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The 600 influential Russian Twitter bots narrative was pushed by mainstream media. Twitter executives knew it was false.

But kept quiet.

By Cindy Harper | Reclaim The Net | January 27, 2023

New  Files revelations show that the Twitter accounts on a list from the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) that were supposed to be of Russian bots were far from it. While Twitter had evidence to prove that the accounts weren’t Russian bots, employees kept quiet, afraid to go against mainstream media narrative.

The ASD describes itself as an organization that comes up with “strategies for government, private sector, and civil society to defend against, deter, and raise the costs on foreign state actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions.” Its advisors are the likes of Michael Chertoff, who worked in the George W. Bush administration as Secretary of Homeland Security, Mike McFaul (who worked in the Obama administration as US Ambassador to ,) commentator Bill Kristol, and Hillary Clinton advisers Jake Sullivan and John Podesta.

ASD said that Hamilton 68, the name of a dashboard that’s supposed to monitor Russian bots on Twitter, was monitoring 600 Russian bots on the platform.

The idea of the 600 Russian bots listed on the dashboard was widespread throughout mainstream media.

“What makes this an important story is the sheer scale of the news footprint left by Hamilton 68’s digital McCarthyism. The quantity of headlines and TV segments dwarfs the impact of individual fabulists like Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass,” wrote journalist Matt Taibbi of Racket, who today released evidence about Twitter employees’ decision to keep quiet the fact that the information pushed by the mainstream media was false.

“Hamilton 68 was used as a source to assert Russian influence in an astonishing array of news stories: support for Brett Kavanaugh or the Devin Nunes memo, the Parkland shooting, manipulation of black voters, ‘attacks’ on the Mueller investigation…” Taibbi added.

“These stories raised fears in the population, and most insidious of all, were used to smear people like Tulsi Gabbard as foreign ‘assets,’ and drum up sympathy for political causes like ’s campaign by describing critics as Russian-aligned.”

Taibbi highlighted how even “fact-checkers” used the dubious source for their own reports: “It was a lie. The illusion of Russian support was created by tracking people like Joe Lauria, Sonia Monsour, and Dave Shestokas. Virtually every major American news organization cited these fake tales— even fact-checking sites like Snopes and Politifact.”

The reports, widely pushed by the mainstream media, were untrue and Twitter executives, who had access to more information about what was going on behind the scenes with the Twitter accounts, didn’t want to disrupt the narrative for fear they would receive negative reporting.

“In layman’s terms, the Hamilton 68 barely had any Russians. In fact, apart from a few RT accounts, it’s mostly full of ordinary Americans, Canadians, and British,” Taibbi wrote.

Taibbi published email evidence that shows Twitter’s controversial former Trust and Safety chief, Yoel Roth, realizing the list was incorrect.

The dashboard “falsely accuses a bunch of legitimate right-leaning accounts of being Russian bots,” he wrote. “I think we need to just call this out on the bullshit it is…

“I think it may make sense for us to revisit the idea of more actively refuting the dashboard. It’s a collection of right-leaning legitimate users that are being used to paint a polarizing and inaccurate picture of conversation on Twitter.”

But despite Roth’s clear realization about the inaccuracy about one of the biggest narratives of the last few years, he ultimately stayed quiet, Taibbi notes.

“We have to be careful in how much we push back on ASD publicly,” said one company official.

Taibbi noted how the false narrative made its way into the heart of US politics: “Perhaps most embarrassingly, elected officials promoted the site, and invited Hamilton ‘experts’ to testify. Dianne Feinstein, James Lankford, Richard Blumenthal, Adam Schiff, and Mark Warner were among the offenders.”

January 27, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elon Musk agreed to EU’s censorship laws, France’s digital minister says

By Dan Frieth | Reclaim The Net | January 8, 2023

French digital transition minister Jean-Noel Barrot visited  owner  to discuss compliance with European censorship rules.

Barrot tweeted that he visited Musk after attending CES in Las Vegas on Saturday. The French minister claimed that Musk said Twitter would comply with EU laws.

“At Twitter headquarters, Elon Musk confirmed to me his intention to comply with European rules, and his commitments on content moderation, the fight against disinformation, and the protection of children,” he wrote in a tweet that included a photo of himself and the Twitter CEO.

Since Musk took over Twitter in late October, he has made several changes, including rolling back Covid censorship policies and laying off members of staff.

Shortly after Musk took over, European Commissioner Thierry Breton warned that the platform had to adhere to the bloc’s speech rules.

Last year, the EU passed the Digital Services Act (DSA), a regulation that will require online platforms to take down harmful content immediately and suspend users who repeatedly violate the rules.

The law will take effect in 2024.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Germany’s digital minister meets with Elon Musk, says Musk “agreed” to EU’s censorship laws

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | January 5, 2023

Germany’s Minister for Digital and Transport Volker Wissing said that he is less worried about Twitter under Elon Musk’s leadership after meeting with the CEO in San Francisco.

