the part of Twitter to be an act of media censorship, which is expressly prohibited by the Russian Constitution,” the press service of Rossiya Segodnya, the parent company of RIA Novosti, said on Monday. “The social network does not react to our requests and does not explain its decisions.”

This latest move against Russian media has been criticized by independent Russian Senator Alexander Bashkin, who called the decision “open censorship,” accusing Twitter of “double standards.”

“This is a real information war,” he insisted.

In August, Twitter announced that it would be labeling accounts of key government officials of the five UN Security Council members, as well as state-linked media and their senior staff. This caused controversy when the company opted to label RT and Sputnik as ‘state-affiliated,’ but left the likes of BBC and US state-run Voice of America and RFE/RL alone.

Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that Russian correspondents abroad are “openly discriminated against,” highlighting issues in France and the Baltic states.

September 28, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Twitter’s public policy director reportedly leaves social media giant to join Biden transition team

RT | September 18, 2020

Twitter’s public policy director has left the massive social media platform for a job on the Joe Biden transition team, which will help the Democratic challenger ease into office in case he defeats Donald Trump in November.

While it’s unclear what role he will play on the team, Carlos Monje has helped to host fundraisers for the Biden campaign and has been hired to assist with his potential transition to the White House, Politico reported on Thursday, citing “a person familiar with the move.” Monje, who is also co-chair on Biden’s infrastructure policy committee, has yet to comment on the report.

Before landing the position at Twitter, Monje worked for a number of high-profile Democratic politicians, serving on Hillary Clinton’s transition team during her failed 2016 presidential bid and as deputy policy director for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. He was hired as a special assistant to Obama after his 2008 victory, working on his Domestic Policy Council, and later in the Transportation Department.

Though Twitter insists it remains politically neutral in the way it manages its platform, the company has been accused of leaning toward the Democratic Party. Federal records cited by the New York Post revealed that the firm’s corporate PAC donations went almost solely to Democrats during the 2018 election cycle, while company executives have also given generously to the party as individuals. Twitter Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, for example, donated the maximum amount allowed by law to the Obama and Clinton campaigns, and in 2016 gave $2,700 to Kamala Harris – who is now Joe Biden’s running mate – for her successful Senate bid. CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey also reportedly donates exclusively to Democrats.

Critics of the social media monolith have accused the company of targeting conservative voices with bans and suspensions, while some have pointed to disclaimers repeatedly appended to President Trump’s tweets as evidence of bias. The notices have included “fact checks” and warnings about “manipulated media,” special measures the platform has not applied to any other presidential candidate.

September 18, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

French progressive outlet says Twitter falsely labeled it ‘RUSSIAN STATE MEDIA’ after Russiagate report

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | September 14, 2020

Right after running a story criticizing the French coverage of ‘Russiagate,’ a progressive Euroskeptic outlet got labeled by Twitter as Russian state-affiliated media. A case of mistaken identity, or content-based censorship?

Ruptures is a French journal that describes itself as progressive and “radically Eurocritical.” It has been around for almost 20 years, changing its name from Bastille-République-Nations to Ruptures in 2015.

Less than an hour after publishing a story about the French media coverage of ‘Russiagate’ – the entirely unsubstantiated claim about US President Donald Trump colluding with Moscow during the 2016 elections – last week, Ruptures found itself labeled “Russian state-affiliated media” by Twitter.

Ruptures immediately reached out to Twitter France and protested that this label was a calumny of their “independent, subscriber-funded monthly,” journalist Lauren Daure told RT in an email.

“No explanations so far from Twitter despite our requests,” Daure added.

Twitter instituted the labeling program on August 6, but only for select outlets – those operated by the US, UK, French or German governments, for example, somehow escaped the designation. Twitter also said that accounts thus designated will not be promoted through its recommendation systems, such as “home timeline, notifications, and search.”

In practice, this severely limits the visibility of the designated accounts, while the label itself serves to “intimidate” the readers – according to none other than the head of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty. Admittedly, she was commenting on a proposed Russian rule that would simply label her outlet – part of the US government’s global broadcasting system – as a foreign agent, without any restrictions on visibility.

That’s the jam Ruptures finds itself in, and no one – at Twitter or elsewhere – has offered any reason as to why. The possibilities range from ridiculous to sinister. In what could be a case of mistaken identity, perhaps someone at Twitter France made a category error and conflated Ruptures with Ruptly, the video news agency that’s part of the RT family.

While that is bad enough, the other option is infinitely worse: that someone at Twitter France decided Ruptures amounted to “Russian state-affiliated media” based on the content of their article about ‘Russiagate.’ Then there is the fact that Ruptures’ editor-in-chief Pierre Levy once had an op-ed published on RT Russian – way back in October 2017! – about sanctions as information warfare.

Whatever the reason, the label effectively amounts to “soft” censorship of Ruptures. It also goes far beyond what US laws envisioned as acting “in good faith” when they made platforms like Twitter immune from legal liability (in the controversial Section 230). At the very least, Twitter owes Ruptures an explanation. A week after they were branded, they’re still waiting.

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | Leave a comment