“Thanks @elonmusk for a constructive conversation in San Francisco. My stance is clear: the platforms’ self-commitment against #disinformation must be strictly adhered to until the #DSA comes into force. Elon Musk agreed with me,” Wissing tweeted.

The DSA (Digital Services Act), expected to come into effect in February 2024, requires, among other things, platforms to remove “harmful” content immediately. The legislation aims to protect consumers from content considered harmful as well as illegal content.

In a December interview, Wissing, the General Secretary of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), expressed concerns about Musk’s leadership of Twitter and said that he was undecided on whether he would continue using the platform.

Since taking over in late October, Musk has made some changes that censorship-lovers some might deem controversial. He rolled back the COVID-19 misinformation policy and reinstated some previously banned accounts, including the account of former US President Donald Trump.

In a letter to the EU Commission, Sven Giegold, the State Secretary for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, raised concerns about abrupt changes at Twitter and the relaxation of censorship policies.

January 5, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Twitter lawyer Jim Baker wanted to know why Trump wasn’t censored for tweet saying “don’t fear Covid”

Twitter execs had to explain why optimism isn’t a violation of the rules

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim The Net | December 27, 2022

Lawyer James Baker, formerly of the FBI and working for  until recently – and an excellent example of the “revolving door” policy happening between Big Tech and “Big Government” – shows up in several censorship controversies that have come to light thanks to the release of the “Twitter Files.”

In the fall of 2020, Baker was Twitter’s deputy general counsel with an eye on President ’s account and apparently looking for just about any way to silence him, even when Trump’s tweets sought to lift people’s spirits at the peak of the pandemic and lockdowns.

On October 4, 2020, Trump was about to leave the hospital where he was treated for Covid for several days, and tweeted about this, telling 86 million followers that he was feeling well, and advising them not to be afraid of Covid, or allow it to dominate their lives.

“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!,” the president’s optimistic tweet read.

However, the content of the published internal communications suggest that Baker – whom one of the journalists now releasing Twitter Files says was “one of the most powerful people” in the US intelligence community – wanted you to be afraid.

Soon after Trump posted his message, Baker emailed Yoel Roth, who was at the time head of Twitter’s Trust & Safety, asking why the tweet was not considered a violation of the social site’s Covid policies.

“Why isn’t this POTUS tweet a violation of our COVID-19 policy (especially the ‘Don’t be afraid of COVID’ statement)?,” Baker quizzed the Twitter exec.

Roth’s response was that Trump had made “a broad, optimistic statement” which could not be interpreted as a violation since it didn’t encourage his followers to do anything harmful or even not to wear masks.

That tweet eventually stayed up, but Baker had better luck in convincing those at Twitter responsible for suppressing the New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, by misleading them to believe the laptop’s contents were “likely” inauthentic.

For this, Baker might be investigated by Republican congressmen, who suggested this earlier in December.

And the former FBI and DoJ man even tried to “review” the documents that are now being released as “Twitter Files” – before he was let go by .

December 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Every social media company censoring for government – Elon Musk

RT | December 27, 2022

All social media platforms work with the US government to censor content, Twitter CEO Elon Musk claimed on Tuesday. Documents released by Musk following his purchase of Twitter showed that the platform colluded with the FBI, CIA, Pentagon and other government agencies to suppress information on elections, Ukraine, and Covid-19.

“*Every* social media company is engaged in heavy censorship, with significant involvement of and, at times, explicit direction of the government,” Musk tweeted, adding that “Google frequently makes links disappear, for example.”

Musk was referring to internal Twitter communications published by journalist Matt Taibbi, which suggested that the platform’s senior executives held regular meetings with members of the FBI and CIA, during which the agencies gave them lists of “hundreds of problem accounts” to suspend in the runup to the 2020 election.

In addition to Twitter, the government was in contact “with virtually every major tech firm,” Taibbi claimed. “These included Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, even Pinterest.” CIA agents “nearly always” sat in on meetings of these firms with the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, Taibbi claimed, explaining that although this task force was convened to fight alleged election interference by foreign states, it made “mountains of domestic moderation requests.”

lawsuit filed earlier this year by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana alleges that officials from no fewer than 12 government agencies met weekly with representatives of Twitter, Facebook, and other Big Tech firms in 2020 to decide which narratives and users to censor, with topics ranging from alleged election interference to Covid-19.

A self-described “free speech absolutist,” Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion in October. He has since released batches of documents shedding light on the platform’s previously opaque censorship policies. Published by several independent journalists, these document dumps have shown how Twitter suppressed information damaging to Joe Biden’s election campaign, colluded with the FBI to remove content the agency wanted hidden, assisted the US military’s online influence campaigns, and censored “anti-Ukraine narratives” on behalf of multiple US intelligence agencies.

The FBI said last week that correspondence between its agents and Twitter staff “show nothing more than examples of our tradition [of] longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements.”

The White House has refused to answer allegations that the FBI directed Twitter to censor information damaging to Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign.

December 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

FBI COINTELPRO Is Back, And Worse Than Ever

By Jim Bovard | The Libertarian Institute | December 27, 2022

Elon Musk has opened the floodgates to expose the FBI’s latest war on Americans’ freedom of speech. The FBI massively intervened to pressure Twitter to suppress accounts and tweets from individuals the FBI disapproved of, including parody accounts. The FBI and other federal agencies also browbeat Facebook, Instagram, and many other social media companies.

Thus far, most of the American corporate media has ignored or downplayed the story, known as the Twitter Files. Since many of the individuals who the FBI got squelched were pro-Trump, the violation of their rights is a non-issue (or a cause for quiet celebration). At this point, it is difficult to know whether the scant reaction to the Twitter Files is the result of political bias, collective amnesia, or simply a total ignorance of American history.

The history of the FBI provides the best guide to the abuses that may be now occurring. From 1956 to 1971, the FBI carried out “a secret war against those citizens it considers threats to the established order,” a 1976 Senate report noted. The FBI’s Operation COINTELPRO involved thousands of covert operations to incite street warfare between violent groups, to get people fired, to portray innocent people as government informants, to destroy activists’ marriages, and to cripple or destroy left-wing, black, communist, white racist, and anti-war organizations. The FBI let no corner of American life escape its vigilance; it even worked to expose and discredit “communists who are secretly operating in legitimate organizations and employments, such as the Young Men’s Christian Association and Boy Scouts.”

While many people are aware of how the FBI hounded Martin Luther King Jr. and pressured him to commit suicide, that was not even the tip of the iceberg of the FBI’s racial persecution. Almost any black organization could be targeted for illegal wiretaps. One black leader was monitored largely because he had “recommended the possession of firearms by members for their self-protection.” At that time, some southern police departments and sheriffs were notorious for attacking blacks who stood up for their civil rights.

The FBI office in San Diego instigated violence between the local Black Panthers and a rival black organization, US (United Slaves Inc.). Agents sent forged letters making accusations and threats to the groups purportedly from their rivals, along with crude cartoons and drawings meant to enrage the recipients. Three Black Panthers and one member of the US were killed during the time the FBI was fanning the flames. A few days after shootings in which two Panthers were wounded and one was killed, and in which the US headquarters was bombed, the FBI office reported to headquarters: “Efforts are being made to determine how this situation can be capitalized upon for the benefit of the Counterintelligence Program.” The FBI office bragged shortly thereafter: “Shootings, beatings, and a high degree of unrest continues to prevail in the ghetto area of southeast San Diego… it is felt that a substantial amount of the unrest is directly attributable to this [FBI] program.”

The FBI set up a Ghetto Informant Program that continued after COINTELPRO and that had 7,402 informants, including proprietors of candy stores and barbershops, as of September 1972. The informants served as “listening posts” “to identify extremists passing through or locating in the ghetto area, to identify purveyors of extremist literature,” and to keep an eye on “Afro-American type bookstores” (including obtaining the names of the bookstore’s “clientele”). The informants’ reports were stockpiled in the FBI’s Racial Intelligence Unit. The FBI also created a national “Rabble Rouser” Index, a “major intelligence program… to identify ‘demagogues.’”

The FBI targeted the women’s liberation movement, resulting in “intensive reporting on the identities and opinions of women who attended” women’s lib meetings. One FBI informant reported to headquarters of a meeting in New York: “Each woman at this meeting stated why she had come to the meeting and how she felt oppressed, sexually or otherwise… They are mostly against marriage, children, and other states of oppression caused by men.” Women’s lib informants were instructed to “go to meetings, write up reports… to try to identify the background of every person there… [and] who they were sleeping with.” The Senate report noted that “the intensive FBI investigation of the Women’s Liberation Movement was predicated on the theory that the activities of women in that Movement might lead to demonstrations and violence.”

The FBI took a shotgun approach toward protesters partly because of its “belief that dissident speech and association should be prevented because they were incipient steps toward the possible ultimate commission of an act which might be criminal.” Some FBI agents may have viewed dissident speech or protests as a “gateway drug” to blowing up the Washington Monument. The Senate report noted that the clearest FBI COINTELPRO constitutional violations consisted of “targeting speakers, teachers, writers or publications, and meetings or peaceful demonstrations… The cases include attempts (sometimes successful) to get university and high school teachers fired… to prevent the distribution of books, newspapers, or periodicals; to disrupt peaceful demonstrations, including… most of the large antiwar marches.”

The FBI especially loathed any opposition to the Vietnam War. The bureau ordered field offices in 1968 to gather information illustrating the “scurrilous and depraved nature of many of the characters, activities, habits, and living conditions representative of New Left adherents.” FBI agents were told: “Every avenue of possible embarrassment must be vigorously and enthusiastically explored. It cannot be expected that information of this type will be easily obtained, and an imaginative approach by your personnel is imperative to its success.” One FBI internal newsletter encouraged agents to conduct more interviews with antiwar activists “for plenty of reasons, chief of which are it will enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles and will further serve to get the point across that there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox.”

An FBI memo warned that “the anarchist activities of a few can paralyze institutions of learning, [conscription] induction centers, cripple traffic, and tie the arms of law enforcement officials, all to the detriment of our society.” The FBI declared: “The New Left has on many occasions viciously and scurrilously attacked the Director [J. Edgar Hoover] and the Bureau in an attempt to hamper our investigation of it and to drive us off the college campuses.”

Other federal agencies also trampled citizens’ privacy, rights, and lives during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The IRS used COINTELPRO leads to launch audits against thousands of suspected political enemies of the Nixon administration. The U.S. Army set up its own surveillance program, creating files on 100,000 Americans and targeting domestic organizations such as the Young Americans for Freedom, the John Birch Society, and the Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai B’rith. Nixon aide Tom Charles Huston, testifying to Congress in 1973, lamented the FBI’s tendency “to move from the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going down the line.”

Throughout the COINTELPRO era, presidents, congressmen, and other high-ranking federal officials assured Americans that the federal government was obeying the law and upholding the Constitution. It took a burglary of an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania to break the biggest scandal in the history of federal law enforcement. After hundreds of pages of confidential records were commandeered, the “Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI” began passing out the incriminating documents to the media. The shocking material sparked congressional and news investigations that eventually (temporarily) shattered the FBI’s legendary ability to control its own image.

The Senate report on COINTELPRO concluded: “Only a combination of legislative prohibition and Departmental control can guarantee that COINTELPRO will not happen again.” But the Ford administration derailed legislative reforms by promising an administrative fix. In 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft threw out many of those reforms as part of “a concerted effort to free the [FBI] field agents… from the bureaucratic, organizational, and operational restrictions” imposed after their prior abuses. Ashcroft declared: “In its 94-year history, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been… the tireless protector of civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans.” The same tripe has been uttered by many Democrats and liberals in the last five years.

The FBI’s latest war on wrong-thinking Americans took off after the FBI helped fabricate the narrative that the Russian government conspired with the Trump presidential campaign to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The 1976 Senate report noted that COINTELPRO’s origins “are rooted in the Bureau’s jurisdiction to investigate hostile foreign intelligence activities on American soil” and that the FBI used the “techniques of wartime.” William Sullivan, former assistant to the FBI director, declared, “No holds were barred…We have used [these techniques] against Soviet agents… [The same methods were] brought home against any organization against which we were targeted. We did not differentiate.” Senate investigators warned in 1976 that the “FBI intelligence system developed to a point where no one inside or outside the bureau was willing or able to tell the difference between legitimate national security or law enforcement information and purely political intelligence.”

In our time, FBI officials pressured Twitter to suppress Americans based on false claims of fighting foreign influence. The same pretext was used by the Department of Homeland Security to massively suppress Americans’ criticism of election procedures (especially mail-in ballots) for the 2020 presidential election.

One of the biggest “misses” in the media coverage of the Twitter Files is the stunning failure of Congress to expose the abuses that Elon Musk is revealing. A few months ago, FBI director Christopher Wray, facing vigorous questioning from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and others, walked out of a Senate oversight hearing claiming that he had an urgent appointment he must keep. It was later revealed that Wray’s “appointment” was hopping on an FBI jet for a family vacation. Congress punished the FBI with a $570 million budget increase, plowing $11.3 billion into its coffers in the coming year.

Is Congress terrified of the FBI nowadays like congressmen were in the COINTELPRO era? In 1971, House Majority Leader Hale Boggs revealed the shameless kowtowing on Capitol Hill: “Our very fear of speaking out [against the FBI]… has watered the roots and hastened the growth of a vine of tyranny… Our society cannot survive a planned and programmed fear of its own government bureaus and agencies.” Boggs vindicated a 1924 American Civil Liberties Union warning that the FBI had become “a secret police system of a political character.” (The Louisiana congressman died a year later in an apparent plane crash.)

But old quotes provide no protection against new depredations. The Twitter Files prove that G-men have been off the leash for years. We still have no idea how far the FBI and other federal agencies have gone to suppress our freedom of speech. Until federal abuses are fully exposed, Americans would be damn fools to believe their constitutional rights are safe.

Jim Bovard is the author of Public Policy Hooligan (2012), Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994), and 7 other books. He is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and other publications. His articles have been publicly denounced by the chief of the FBI, the Postmaster General, the Secretary of HUD, and the heads of the DEA, FEMA, and EEOC and numerous federal agencies.

December 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Russophobia | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran, Syria, Yemen: Twitter’s collaboration with the US military in information warfare

The damning exposure of collusion between the Pentagon and Twitter raises further suspicions about Washington’s ongoing online operations in West Asia

By Kit Klarenberg | The Cradle | December 27, 2022

The Cradle has previously deconstructed the Pentagon’s online bot and troll operations targeting Iran. These wide-ranging efforts, over many years, sought to destabilize the Iranian government by disseminating and inciting negative sentiment against it, on a variety of social media platforms.

Their exposure led to the White House demanding an internal audit of all Department of Defense (DoD) “psychological operations online.” Ostensibly, this was triggered by high-level concerns that Washington’s “moral high ground” was potentially compromised by the “manipulation of audiences overseas.”

The audit was revealed in a Washington Post article, the details of which pointed to a very different rationale. One passage noted that representatives of Facebook and Twitter directly informed the Pentagon, repeatedly, over several years, that its psychological warfare efforts on their platforms had been detected and identified as such.

Weaponizing social media

Frustratingly, the focus wasn’t even that these operations were being conducted in the first place, but that the Pentagon got busted doing so.

For example, Facebook’s Director of Global Threat Disruption, David Agranovich, who spent six years at the Pentagon before serving as the US National Security Council’s Director for Intelligence, reportedly reached out to the DoD in the summer of 2020, warning his former colleagues that “if Facebook could sniff them out, so could US adversaries.”

“His point was, ‘Guys, you got caught. That’s a problem,’” an individual “familiar with the conversation” told the Washington Post.

The obvious takeout from this excerpt – unnoticed by any mainstream journalist at the time – was that Facebook and Twitter staffers actively welcome their platforms being weaponized in information warfare campaigns, as long as it’s the US intelligence community doing it, and they don’t get caught in flagrante.

Moreover, in the event they are compromised, those same social network luminaries readily provide intimate insight on how US spooks can improve their operational security, and better conceal their activities from foreign enemies. Unmentioned is that these “foes” include tens of millions of ordinary people who are the ultimate target of such malign initiatives, of which residents of West Asia are preponderant victims.

‘Whitelisting’

Internal emails and documents from Twitter, published by journalist Lee Fang, have now confirmed that Twitter executives not only approved of the Pentagon’s network of troll and bot accounts, but also provided significant internal protection for them through “whitelisting.”

This practice allowed these ‘superpower accounts’ to operate with impunity, despite breaking numerous platform rules and behaving egregiously. The “whitelist” status also effectively granted these accounts the algorithmic and amplificatory privileges of Twitter verification without a “blue check.”

As The Cradle previously reported, these accounts over many years sought to influence perceptions and behavior across West Asia, in particular Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. In many cases, users had “deepfake” profile photos – mocked up pictures of realistic human faces generated by artificial intelligence.

Target: West Asia

In respect to Twitter-enabled activities against Tehran, multiple different personae were formed to attack the Iranian government from different ideological and political positions. These were not your standard ‘opposition’ accounts – the ops were more sophisticated. Some posed as ultra-conservative Shia Muslims critical of the administration’s “liberal” policies; others as progressive radicals condemning the extent of the Republic’s enforcement of Islamic code.

Many users amplified Washington’s disinformation, disseminated by US government-funded Voice of America’s Farsi-language service, among a myriad of other US funded and directed propaganda platforms. All along, Twitter higher-ups were aware of these accounts, but did not shut them down and even protected them.

The impact of the collaboration between Twitter and the Pentagon on the tweets that users around the world saw and did not see is unknown, but likely significant. Twitter staff were aware of what they were doing.

For example, in July 2017, an official from the Pentagon’s central command for West Asia and North Africa (CENTCOM) emailed the social media network to request the “blue check” verification of one account and the “whitelisting” of 52 accounts that “we use to amplify certain messages.”

The official was concerned that some of these accounts, “a few” of which “had built a real following,” were no longer “indexing on hashtags.” He moreover requested “priority service” for several accounts, including the since-deleted @YemenCurrent, which broadcast announcements about US drone strikes in Yemen. The account emphasized how “accurate” these attacks were; that they only killed dangerous terrorists, never civilians – a hallmark of US drone war propaganda.

Of course, US drone strikes are anything but precise. In fact, declassified Pentagon documents indicate there was “an institutional acceptance of an inevitable collateral toll,” and that innocent people were killed indiscriminately.

In 2014, it was calculated that, in attempting to slay 41 specific, named individuals, Washington had murdered 1,147 people, among them many children – a rate of 28 deaths for every person targeted.

‘Misleading, deceptive, and spammy’

In June 2020, Twitter spokesperson Nick Pickles testified to the US House Intelligence Committee on the company’s determined efforts to end any and all “coordinated platform manipulation efforts” on the part of hostile enemy states, stating these efforts were his employer’s “top priority.”

“Our goal is to remove bad faith actors and to advance public understanding of these critical topics. Twitter defines state-backed information operations as coordinated platform manipulation efforts that can be attributed with a high degree of confidence to state-affiliated actors,” he declared.

“State-backed information operations are typically associated with misleading, deceptive, and spammy behavior. These behaviors differentiate coordinated manipulative behavior from legitimate speech on behalf of individuals and political parties.”

The following month, however, Twitter executives were invited by the Pentagon to attend classified briefings in a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) to discuss the defense of the Pentagon’s “coordinated and manipulative” social media activities.

Then-Twitter lawyer Stacia Cardille noted in an internal email the Pentagon may be seeking to retroactively classify its malign online activities “to obfuscate their activity in this space, and this may represent an overclassification to avoid embarrassment.”

Jim Baker, then-deputy general counsel of Twitter and an FBI veteran, subsequently noted that the DoD had employed “poor tradecraft” in setting up numerous Twitter accounts, and was now covering its tracks in order to prevent anyone finding out multiple users “are linked to each other” or to the US government, one way or another.

“DoD might want to give us a timetable for shutting them down in a more prolonged way that will not compromise any ongoing operations or reveal their connections to DoD,” he speculated.

Free speech absolutism

So it was the compromised accounts that were permitted to stay active, spreading disinformation and distorting the public mind all the while. Some even remain extant to this day.

To say the least, Twitter executives were well-aware that their eager and enthusiastic support of Pentagon psyops would not be received well if publicized. Shortly before the September Washington Post report on the DoD’s audit of these efforts, Twitter lawyers and lobbyists were alerted by a company communications executive about the forthcoming exposé.

After the Post story was published, Twitter staffers congratulated themselves and each other over how effectively the company concealed its role in covering up CENTCOM’s deeds, with one communications official thanking a welter of executives “for doing all that you could to manage this one,” noting with relief the story “didn’t seem to get too much traction.”

Were it not for the series of #TwitterFiles disclosures since Elon Musk controversially took over the company, these dark, shameful secrets would likely have remained buried forever. The full extent of the company’s mephitic collusion with US intelligence agencies, and the comparable, simultaneous collaboration of every major social network, must now be told in full.

December 27, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Twitter pushed the Pentagon’s Middle East war propaganda, and both will likely get away with it

By Daniel Kovalik | RT | December 26, 2022

Information continues to roll out about how Twitter knowingly became a conduit for US propaganda efforts abroad that only serve to produce more violence and chaos. Sadly, this news has seemingly been greeted with a collective yawn by both the US corporate press and the American public.

A recent article by The Intercept details how Twitter facilitated efforts by US Central Command, or CENTCOM, a division of the US Defense Department, to spread propaganda, particularly in and about the Middle East using fake accounts posing as private individuals in the region. These accounts were given special treatment by Twitter, which accorded them the same privileges as ‘blue-checked’ verified accounts, which, as The Intercept article describes, “would have bestowed a number of advantages, such as invulnerability to algorithmic bots that flag accounts for spam or abuse, as well as other strikes that lead to decreased visibility or suspension.” And, of course, this was being done at a time when Twitter was deleting hundreds of accounts it viewed as associated with the Russian government and designating other such accounts as “Russian-state affiliated media” even when, as in the case of some of my friends, such as Fiorella Isabel, these accounts were of private individuals writing in their own, personal capacity.

One example of an account given “priority service” by Twitter was @yemencurrent (now deleted), which, among other things, “had emphasized that U.S. drone strikes were ‘accurate’ and killed terrorists, not civilians, and promoted the U.S. and Saudi-backed assault on Houthi rebels in that country.” Such a whitewashing of the US-Saudi war on Yemen – a war barely covered in the US press and therefore barely known to most Americans – is especially infuriating given that that war has been marked by the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure on a colossal scale and by the US government’s willful failure to even properly account for civilian casualties.

The US’ own Government Accountability Office has, in a restricted-access document reported upon by the New York Times in June, concluded that, since the war began in 2015, “[t]he State Department and the Defense Department have failed to assess civilian casualties caused by a Saudi-led coalition in the catastrophic war in Yemen and the use of American-made weapons in the killings . . . .” The NYT also reported that earlier, “in August 2020, the State Department inspector general issued a report that said the department had failed to take proper measures to reduce civilian deaths.” The result has been an estimated 150,000+ deaths, including nearly 15,000 civilians, and one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises in history.

And yet, Twitter aided and abetted CENTCOM’s misinformation campaign through fake accounts claiming that civilians were somehow not being harmed by US-manufactured weapons – claims that deceive American taxpayers about the war they are bankrolling, and which are designed to prime the government pumps for more aid to this unholy conflict that President Biden had promised to stop funding.

According to The Intercept article, other fake CENTCOM accounts given priority by Twitter “focused on promoting U.S.-supported militias in Syria and anti-Iran messages in Iraq.” Again, few Americans are aware that many of these militia groups the US has backed in Syria, while claiming to be “moderate rebels,” have themselves carried out terrible atrocities against civilians in that country. Fake Twitter accounts promoting such militia groups only further obfuscate this subject.

As for the “anti-Iran messages in Iraq” and elsewhere, The Intercept explains that, as reported earlier by the Stanford Internet Observatory, some of the fake Twitter accounts falsely “accuse Iran of ‘threatening Iraq’s water security and flooding the country with crystal meth,’ while others promoted allegations that Iran was harvesting the organs of Afghan refugees.” Such propaganda has a dual purpose: to gin up tensions and conflict between nations in the Middle East and to manufacture consent in the US for potential armed conflict between the US itself and Iran.

In other words, Twitter has been aiding and abetting the US Defense Department in war propaganda, an act that was established to be a crime in the post-WWII Nuremberg trials. If we had a fair and working system of international law, Twitter and Defense Department officials involved in such offenses would indeed be investigated. However, we do not have such a system. Therefore, it is up to the American people to act, having learned of such misconduct by their government and by the social media companies they so rely upon to hold them accountable. It is also up to Americans to finally realize that, when it comes to matters of war and peace, they are being lied to constantly, and they must withhold their consent for the wars that our government undertakes with the help of traditional and social media alike.

Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is author of the recently-released No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using “Humanitarian” Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests.

December 26, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

FBI accuses ‘conspiracy theorists’ of weaponizing Twitter Files

RT | December 22, 2022

Correspondence between the FBI and senior Twitter staff, revealing how the agency pressured the platform to suppress certain narratives, is not evidence of wrongdoing, the Bureau said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that “conspiracy theorists” are presenting their activities in a nefarious light.

The files turned over to journalists by Twitter CEO Elon Musk “show nothing more than examples of our tradition, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements,” the FBI statement claims.

“It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency,” the statement concludes, reminding its critics that “the men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public.”

Messages appearing to show FBI agents pressuring Twitter staff to classify legitimate stories such as the Hunter Biden laptop revelations as foreign influence operations are, according to the Bureau merely examples of the FBI “provid[ing] critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers.” Internal communications among platform employees suggest otherwise.

In communications published as part of the Twitter Files, staff repeatedly point out there is “no evidence” to substantiate FBI claims of foreign disinformation and express discomfort with the bureau’s meddling. Twitter’s former policy director observed a “sustained (if uncoordinated) effort by the IC [intelligence community]” to push Twitter to share more information against its own policies, while the FBI ultimately paid Twitter more than $3.5 million in taxpayer dollars to prioritize its censorship requests.

The White House has thus far refused to comment on the Twitter Files, referring reporters to the FBI, and the media establishment have largely ignored them. However, former Republican congressman Ron Paul argued they are proof the FBI colluded with Twitter to deprive Americans of their constitutional right to free speech.

lawsuit filed earlier this year by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana alleges that the FBI was not alone, and that officials from no fewer than 12 government agencies met weekly with representatives of Twitter, Facebook, and other Big Tech firms to decide which narratives and users to censor, with topics ranging from alleged election interference to Covid-19.

December 22, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Former FBI lawyer and Twitter general counsel Jim Baker thanked FBI for convincing Twitter the Hunter Biden laptop story was fake

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | December 20, 2022

Independent journalist Michael Shellenberger released a new batch of  Files that showed how the FBI convinced Twitter that the Hunter Biden laptop story was misinformation.

At the center of Twitter’s decision to suppress the story was Jim Baker, the former deputy legal counsel at Twitter, who held a similar role at the FBI before joining Twitter. Baker and the FBI worked together to convince Twitter that the contents of the Hunter Biden laptop story were hacked from another source by Russian agents and put on the laptop that the New York Post reported on.

“During all of 2020, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies repeatedly primed Yoel Roth to dismiss reports of Hunter Biden’s laptop as a Russian ‘hack and leak’ operation, ” Shellenberger wrote. Roth was then head of trust and safety at Twitter.

“Indeed, Twitter executives *repeatedly* reported very little Russian activity. E.g., on Sept 24, 2020, Twitter told the FBI it had removed 345 ‘largely inactive’ accounts ‘linked to previous coordinated Russian hacking attempts.’ They ‘had little reach & low follower accounts,’” Shellenberger continued.

Although Twitter continued to find nothing suspicious, the bureau repeatedly reached out for information.

In July 2020, FBI Assistant Special Agent Elvis Chan arranged for security clearances for Twitter executives so that they can be briefed about election interference the bureau expected to see ahead of the November 2020 election. Baker was one of the executives given the clearance, and Chan acted surprised to learn that Baker was at Twitter.

Baker was not the only ex-FBI agent at Twitter. Shellenberger revealed that there were so many that they had their own Slack channel.

Shellenberger found that after Baker was given clearance, the FBI gave him information intended to influence Roth and other executives to believe the laptop story originated from hacked materials. Baker and FBI agent Laura Dehmlow even had a private meeting where no one else was allowed.

Roth initially pushed back against the idea that there was foreign interference on Twitter. However, after the Post published the story, he conceded.

Shellenberger wrote: “On Oct 14, shortly after @NYPost publishes its Hunter Biden laptop story, Roth says, ‘it isn’t clearly violative of our Hacked Materials Policy, nor is it clearly in violation of anything else,’ but adds, ‘this feels a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation.’”

After Roth’s message, Baker repeatedly insisted that “the Hunter Biden materials were either faked, hacked, or both, and a violation of Twitter policy.”
At around 10 am, hours after the Post published the story, Twitter suppressed it, citing “experts.”

“The suggestion from experts – which rings true – is there was a hack that happened separately, and they loaded the hacked materials on the laptop that magically appeared at a repair shop in Delaware,” Roth wrote in an email.

Shellenberger concluded that the influence and pressure from the FBI resulted in Twitter executives concluding that the content of the Hunter Biden laptop was misinformation.
Baker and his team signed a letter to the FBI agents who worked on the project to thank them for helping suppress the story.

December 21, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Twitter and Facebook chiefs practiced how to handle “fake” Hunter Biden docs, PRIOR to real story breaking

A “tabletop exercise” that was supposedly hypothetical

By Cindy Harper | Reclaim The Net | December 20, 2022

The latest batch of  files, released by independent journalist Michael Shellenberger, revealed that the Aspen Institute held a “tabletop exercise” to influence coverage of a possible future Hunter Biden story. This was prior to the actual Hunter Biden laptop story breaking.

Shellenberger posted documents from the event held in September 2020, which was attended by Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, ’s head of security policy, and top national security reporters at The Washington Post and The New York Times.

View the documents here.

The exercise by Aspen Digital involved an 11-day scenario which started with the imaginary release of “fake” documents related to Hunter Biden’s employment by Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

The company paid the younger Biden $1 million to serve on its board at a time when his father was the Vice President.

According to Shellenberger, “The goal was to shape how the media covered it [the Hunter Biden story] – and how social media carried it.”

The exercise was put to the test just a few weeks later when the New York Post first reported on Hunter Biden’s laptop, which it obtained after Hunter abandoned the laptop at a repair shop in Delaware. The mainstream media either downplayed or ignored it, while social media companies, including Twitter and Facebook, suppressed it.

On October 17, 2020, three days after The Post broke the story, journalist Garrett Graff sent a message to others who participated in the Aspen Institute exercise, saying, “Stephen was right!” However, it is not clear who Stephen is.

The exercise was organized by a former executive at National Public Radio, Vivian Schiller, NBC News, and The New York Times, according to Shellenberger. Schiller has been the executive director of Aspen Digital since January 2020.

The Aspen Institute claims that it “empowers policymakers, civic organizations, companies, and the public to be responsible stewards of technology and media in the service of an informed, just, and equitable world.”

In 2019, the institute, which holds week long seminars and a yearly 10-day “Ideas Festival” attended by business leaders, celebrities, and politicians was described by The Economist as “the mountain retreat for the liberal elite.”

December 21, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

Why was the FBI paying Twitter millions of dollars?

By Dan Frieth | Reclaim The Net | December 20, 2022

The latest batch of  Files, released by independent journalist Michael Shellenberger on December 19, revealed that the FBI paid Twitter millions of dollars to process the bureau’s requests.

“I am happy to report we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019!” wrote an employee at Twitter’s Safety, Content, & Law Enforcement (SCALE) team, in an email sent in February 2021.

“In 2019 SCALE instituted a reimbursement program for our legal process response from the FBI,” the email continued. “Prior to the start of the program, Twitter chose not to collect under this statutory right of reimbursement for the time spent processing requests from the FBI.”

The payout to Twitter, like many other things revealed through the Twitter files, is disturbing. However, Twitter’s “Guidelines for law enforcement” has a section titled “Cost reimbursement,” which states that “Twitter may seek reimbursement for costs associated with information produced pursuant to legal process and as permitted by law (e.g., under 18 U.S.C. §2706).”

The email suggests that the FBI’s reimbursement program for paying companies to process requests was there long before Twitter began accepting the payments. That means that other social media companies were also likely getting paid. What is not clear is which companies, how much the FBI has spent, and for how long it has been making the payments.

The amount spent to pay Twitter could be seen as bribing the company more than compensating it for the extra resources required to process the requests for information or simply buying information on users.

December 20, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment