Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Hydroxychloroquine supporters who were censored online feel vindicated by new study

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim the Net | June 11, 2021

It’s no secret that the Covid pandemic was in many instances weaponized to censor former President Donald Trump, by his political opponents and traditional and social media companies.

Trump’s position and policy on a number of issues – from the origin of the virus to the best way to treat the disease – was consistently censored online as misleading and dangerous misinformation, even though the WHO’s main objection to using the drugs Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin was that they are allegedly ineffective rather than harmful.

The censorship of many ideas over the last year and the speed at which social media companies labeled them “conspiracy theories” to get them censored, highlighted how much power these companies have over public discourse and how there’s little accountability when they’re found to be wrong.

While the lab theory of the origin of the coronavirus was originally censored online, and then allowed a year later when more information was released to back up what was last year called a conspiracy theory, it’s not the only topic that suffered the same fate.

One of the topics that became “forbidden” in this context was the use of the Hydroxychloroquine combined with zinc, in treating Covid patients – something that Trump publicly endorsed and even said took himself.

Doctors that promoted this treatment and were even actively prescribing it to their patients were quickly banned from the likes of TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Researchers even had trouble trying to study the effect this combination of drugs has and publish their findings, facing obstacles from scientific journals who were on board with the censorship of the topic. But now one such study has seen the light of day, and seems to be vindicating those who said Hydroxychloroquine is in fact beneficial in coronavirus treatment.

New Jersey’s Saint Barnabas Medical Center published the observational study that included 255 patients in medRxiv, stating that Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, and zinc can increase the survival rate by close to 200 percent. This scenario required higher doses administered to severely ill Covid patients who had to be put on ventilators.

Once again, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is among those opposed to using the combination of drugs, is being called out for what many see as a series of missteps he has made during the pandemic.

“How many people died because Dr. Fauci said trust the science and Hydroxychloroquine isn’t effective?,” Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was blunt on Twitter, at the same time citing the study’s findings, and concluding, “Trump was right.”

But last summer, Twitter appeared to be certain that Trump and others promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine were wrong. In July 2020, the company went as far as to limit Donald Trump Jr’s account features, accusing him of posting false information by tweeting a video claiming the drug was effective in Covid treatment.

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I spoke out against lockdowns

Martin Kulldorff on the necessity of challenging the Covid consensus

Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard University.
By Martin Kulldorff | spiked | June 4, 2021

I had no choice but to speak out against lockdowns. As a public-health scientist with decades of experience working on infectious-disease outbreaks, I couldn’t stay silent. Not when basic principles of public health are thrown out of the window. Not when the working class is thrown under the bus. Not when lockdown opponents were thrown to the wolves. There was never a scientific consensus for lockdowns. That balloon had to be popped.

Two key Covid facts were quickly obvious to me. First, with the early outbreaks in Italy and Iran, this was a severe pandemic that would eventually spread to the rest of the world, resulting in many deaths. That made me nervous. Second, based on the data from Wuhan, in China, there was a dramatic difference in mortality by age, with over a thousand-fold difference between the young and the old. That was a huge relief. I am a single father with a teenager and five-year-old twins. Like most parents, I care more about my children than myself. Unlike the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, children had much less to fear from Covid than from annual influenza or traffic accidents. They could get on with life unharmed — or so I thought.

For society at large, the conclusion was obvious. We had to protect older, high-risk people while younger low-risk adults kept society moving.

But that didn’t happen. Instead, schools closed while nursing homes went unprotected. Why? It made no sense. So, I picked up a pen. To my surprise, I could not interest any US media in my thoughts, despite my knowledge and experience with infectious-disease outbreaks. I had more success in my native Sweden, with op-eds in the major daily newspapers, and, eventually, a piece in spiked. Other like-minded scientists faced similar hurdles.

Instead of understanding the pandemic, we were encouraged to fear it. Instead of life, we got lockdowns and death. We got delayed cancer diagnoses, worse cardiovascular-disease outcomes, deteriorating mental health, and a lot more collateral public-health damage from lockdown. Children, the elderly and the working class were the hardest hit by what can only be described as the biggest public-health fiasco in history.

Throughout the 2020 spring wave, Sweden kept daycare and schools open for every one of its 1.8million children aged between one and 15. And it did so without subjecting them to testing, masks, physical barriers or social distancing. This policy led to precisely zero Covid deaths in that age group, while teachers had a Covid risk similar to the average of other professions. The Swedish Public Health Agency reported these facts in mid-June, but in the US lockdown proponents still pushed for school closures.

In July, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article on ‘reopening primary schools during the pandemic’. Shockingly, it did not even mention the evidence from the only major Western country that kept schools open throughout the pandemic. That is like evaluating a new drug while ignoring data from the placebo control group.

With difficulty publishing, I decided to use my mostly dormant Twitter account to get the word out. I searched for tweets about schools and replied with a link to the Swedish study. A few of these replies were retweeted, which gave the Swedish data some attention. It also led to an invitation to write for the Spectator. In August, I finally broke into the US media with a CNN op-ed against school closures. I know Spanish, so I wrote a piece for CNN-Español. CNN-English was not interested.

Something was clearly amiss with the media. Among infectious-disease epidemiology colleagues that I know, most favour focused protection of high-risk groups instead of lockdowns, but the media made it sound like there was a scientific consensus for general lockdowns.

In September, I met Jeffrey Tucker at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), an organisation I had never heard of before the pandemic. To help the media gain a better understanding of the pandemic, we decided to invite journalists to meet with infectious-disease epidemiologists in Great Barrington, New England, to conduct more in-depth interviews. I invited two scientists to join me, Sunetra Gupta from the University of Oxford, one of the world’s pre-eminent infectious-disease epidemiologists, and Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford University, an expert on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations. To the surprise of AIER, the three of us also decided to write a declaration arguing for focused protection instead of lockdowns. We called it the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD).

Opposition to lockdowns had been deemed unscientific. When scientists spoke out against lockdowns, they were ignored, considered a fringe voice, or accused of not having proper credentials. We thought it would be hard to ignore something authored by three senior infectious-disease epidemiologists from what were three respectable universities. We were right. All hell broke loose. That was good.

Some colleagues threw epithets at us like ‘crazy’, ‘exorcist’, ‘mass murderer’ or ‘Trumpian’. Some accused us of taking a stand for money, though nobody paid us a penny. Why such a vicious response? The declaration was in line with the many pandemic preparedness plans produced years earlier, but that was the crux. With no good public-health arguments against focused protection, they had to resort to mischaracterisation and slander, or else admit they had made a terrible, deadly mistake in their support of lockdowns.

Some lockdown proponents accused us of raising a strawman, as lockdowns had worked and were no longer needed. Just a few weeks later, the same critics lauded the reimposition of lockdowns during the very predictable second wave. We were told that we had not specified how to protect the old, even though we had described ideas in detail on our website and in op-eds. We were accused of advocating a ‘let it rip’ strategy, even though focused protection is its very opposite. Ironically, lockdowns are a dragged-out form of a let-it-rip strategy, in which each age group is infected in the same proportion as a let-it-rip strategy.

When writing the declaration, we knew we were exposing ourselves to attacks. That can be scary, but as Rosa Parks said: ‘I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.’ Also, I did not take the journalistic and academic attacks personally, however vile – and most came from people I had never even heard of before. The attacks were not primarily addressed at us anyhow. We had already spoken out and would continue to do so. Their main purpose was to discourage other scientists from speaking out.

In my twenties, I risked my life in Guatemala working for a human-rights organisation called Peace Brigades International. We protected farmers, unionised workers, students, religious organisations, women’s groups and human-rights defenders who were threatened, murdered, and disappeared by military death squads. While the courageous Guatemalans I worked with faced much more danger, the death squads did once throw a hand grenade into our house. If I could do that work then, why should I not now take much smaller risks for people here at home? When I was falsely accused of being a Koch-funded right-winger, I just shrugged – typical behaviour by both establishment servants and armchair revolutionaries.

After the Great Barrington Declaration, there was no longer a lack of media attention on focused protection as an alternative to lockdowns. On the contrary, requests came from across the globe. I noticed an interesting contrast. In the US and UK, media outlets were either friendly with softball questions or hostile with trick questions and ad hominem attacks. Journalists in most other countries asked hard but relevant and fair questions, exploring and critically examining the Great Barrington Declaration. I think that is how journalism should be done.

While most governments continued with their failed lockdown policies, things have moved in the right direction. More and more schools have reopened, and Florida rejected lockdowns in favour of focused protection, partly based on our advice, without the negative consequences that the lockdowners predicted.

With the lockdown failures increasingly clear, attacks and censorship have increased rather than decreased: Google-owned YouTube censored a video from a roundtable with Florida governor Ron DeSantis, where my colleagues and I stated that children do not need to wear masks; Facebook closed the GBD account when we posted a pro-vaccine message arguing that older people should be prioritised for vaccination; Twitter censored a post when I said that children and those already infected do not need to be vaccinated; and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) removed me from a vaccine-safety working group when I argued that the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine should not be withheld from older Americans.

Twitter even locked my account for writing that:

‘Naively fooled to think that masks would protect them, some older high-risk people did not socially distance properly, and some died from Covid because of it. Tragic. Public-health officials/scientists must always be honest with the public.’

This increased pressure may seem counterintuitive, but it is not. Had we been wrong, our scientific colleagues might have taken pity on us and the media would have gone back to ignoring us. Being correct means that we embarrassed some immensely powerful people in politics, journalism, big tech and science. They are never going to forgive us.

That is not what matters, though. The pandemic has been a great tragedy. A 79-year-old friend of mine died from Covid, and a few months later his wife died from cancer that was not detected in time to initiate treatment. While deaths are inevitable during a pandemic, the naive but mistaken belief that lockdowns would protect the old meant that governments did not implement many standard focused-protection measures. The dragged-out pandemic made it harder for older people to protect themselves. With a focused-protection strategy, my friend and his wife might be alive today, together with countless other people around the world.

Ultimately, lockdowns protected young low-risk professionals working from home – journalists, lawyers, scientists, and bankers – on the backs of children, the working class and the poor. In the US, lockdowns are the biggest assault on workers since segregation and the Vietnam War. Except for war, there are few government actions during my life that have imposed more suffering and injustice on such a large scale.

As an infectious-disease epidemiologist, I had no choice. I had to speak up. If not, why be a scientist? Many others who bravely spoke could comfortably have stayed silent. If they had, more schools would still be closed, and the collateral public-health damage would have been greater. I am aware of many fantastic people fighting against these ineffective and damaging lockdowns, writing articles, posting on social media, making videos, talking to friends, speaking up at school board meetings, and protesting in the streets. If you are one of them, it has truly been an honour to work with you on this effort together. I hope that we will one day meet in person and then, let’s dance together. Danser encore!

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Notorious London Spy School Churning Out Many of the World’s Top Journalists

The Maughan Library Gate at Kings College London, UK. David JC | Alamy
By Alan MacLeod | MintPress News | June 4, 2021

LONDON — In a previous investigationMintPress News explored how one university department, the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, functions as a school for spooks. Its teaching posts are filled with current or former NATO officials, army officers and intelligence operatives to churn out the next generation of spies and intelligence officers. However, we can now reveal an even more troubling product the department produces: journalists. An inordinate number of the world’s most influential reporters, producers and presenters, representing many of the most well-known and respected outlets — including The New York TimesCNN and the BBC — learned their craft in the classrooms of this London department, raising serious questions about the links between the fourth estate and the national security state.

National security school

Increasingly, it appears, intelligence agencies the world over are beginning to appreciate agents with a strong academic background. A 2009 study published by the CIA described how beneficial it is to “use universities as a means of intelligence training,” writing that, “exposure to an academic environment, such as the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, can add several elements that may be harder to provide within the government system.”

The paper, written by two King’s College staffers, boasted that the department’s faculty has “extensive and well-rounded intelligence experience.” This was no exaggeration. Current Department of War Studies educators include the former Secretary General of NATO, former U.K. Minister of Defense, and military officers from the U.K, U.S. and other NATO countries. “I deeply appreciate the work that you do to train and to educate our future national security leaders, many of whom are in this audience,” said then-U.S. Secretary of Defense (and former CIA Director) Leon Panetta in a speech at the department in 2013.

King’s College London also admits to having a number of ongoing contracts with the British state, including with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), but refuses to divulge the details of those agreements.

American connections

Although a British university, King’s College markets itself heavily to American students. There are currently 1,265 Americans enrolled, making up about 4% of the student body. Many graduates of the Department of War Studies go on to attain powerful positions in major American media outlets. Andrew Carey, CNN’s Bureau Chief in Jerusalem, for example, completed a master’s there in 2012. Carey’s coverage of the latest Israeli attack on Gaza has presented the apartheid state as “responding” to Hamas rocket attacks, rather than being the instigator of violence. A leaked internal memo Carey sent to his staff last month at the height of the bombardment instructed them to always include the fact that the Gazan Ministry of Health is overseen by Hamas, lest readers begin to believe the well-documented Palestinian casualty figures brought on by days of bombing. “We need to be transparent about the fact that the Ministry of Health in Gaza is run by Hamas. Consequently, when we cite latest casualty numbers and attribute to the health ministry in Gaza, we need to include the fact that it is Hamas run,” read his instructions.


Carey leaked memo

King’s College alumnus turned CNN Jerusalem bureau chief Andrew Carey instructed reporters on how to cover Israel’s latest assault on Gaza

Once publicized, his comments elicited considerable pushback. “This is a page straight out of Israel’s playbook. It serves to justify the attack on civilians and medical facilities,” commented Al-Jazeera Senior Presenter and Producer Dena Takruri.

The New York Times, the United States’ most influential newspaper, has also employed Department of War Studies alumni. Christiaan Triebert (M.A., 2016), for example, is a journalist on their visual investigations team. He even won a Pulitzer Prize for “Revelations about Russia and Vladimir Putin’s aggressive actions in countries including Syria and Europe.” Hiring students from the school for spooks to bash Russia appears to be a common Times tactic, as it also employed Lincoln Pigman between 2016 and 2018 at its Moscow bureau.

Josh Smith, senior correspondent for influential news agency Reuters and formerly its correspondent in Afghanistan, also graduated from the department in question, as did The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Ford.

Arguably the most influential media figure from the university, however, is Ruaridh Arrow. Arrow was a producer at many of the U.K.’s largest news channels, including Channel 4Sky News and the BBC, where he was world duty editor and senior producer on Newsnight, the network’s flagship political show. In 2019, Arrow left the BBC to become an executive producer at NBC News.

The British invasion

Unsurprisingly for a university based in London, the primary journalistic destination for Department of War Studies graduates is the United Kingdom. Indeed, the BBC, the country’s powerful state broadcaster, is full of War Studies alumni. Arif Ansari, head of news at the BBC Asian Networkcompleted a masters analyzing the Syrian Civil War in 2017 and was soon selected for a leadership development scheme, placing him in charge of a team of 25 journalists who curate news primarily geared toward the substantial Middle Eastern and South Asian communities in Great Britain.

Many BBC employees begin studying at King’s years after their careers have already taken off, and balance their professional lives with pursuing new qualifications. Ahmed Zaki, Senior Broadcast Journalist at BBC Global News, began his master’s six years after he started at the BBC. Meanwhile, Ian MacWilliam — who spent ten years at BBC World Service, the country’s official news broadcast worldwide, specializing in sensitive regions like Russia, Afghanistan and Central Asia — decided to study at King’s more than 30 years after completing his first degree.

Another influential War Studies alumnus at the World Service is Aliaume Leroy, producer for its Africa Eye program. Well-known BBC News presenter Sophie Long also graduated from the department, working for Reuters and ITN before joining the state broadcaster.

“It’s an open secret that King’s College London Department of War Studies operates as the finishing school for Anglo-American securocrats. So it’s maybe not a surprise that graduates of its various military and intelligence courses also enter into a world of corporate journalism that exists to launder the messaging of these same ‘security’ agencies,” Matt Kennard — an investigative journalist for Declassified U.K. who has previously exposed the university’s connections to the British state — told MintPress. “It is, however, a real and present danger to democracy. The university imprimatur gives the department’s research the patina of independence while it works, in reality, as the unofficial research arm of the U.K. Ministry of Defence,” he added.


Neri Zilber

Israeli writer and King’s College alumnus Neri Zilber has bylines in many of the media’s most important outlets

The Department of War Studies also trains many international journalists and commentators, including Nicholas Stuart of the Canberra Times (Australia); Pakistani writer Ayesha Siddiqa, whose work can be found in The New York TimesAl-JazeeraThe Hindu and many other outlets; and Israeli writer Neri Zilber, a contributor to The Daily BeastThe GuardianForeign Policy and Politico.

What’s it all about?

Why are so many influential figures in our media being hothoused in a department well known for its connections to state power, for its faculty being active or former military or government officials, and for producing spies and operatives for various three-letter agencies? The point of this is not to allege that these journalists are all secretly card-carrying spooks: they are not. Rather, it is to highlight the alarmingly close links between the national security state and the fourth estate we rely on to be a check on their power and to hold them accountable.

Journalists trained in this sort of environment are far more likely to see the world in the same manner as their professors do. And perhaps they would be less likely to challenge state power when the officials they are scrutinizing were their classmates or teachers.

These sorts of questions abound when such a phenomenon exists: Why are so many journalists choosing to study at this particular department, and why do so many go on to be so influential? Are they being vetted by security agencies, with or without their knowledge? How independent are they? Will they just repeat British and American state talking points, as the Department of War Studies’ publications do?

On the question of vetting, the BBC admitted that, at least until the 1990s, it conspired with domestic spying agency MI5 to make sure that people with left-wing and/or anti-war leanings, or views critical of British foreign policy and empire were secretly blocked from being hired. When pressed on whether this policy is still ongoing, the broadcaster refused to comment, citing “security issues” — a response that is unlikely to reassure skeptics.

“While it strikes me as very interesting that a single academic institution could play such a major role in the recruitment of pro-establishment activist intellectuals and delivery of the same to the media, it is not so surprising,” Oliver Boyd-Barrett, Professor Emeritus at Bowling Green State’s School of Media and Communication and an expert in collusion between government and media, told MintPress, adding:

Elite institutions in the past and doubtless still today have been major playgrounds for intelligence services. The history of the modern nation-state generally, not just the USA, seems to suggest that national unity — and therefore elite safety — is regarded by elites as achievable only through careful management and often suppression or diversion of dissent. Far more resources are typically committed to this than many citizens, drilled in the propaganda of democracy, realize or care to concede.

The Bellingcat Boys

While the journalists cataloged above are not spooks, some other Department of War Studies figures working in journalism could possibly be described as such, particularly those around the influential and increasingly notorious investigative website Bellingcat.

Cameron Colquhoun, for instance, spent almost a decade at GCHQ, Britain’s version of the NSA, where he was a senior analyst running cyber and counter-terrorism operations. He holds qualifications from both King’s College London and the State Department. This background is not disclosed in his Bellingcat profile, which merely describes him as the managing director of a private intelligence company that “conduct[s] ethical investigations” for clients around the world.

Bellingcat’s senior investigator Nick Waters spent four years as an officer in the British Army, including a tour in Afghanistan, where he furthered the British state’s objectives in the region. After that, he joined the Department of War Studies and Bellingcat.

For the longest time, Bellingcat’s founder Eliot Higgings dismissed charges that his organization was funded by the U.S. government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) — a CIA cutout organization — as a ridiculous “conspiracy.” Yet by 2017, he was admitting that it was true. A year later, Higgins joined the Department of War Studies as a visiting research associate. Between 2016 and 2019 he was also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, the brains behind the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Higgins appears to have used the university department as a recruiting ground, commissioning other War Studies graduates, such as Jacob Beeders and the aforementioned Christiaan Triebert and Aliaume Leroy, to write for his site.

Bellingcat is held in very high regard by the CIA. “I don’t want to be too dramatic, but we love [Bellingcat],” said Marc Polymeropoulos, the agency’s former deputy chief of operations for Europe and Eurasia. Other officers explained that Bellingcat could be used to outsource and legitimize anti-Russia talking points. “The greatest value of Bellingcat is that we can then go to the Russians and say ‘there you go’ [when they ask for evidence],” added former CIA Chief of Station Daniel Hoffman.

Bellingcaught

A recent MintPress investigation explored how Bellingcat acts to launder national security state talking points into the mainstream under the guise of being neutral investigative journalists themselves.

Newly leaked documents show how BellingcatReuters and the BBC were covertly cooperating with the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to undermine the Kremlin and promote regime change in Moscow. This included training journalists and promoting explicitly anti-Russian media across Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, the FCO notedBellingcat had been “somewhat discredited,” as it constantly spread disinformation and was willing to produce reports for anyone with money.

Nevertheless, a new European Parliament proposal published last month recommends hiring Bellingcat to assist in producing reports that would lay the groundwork for sanctioning Russia, for throwing it out of international bodies, and to “assist Russia’s transformation into a democracy.” In other words, to overthrow the government of Vladimir Putin.

An academic journalistic nexus

The Department of War Studies is also part of this pro-NATO, anti-Russia group. Quite apart from being staffed by soldiers, spooks and government officials, it puts out influential reports advising Western governments on foreign and defense policy. For instance, a study entitled “The future strategic direction of NATO” advises that member states must increase their military budgets and allow American nuclear weapons to be stored in their countries, thereby “shar[ing] the burden.” It also recommended that NATO must redouble its commitment to opposing Russia while warning that it needed urgently to form a “coherent policy” on the Chinese threat.

Other War Studies reports claim that Russia is carrying out “information-psychological warfare” through its state channels RT and Sputnik, and counsel that the West must use its technical means to prevent its citizens from consuming this foreign propaganda.

King’s College London academics have also proven crucial in keeping dissident publisher Julian Assange imprisoned. A psychiatrist who has worked with the War Studies department testified in court that the Australian was suffering only “moderate” depression and that his suicide risk was “manageable,” concluding that extraditing him to the United States “would not be unjust.” As Matt Kennard’s investigation found, the U.K. Ministry of Defence had provided £2.2 million ($3.1 million) in funding to the institute where he worked (although the psychiatrist in question claimed his work was not directly funded by the MoD).

King’s College London markets the War Studies department to both graduates and undergraduates as a stepping stone towards a career in journalism. In its “career prospects” section for its master’s course in war studies, it tells interested students that “graduates go on to work for NGOs, the FCO, the MoD, the Home Office, NATO, the UN or pursue careers in journalism, finance, academia, the diplomatic services, the armed forces and more.”

Likewise, undergraduates are told that:

You will gain an in-depth and sophisticated understanding of war and international relations, both as subjects worthy of study and as intellectual preparation for the widest possible range of career choices, including in government, journalism, research, and humanitarian and international organisations.

Courses such as “New Wars, New Media, New Journalism” fuse together journalism and intelligence and are overseen by War Studies academics.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the department has taught many influential politicians, including foreign heads of state and members of the British parliament. But at least there is considerable overlap between the fields of defense policy and politics. The fact that the very department that trains high state officials and agents of secretive three letter agencies is also the place that produces many of the journalists we rely on to stand up to those officials and keep them in check is seriously problematic.

An unhealthy respect for authority

Unfortunately, rather than challenging power, many modern media outlets amplify its message uncritically. State officials and intelligence officers are among the least trustworthy sources, journalistically speaking. Yet many of the biggest stories in recent years have been based on nothing except the hearsay of officials who would not even put their names to their claims.

The level of credulity modern journalists have for the powerful was summed up by former CNN White House Correspondent Michelle Kosinski, who last month stated that:

As an American journalist, you never expect:

  • Your own govt to lie to you, repeatedly
  • Your own govt to hide information the public has a right to know
  • Your own govt to spy on your communications

Unfortunately, credulity stretches into outright collaboration with intelligence in some cases. Leaked emails show that the Los Angeles Times’ national security reporter Ken Dilanian sent his articles directly to the CIA to be edited before they were published. Far from hurting his career, however, Dilanian is now a correspondent covering national security issues for NBC News.

Boyd-Barrett said that governments are dependent on “the assistance of a penetrated, colluding and docile mainstream media which of late — and in the context of massive confusion over Internet disinformation campaigns, real and alleged — appear ever more problematic guardians of the public right to know.”

In recent years, the national security state has increased its influence over social media giants as well. In 2018, Facebook and the Atlantic Council entered a partnership whereby the Silicon Valley giant partially outsourced curation of its 2.8 billion users’ news feeds to the Council’s Digital Forensics Lab, supposedly to help stop the spread of fake news online. The result, however, has been the promotion of “trustworthy” corporate media outlets like Fox News and CNN and the penalization of independent and alternative sources, which have seen their traffic decrease precipitously. Earlier this year, Facebook also hired former NATO press officer and current Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Ben Nimmo to be its chief of intelligence. Reddit’s Director of Policy is also a former Atlantic Council official.

Meanwhile, in 2019, a senior Twitter executive for the Middle East region was unmasked as an active duty officer in the British Army’s 77th Brigade, its unit dedicated to psychological operations and online warfare. The most notable thing about this event was the almost complete lack of attention it received from the mainstream press. Coming at a time when foreign interference online was perhaps the number one story dominating the news cycle, only one major outlet, Newsweek, even mentioned it. Furthermore, the reporter who covered the story left his job just weeks later, citing stifling top-down censorship and a culture of deference to national security interests.

The purpose of this article is not to accuse any of those mentioned of being intelligence agency plants (although at least one person did actually work as an intel officer). The point is rather to highlight that we now have a media landscape where many of the West’s most influential journalists are being trained by exactly the same people in the same department as the next generation of national security operatives.

It is hardly a good look for a healthy, open democracy that so many spies, government officials, and journalists trusted to hold them accountable on our behalf are all being shot out of the very same cannon. Learning side by side has helped to create a situation where the fourth estate has become overwhelmingly deferential to the so-called deep state, where anonymous official’s words are taken as gospel. The Department of War Studies is just one part of this wider phenomenon.T

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles

June 5, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Twitter suspends vaccine skeptic group after it obtained another 3,000 pages of Fauci emails in FOIA request

RT | June 4, 2021

A vaccine skeptics group was temporarily locked out of its Twitter account after claiming that it acquired thousands of new emails from White House Covid-19 adviser Anthony Fauci, with the site labeling the post “disinformation.”

The Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) took to Twitter on Thursday to announce the upcoming release of 3,000 pages of Fauci emails it said it obtained in a Freedom of Information request, after media outlets published a massive trove of the health adviser’s correspondence earlier this week.

“The Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) is dropping 3,000 new pages of FOIA’d Fauci emails TODAY, providing further insight into Anthony Fauci’s actions on Covid, vaccine safety and more,” the group said in the now-deleted post, which was preserved in a screenshot shared by conservative activist Michelle Malkin.

The screencap shows that Twitter deleted the post for breaking its policy on “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19,” though the platform did not specify what aspect of the tweet was false or deceptive.

While Twitter’s Covid-19 disinformation policy states that it will remove content that makes “a claim of fact, expressed in definitive terms” that is “demonstrably false or misleading,” the ICAN post does not appear to meet that standard, making no factual assertions beyond claiming to have the emails. Twitter, which did not respond to RT’s request for comment, has given no indication about whether it contacted ICAN to determine if it really possessed the emails as claimed.

Asked about the authenticity of the alleged 3,000 pages of messages by a Twitter user on Thursday evening, ICAN creative director Patrick Layton said the emails were “requested and produced through the Freedom of Information Act,” and that ICAN’s “legal team is compiling them” for release. Neither Layton nor ICAN itself has revealed any other details about the purported new trove, which remained unpublished at the time of writing.

On its website, ICAN says its main goal is to disseminate “scientifically researched health information” to the public to allow them to make their own informed medical decisions. However, the group has also come under fire for spreading disinformation [sic] on vaccines, identified as a “key anti-vaxxer organization” in a recent report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

Obtained by Buzzfeed and the Washington Post, the previous Fauci email dump was published on Tuesday, prompting criticism of the Covid-19 czar from Republican lawmakers, some demanding his firing.

On Thursday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said one email exchange suggested Fauci may have lied when he claimed his agency – the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – never funded controversial ‘gain-of-function’ research at a lab in Wuhan, China – the city where Covid-19 was first detected.

In the emails in question, Fauci asked his top deputy, Hugh Auchincloss, to review a 2015 study that discussed gain-of-function work at the Wuhan lab. Auchincloss later replied that the study was conducted prior to a US government ban on funding for gain-of-function research, and that another staffer would “determine if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.” It is unclear whether the deputy ever followed up after that message.

“The emails paint a disturbing picture, a disturbing picture of Dr. Fauci, from the very beginning, worrying that he had been funding gain-of-function research,” Paul said in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “He knows it to this day, but hasn’t admitted it.”

Gain-of-function work aims to increase the virulence and lethality of viruses so that scientists can better understand them, but has been deemed risky by some experts, who say the suped-up pathogens could accidentally escape into the world.

Later on Thursday, GOP representatives Steve Scalise (Louisiana) and James Comer (Kentucky) also penned a letter to two Democratic committee heads demanding that Fauci be called to testify before Congress about the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying the emails make the request “even more urgent.”

June 4, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

The internet once offered a promise of free speech for everyone; Big Tech has since turned it into a prison

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | May 5, 2021

I once thought the internet would have the same effect on corporate media gatekeepers as the AK-47 had on colonial empires in Africa. That was before Big Tech turned that promise of freedom into the second coming of feudalism.

Wednesday’s decision by Facebook’s “oversight board” – a transparent attempt to outsource responsibility for censorship to an international committee – to extend the ban on 45th US President Donald Trump is just the latest example, but by no means the most egregious. Earlier this week, the banhammer descended on RT’s digital project Redfish over posts criticizing… Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini and the Holocaust, of all things.

How did it come to this? Years ago, in an argument over media censorship, I had brought up the internet as the modern version of the AK-47. While the European colonial armies were able to conquer Africa in the 19th century, using machine guns and repeating rifles, they became unable to hold it once the Kalashnikov automatic rifle put the peasants in places like Congo, Angola and Vietnam on equal footing with Western armies seeking to keep them down.

Or, if you want a more peaceful metaphor, it was the promise of open pasture extended to people who had previously been treated like cattle, penned up in factory barns and fed slop from a trough.

That was in March 2011. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were already around, but they were challenging the gatekeepers and offering their platforms to the common people like myself. In 2016, everything changed. That was the year Trump was able to bypass the corporate gatekeepers, using those platforms to speak to the American people directly.

Having consolidated the internet between them, and under pressure from politicians they already supported, the corporations running these platforms began censoring content and users – first gradually, then suddenly. The pretext for this was “Russiagate,” the conspiracy theory pushed by Democrats and their corporate media allies to explain Hillary Clinton’s 2016 fiasco, delegitimize Trump’s presidency, and – as it turns out – justify censorship.

As demonstrated by the recent example of Twitter’s clash with Russia over illegal content, or Facebook’s standoff with Australia over paying for news, these mega-corporations aren’t opposed to censorship or committed to property on principle. Rather, their only “principle” is the Who-Whom reductionism, a world in which they and those they agree with can do no wrong, while anyone else can do no right.

The long march from banning Alex Jones in 2018 to banning the sitting president of the United States in 2021 was completed with surprising alacrity. The collusion within Silicon Valley to ban Trump on the blatantly false pretext of “inciting insurrection” on January 6 may have been the political Rubicon, but Big Tech had begun putting their finger, fist and even elbow on the political scales long before.

Does banning the New York Post over Hunter Biden ring any bells? How about the “pre-bunking” of the 2020 election outcome, arranged by Democrat activists more than a year prior? It’s in the infamous February TIME article, the one about the heroic “fortifiers” of the “proper” election outcome, buried among other bombshells and easy to miss. There was also Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg literally donating millions to Democrats in certain key cities and counties, to help collect and count mail-in ballots. The list goes on.

“But my private company!” facetiously proclaims the brigade that literally cheered Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” speech just a few short years before. Corporations shouldn’t be people, no one is above the law, Citizens United is bad – except when it helps us get into power, in which case it’s just fine, carry on.

These are the same “experts” on the US Constitution who believe the Second Amendment applies only to muskets, the First only to the government, the Fourth is optional, the Fourteenth trumps all of them, and the Tenth is vestigial and doesn’t apply to anything.

Believing that “American values” ought to apply to businesses incorporated in the US, under protection of US laws – Section 230, looking at you here – and benefiting from US power when muscling governments abroad is downright quaint, considering these companies don’t actually care about that constitutional republic, but back Our Democracy that has replaced it instead.

I still think I was correct in 2011, arguing that the internet had broken the information monopoly of cable channels and newspapers. The plummeting ratings and newspaper revenues have borne that out. Unfortunately, Big Tech figured it out as well – and succumbed to the temptation to turn the promise of open pastures into the very factory farms it was supposed to replace.

Now we’re not just back to eating slop from the corporate trough, but everything we’ve said while believing in freedom has been harvested and can and will be weaponized to “cancel” us at any time. One might call this called techno-feudalism, except the overlords have no obligations and the serfs have no rights.

Way back in 2019, Trump had tweeted a meme: “In reality, they’re not after me, they’re after you. I’m just in the way.” Can you honestly say now that he was wrong?

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Telegram @TheNebulator 

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Silicon Valley Algorithm Manipulation Is The Only Thing Keeping Mainstream Media Alive

By Caitlin Johnstone | May 3, 2021

The emergence of the internet was met with hope and enthusiasm by people who understood that the plutocrat-controlled mainstream media were manipulating public opinion to manufacture consent for the status quo. The democratization of information-sharing was going to give rise to a public consciousness that is emancipated from the domination of plutocratic narrative control, thereby opening up the possibility of revolutionary change to our society’s corrupt systems.

But it never happened. Internet use has become commonplace around the world and humanity is able to network and share information like never before, yet we remain firmly under the thumb of the same power structures we’ve been ruled by for generations, both politically and psychologically. Even the dominant media institutions are somehow still the same.

So what went wrong? Nobody’s buying newspapers anymore, and the audiences for television and radio are dwindling. How is it possible that those same imperialist oligarchic institutions are still controlling the way most people think about their world?

The answer is algorithm manipulation.

Last month a very informative interview saw the CEO of YouTube, which is owned by Google, candidly discussing the way the platform uses algorithms to elevate mainstream news outlets and suppress independent content.

At the World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Technology Governance Summit, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told Atlantic CEO Nicholas Thompson that while the platform still allows arts and entertainment videos an equal shot at going viral and getting lots of views and subscribers, on important areas like news media it artificially elevates “authoritative sources”.

“What we’ve done is really fine-tune our algorithms to be able to make sure that we are still giving the new creators the ability to be found when it comes to music or humor or something funny,” Wojcicki said. “But when we’re dealing with sensitive areas, we really need to take a different approach.”

Wojcicki said in addition to banning content deemed harmful, YouTube has also created a category labeled “borderline content” which it algorithmically de-boosts so that it won’t show up as a recommended video to viewers who are interested in that topic:

“When we deal with information, we want to make sure that the sources that we’re recommending are authoritative news, medical science, et cetera. And we also have created a category of more borderline content where sometimes we’ll see people looking at content that’s lower quality and borderline. And so we want to be careful about not over-recommending that. So that’s a content that stays on the platform but is not something that we’re going to recommend. And so our algorithms have definitely evolved in terms of handling all these different content types.”

Progressive commentator Kyle Kulinski has a good video out reacting to Wojcicki’s comments, saying he believes his (entirely harmless) channel has been grouped in the “borderline” category because his views and new subscribers suddenly took a dramatic and inexplicable plunge. Kulinski reports that overnight he went from getting tens of thousands of new subscriptions per month to maybe a thousand.

“People went to YouTube to escape the mainstream nonsense that they see on cable news and on TV, and now YouTube just wants to become cable news and TV,” Kulinski says. “People are coming here to escape that and you’re gonna force-feed them the stuff they’re escaping like CNN and MSNBC and Fox News.”

It is not terribly surprising to hear Susan Wojcicki admit to elevating the media of the oligarchic empire to the CEO of a neoconservative publication at the World Economic Forum. She comes from the same elite empire management background as all the empire managers who’ve been placed in charge of mainstream media outlets by their plutocratic owners, having gone to Harvard after being literally raised on the campus of Stanford University as a child. Her sister Anne is the founder of the genetic-testing company 23andMe and was married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Google itself also uses algorithms to artificially boost empire media in its searches. In 2017 World Socialist Website (WSWS) began documenting the fact that it, along with other leftist and antiwar outlets, had suddenly experienced a dramatic drop in traffic from Google searches. In 2019 the Wall Street Journal confirmed WSWS claims, reporting that “Despite publicly denying doing so, Google keeps blacklists to remove certain sites or prevent others from surfacing in certain types of results.” In 2020 the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet admitted to censoring WSWS at a Senate hearing in response to one senator’s suggestion that Google only censors right wing content.

Google, for the record, has been financially intertwined with US intelligence agencies since its very inception when it received research grants from the CIA and NSA. It pours massive amounts of money into federal lobbying and DC think tanks, has a cozy relationship with the NSA, and has been a military-intelligence contractor from the beginning.

Then you’ve got Facebook, where a third of Americans regularly get their news. Facebook is a bit less evasive about its status quo-enforcing censorship practices, openly enlisting the government-and-plutocrat-funded imperialist narrative management firm The Atlantic Council to help it determine what content to censor and what to boost. Facebook has stated that if its “fact checkers” like The Atlantic Council deem a page or domain guilty of spreading false information, it will “dramatically reduce the distribution of all of their Page-level or domain-level content on Facebook.”

All the algorithm stacking by the dominant news distribution giants Google and Facebook also ensures that mainstream platforms and reporters will have far more followers than indie media on platforms like Twitter, since an article that has been artificially amplified will receive far more views and therefore far more clicks on their social media information. Mass media employees tend to clique up and amplify each other on Twitter, further exacerbating the divide. Meanwhile left and antiwar voices, including myself, have been complaining for years that Twitter artificially throttles their follower count.

If not for these deliberate acts of sabotage and manipulation by Silicon Valley megacorporations, the mainstream media which have deceived us into war after war and which manufacture consent for an oppressive status quo would have been replaced by independent media years ago. These tech giants are the life support system of corporate media propaganda.

May 5, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Is Twitter Allowed To Get Away With Interfering In Elections?

By Richie Allen | May 4, 2021

On Thursday, voters go to the polls across the UK. The media has dubbed it “Super Thursday.” Scottish and Welsh voters will elect parliaments. There’s a by-election in Hartlepool and Londoners will elect an assembly and choose their mayor.

Regional mayors will be elected around the country and there are dozens of county and city council elections too. Twitter is currently engaged in perverting the course of all of these elections. The social media giant has banned or deleted the accounts of anti-lockdown candidates all over the country.

These are people who are on the ballot. They paid their deposits and what you, me or anyone else thinks of their chances is irrelevant. They are at a serious disadvantage if they cannot use social media to campaign.

It’s not only Twitter. Facebook is doing it too. They’re also shadow banning people they haven’t booted. That’s sinister. If you tweet or post information about how lockdowns kill more people than any virus, or you blog about vaccine injuries, Twitter’s algorithms will kick in and limit your reach.

It’s not doing that to pro-lockdown/pro-vaccine candidates. Is anyone looking into this? How can elections be deemed open, fair or even transparent, when a massive corporation gets to decide who sees what messages and when?

Piers Corbyn is on The Richie Allen Show this evening. Piers is a physicist and a former Labour Party councillor. He’s anti-lockdown and has expressed scepticism about the safety of the covid jabs. He’s been banned by Twitter. How can that be acceptable?

Shouldn’t the UK’s electoral authorities be looking into this?

Look what Twitter did to Donald Trump. I’ve no time for Trump or any politician of course, but it’s outrageous that Twitter (and Facebook) banned him.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Digital, Media & Culture secretary Oliver Dowden to do something about it in this country. Twitter and Facebook can do whatever they like it seems.

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Why is Britain handing huge new powers of censorship to tech giants to control what we write and say?

By Damian Wilson | RT | May 3, 2021

The UK is turning its broadcast regulator into the Hatefinder General, with a new law compelling social media companies to enforce an authoritarian crackdown on our behaviour that’s ‘unprecedented in any democracy’.

As the British nanny state widens its scope with the government’s new Online Safety Bill it is a sign that the German concept of wehrhafte Demokratie – or militant democracy – has arrived on our shores, dictating that some of our rights are sacrificed in the interests of order.

Once enshrined in law, the bill will ensure that true, online freedom of speech will follow the dial-up modem and those once omnipotent AOL subscription CDs into the dustbin of internet history. According to the authors of ‘You’re on Mute”, a briefing document from the Free Speech Union (FSU), the government’s plans “will restrict online free speech to a degree almost unprecedented in any democracy”.

But I have to admit, I’m a bit sceptical how this brand new plan is going to work. So far, it seems that Ofcom, the broadcaster regulator, will be asked to draw up a code of practice setting out the rules which social media companies will be legally obliged to follow. Ofcom will then enforce the rules with fines of up to £18 million or 10% of turnover levied on those who break them.

And what are the rules? Well, taking the guide to what constitutes hate speech as a starting point, it means not saying anything that might spread, incite, promote or justify hatred based on intolerance on the grounds of disability, ethnicity, social origin, sex, gender, gender reassignment, nationality, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, colour, genetic features, language, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth or age. Phew!

Under the new bill, however, alongside the no-go areas, it will also become an offence to deliberately create and disseminate “false and/or manipulated information that is intended to deceive and mislead audiences, either for the purposes of causing harm, or for political, personal or financial gain”.

As well, the yet-to-be-revealed code will also insist that “legal but harmful” activity be blocked. How “harmful” that might be is to be judged upon the psychological impact it might cause. So be careful of those clown pics you’re posting on Facebook.

If someone told me these were the rules governing access to the internet in China, I would not bat an eyelid, so authoritarian and freedom-smothering they are even at first glance. But look at them a little closer and, well, they’re even scarier.

Ofcom’s list of hate speech minefields now includes one of the gender gestapo’s favourite areas of victimhood – gender reassignment, apparently putting a cordon around it so it may no longer be debated – and also “political, personal or financial gain”.

So how is this ever going to work in the realm of political campaigns, where the whole point is to offer flip-side views diametrically opposed to each other? As the authors of the FSU briefing point out: “No UK Government or Opposition should support proposals which give internet censors, whether this be a state regulator or ‘fact-checkers’ employed by social media companies, the power to censor the sometimes-offensive free speech which is part of any democracy. Political parties should also note that this will inevitably result in the censorship of their own activists.”

While Ofcom will act as Hatefinder General in policing its code of practice, the government is looking to tech giants like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to rise to the challenge and monitor their users for breaches of the new rules.

You may have noticed that these are the very same companies the UK continually fines and rails against over non-payment of taxes. Now they’re being asked to step up to a massive new role overseeing the way British people treat each other. Who dreamt up this model and thought it was a good idea?

Digging further, what exactly counts as disinformation or even misinformation under the new codes, which seem specifically drawn up with Covid-19 in mind and the various controversies of its origins, vaccine efficacy and countless hoaxes?

The internet is full of lies, we all know that. Not all are deliberate, but you could be caught out under the code’s definition of misinformation – “inadvertently spreading false information” – by sharing something that is not factually correct.

That this is something the government feels it needs to legislate is extraordinary. The whole thing should have been binned once Theresa May – who introduced the idea – was waved out the door of Downing Street.

Because what we need to help us navigate to the truth online is not less but more information. It’s the easy access to a diversity of views from one end of the scale to the other that is the whole point of the internet. It is not a problem that needs solving. Otherwise, we are stuck with a sanitised, government-approved version of truth that has ticked all the boxes and is now considered safe for human consumption even while some of what we are being asked to swallow is just too much.

And why are we asking tech companies to monitor this? It’s mad. The FSU has thrown up an interesting insight it gleaned from the White Paper on the proposed bill as the government extolled the virtues of YouTube’s censorship rules.

In its efforts to counter disinformation during the coronavirus pandemic, YouTube decided that any posts on its platform that offered a view that flew in the face of the opinions of the World Health Organisation would be taken offline in a bid to counter disinformation, including junk cures.

That made the worldview of the WHO the only version of the truth. And that is doubly weird because, in its efforts to suck up to China, the organisation now officially recognises traditional Chinese herbal medicine – known everywhere else as quack cures – alongside evidence-based medicine.

So we have the situation where YouTube is cracking down on junk cures expounded by users, while simultaneously promoting them through slavish adherence to the policy directives of the WHO. And now we want YouTube to take responsibility for the safety of their users across Britain? I’m not so sure this state-sponsored, tech giant-monitored censorship is such a good idea.

It allows those with no moral authority to trample over our freedoms while attempting to convince us it is for the greater good, while at the same time it patronises us, wraps debate up in a cosy blanket and whispers ‘night-night’ and rocks us to sleep protected from a world where, god forbid, we might be asked to think for ourselves.

There’s rubbish on the internet? So what? Let’s talk about it.

As the FSU says, “This is precisely why we have freedom of speech: to encourage debates about controversial issues, including the expression of unorthodox ideas that challenge what people currently believe to be true.”

This discourse is how we progress and the government needs to pause and think about that. Because the Online Safety Bill, in terms of that precious freedom of speech, is a retrograde step.

Damian Wilson is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.

May 3, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Twitter isn’t censoring accounts to keep users ‘safe’, but to spoon-feed establishment narratives

By Eva Bartlett | RT | April 30, 2021

It’s one thing to have policies against violence, abuse, and harassment. But in “protecting” users, Twitter is hell-bent on censoring voices that rock the boat, even when all they have tweeted is a peer-reviewed scientific paper.

Last week, Simon Goddek, who has a PhD in biotechnology and researches system dynamics, tweeted a link to a scientific study titled, “Is a Mask That Covers the Mouth and Nose Free from Undesirable Side Effects in Everyday Use and Free of Potential Hazards?”

Some time later, his account was frozen and he received a notice from Twitter that it would remain frozen until he deleted the offending tweet, and for the 12 hours following that.

In his Telegram group, he wrote:

“I was put into Twitter jail for citing a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Cancel science is real.

“What’s especially concerning is that I didn’t make any personal comment on the paper’s content. I only said that regarding that paper, masks CAN lead to massive health damages. It’s the conclusion of a scientific piece of work that has been peer-reviewed by at least 2 experts in the field.”

According to Twitter, Goddek violated their policy on, “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19.”

The article in question wasn’t even as risqué as others and merely addressed undesirable side effects of mask wearing. How is that “misinformation”?

I spoke with Goddek to learn more about what happened. Turns out, it’s not the first time.

“The first time I got censored because I cited a scientific, peer-reviewed paper on masks. I was just citing their work, and I got put into Twitter jail. In that tweet, I was saying, ‘Look, it seems masks don’t work.’  So, I also said my opinion.

“This time, I found another study on masks, which says there are adverse effects if you wear masks. So, I was citing the paper without putting my own opinion, and they censored me again, made me delete it and put me into Twitter jail again.”

On April 17, Naomi Wolf tweeted she had been locked out of Twitter for the fourth time for sharing a Stanford study, “proving the lack of efficacy of masks.” That study was also peer-reviewed.

This isn’t merely a case of Twitter deciding that Goddek and Wolf were not in the position to be discussing the efficacy or dangers of masks. Twitter is censoring pretty much anything about Covid that doesn’t match the narrative promoted by the WHO, CDC, and other such bodies.

Even a well-known epidemiologist has faced Twitter’s wrath. An article in the American Institute for Economic Research noted:

“Harvard Professor Martin Kulldorff and co-creator of the Great Barrington Declaration, one of the most cited epidemiologists and infectious -disease experts in the world has been censored by Twitter. His tweet on how not everyone needs a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 was not taken down. He had a warning slapped on it and users have been prevented from liking or retweeting the post.”

That article also emphasized:

“Dr. Kulldorff serves on the Covid-19 vaccine safety subgroup that the CDC, NIH, and FDA rely upon for technical expertise on this very subject.”

On April 10, a group called Drs4CovidEthics tweeted:

“Not a month on Twitter & we were locked out of our account, forced to delete our pinned tweet. We must self-censor or be banned says Twitter (paraphrasing) We mustn’t contradict official sources. But our letters contradict official sources. With good reason. Which we can’t tweet.”

What do they know better than Twitter censors? They’re merely “doctors & scientists from 25+ countries, including heads of ICU, world leading immunologists, experts in public health, drug safety, respiratory illness, GPs, researchers in vaccines, pharmacology, virology, biochemistry…”

I searched for more examples of extreme Twitter censorship and found further censorship of vaccine related information, and one person’s hypothesis on why vaccine talk is so particularly taboo: “$157 billion buys a lot of Facebook and Twitter bans.”

The popular independent website Off Guardian recently was locked out of Twitter for sharing one of its own articles on Covid vaccines, they told me.

In fact, Twitter has been censoring Off Guardian for at least a year. When users try to open a tweet to an Off Guardian article, they are met with a warning that the link could be potentially spammy or unsafe.

The warning continues with a large blue button advising to return to the previous page, and a teeny tiny “continue” on to the article option. Same thing for the independent Canadian website Global Research.

Last year, I tried to tweet an article written by respected journalist F. William Engdahl for New Eastern Outlook (NEO). Twitter wouldn’t allow me to even tweet it, instead giving me an error message about the link being “potentially harmful.”

And it’s not only matters of Covid. Just now, I tried to tweet another NEO article, not related to Covid, and was again met with the same message.

A Twitter account focusing on the propaganda around Xinjiang had his account suspended.

And when the New York Post wrote exposés about Hunter Biden’s emails, Twitter locked the Post’s account.

Which makes it all the more clear this isn’t about “facts” or “safety” but blatant censorship.

Whether or not you agree with a point or comment being made by one of the people censored by Twitter, we should be allowed to access their perspective, research for ourselves and come to our own conclusions. We don’t need Twitter to hold our hands and spoon-feed us establishment narratives.

Twitter’s “rules” page reads:

“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. Our rules are to ensure all people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely.”

If you believe that, as the saying goes, I have a bridge to sell you.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years).

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

Project Veritas Founder Sues Twitter After He Was Banned Amid Ongoing ‘Expose CNN’ Series

By Alexandra Kashirina – Sputnik – 20.04.2021

Earlier, Twitter permanently suspended the account of Project Veritas founder, James O’Keefe, as the watchdog continues to release its “Expose CNN” series, including the broadcaster’s director saying that the channel was using “propaganda”.

James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, filed a defamation lawsuit against Twitter on Monday, denying platform accusations that he used false pages, considered in Twitter rules as a way to “artificially amplify or disrupt conversations.”

“This defamation action arises from Twitter’s false and defamatory April 15, 2021, statement concerning Twitter’s decision to ban Plaintiff James O’Keefe, an investigative journalist followed by over 926,000 Twitter users as of the time he was banned.”

“Twitter’s false claim that Mr. O’Keefe used ‘fake accounts’ on Twitter has caused Mr. O’Keefe damage and, unless retracted, will continue to cause him damage,” the lawsuit reads.

According to the lawsuit, “Twitter made such claims with knowledge of their falsity in order to distract and detract from Project Veritas’s CNN release of the same day.”

Last week, Twitter banned O’Keefe’s page after accusing O’Keefe of using “fake accounts.”

The ban came shortly after the release of a third Project Veritas revelation which included an interview with CNN technical director Charles Chester recorded clandestinely on a hidden camera. Chester claimed that the broadcaster was aiming to prevent former US President Donald Trump from being re-elected by focusing on negative news about him.

“Look what we did, we [CNN] got Trump out. I am 100% going to say it, and I 100% believe that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out…I came to CNN because I wanted to be a part of that,” Chester appeared to say during a secretly recorded conversation with a Project Veritas journalist.

Chester also claimed that CNN was only covering US President Joe Biden in a favorable light and asserted that the network had assisted BLM the movement by concealing crimes committed by people of color.

The non-profit conservative outlet Project Veritas was founded in 2010 by O’Keefe and includes a group of journalists who focus on publishing investigative reports on officials they claim are liberal as well as various organizations, including big tech companies.

Project Veritas and the social media accounts of several of its employees have faced a number of bans regarding their reporting about Facebook, Twitter, Google and Pinterest.

April 20, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Bellingcat Launders National Security State Talking Points into the Press

By Alan Macleod | MintPress News | April 9, 2021

AMSTERDAM — Investigative site Bellingcat is the toast of the popular press. In the past month alone, it has been described as “an intelligence agency for the people” (ABC Australia ), a “transparent” and “innovative” (New Yorker ) “independent news collective,” “transforming investigative journalism” (Big Think ), and an unequivocal “force for good” (South China Morning Post ). Indeed, outside of a few alternative news sites, it is very hard to hear a negative word against Bellingcat, such is the gushing praise for the outlet founded in 2014.

This is troubling, because the evidence compiled in this investigation suggests Bellingcat is far from independent and neutral, as it is funded by Western governments, staffed with former military and state intelligence officers, repeats official narratives against enemy states, and serves as a key part in what could be called a “spook to Bellingcat to corporate media propaganda pipeline,” presenting Western government narratives as independent research.

Citizen journalism staffed with spies and soldiers

An alarming number of Bellingcat’s staff and contributors come from highly suspect backgrounds. Senior Investigator Nick Waters, for example, spent three years as an officer in the British Army, including a tour in Afghanistan, where he furthered the British state’s objectives in the region. Shortly after leaving the service, he was hired by Bellingcat to provide supposedly bias-free investigations into the Middle East.

Former contributor Cameron Colquhoun’s past is even more suspect. Colquhoun spent a decade in a senior position in GCHQ (Britain’s version of the NSA), where he ran cyber and Middle Eastern terror operations. The Scot specializes in Middle Eastern security and also holds a qualification from the U.S. State Department. None of this, however, is disclosed by Bellingcat, which merely describes him as the managing director of a private intelligence company that “conduct[s] ethical investigations” for clients around the world — thus depriving readers of key information they need to make informed judgments on what they are reading.

Bellingcat fails to inform its readers of even the most glaring conflicts of interest

There are plenty of former American spooks on Bellingcat’s roster as well. Former contributor Chris Biggers, who penned more than 60 articles for the site between 2014 and 2017, previously worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — a combat support unit that works under the Department of Defense and the broader Intelligence Community. Biggers is now the director of an intelligence company headquartered in Virginia, on the outskirts of Washington (close to other semi-private contractor groups like Booz Allen Hamilton), that boasts of having retired Army and Air Force generals on its board. Again, none of this is disclosed by Bellingcat, where Biggers’s bio states only that he is a “public and private sector consultant based in Washington, D.C.”

For six years, Dan Kaszeta was a U.S. Secret Service agent specializing in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and for six more he worked as program manager for the White House Military Office. At Bellingcat, he would provide some of the intellectual ammunition for Western accusations about chemical weapons use in Syria and Russia’s alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal.

Kaszeta is also a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank funded by a host of Western governments as well as weapons contractors such as Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Its president is a British field marshal (the highest attainable military rank) and its senior vice president is retired American General David Petraeus. Its chairman is Lord Hague, the U.K.’s secretary of state between 2010 and 2015.

Bellingcat Sergei Skripal

A Bellingcat article covering the alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a story covered heavily by the organization. Alexander Zemlianichenko | AP

All of this matters if a group is presenting itself as independent when, in reality, their views align almost perfectly with the governments funding them. But yet again, Bellingcat fails to follow basic journalism ethics and inform readers of these glaring conflict of interests, describing Kaszeta as merely the managing director of a security company and someone with 27 years of experience in security and antiterrorism. This means that unless readers are willing to do a research project they will be none the wiser.

Other Bellingcat contributors have similar pasts. Nour Bakr previously worked for the British government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office while Karl Morand proudly served two separate tours in Iraq with the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division.

Government and intelligence officials are the opposite of journalists. The former exist to promote the interests of power (often against those of the public) while the latter are supposed to hold the powerful to account on behalf of the people. That is why it is so inappropriate that Bellingcat has had so many former spooks on their books. It could be said that ex-officials who have renounced their past or blown the whistle, such as Daniel Ellsberg or John Kiriakou, have utility as journalists. But those who have simply made the transition into media without any change in positions usually serve only the powerful.

Who pays the piper?

Just as startling as its spooky staff is Bellingcat’s source of funding. In 2016 its founder, Eliot Higgins, dismissed the idea that his organization got money from the U.S. government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as a ludicrous conspiracy theory. Yet, by the next year, he openly admitted the thing he had laughed off for so long was, in fact, true (Bellingcat’s latest available financial report confirms that they continue to receive financial assistance from the NED). As many MintPress readers will know, the NED was explicitly set up by the Reagan administration as a front for the CIA’s regime-change operations. “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” said the organization’s co-founder Allen Weinstein, proudly.

Higgins himself was a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, NATO’s quasi-official think tank, from 2016 to 2019. The Atlantic Council’s board of directors is a who’s who of state power, from war planners like Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell to retired generals such as James “Mad Dog” Mattis and H.R. McMaster. It also features no fewer than seven former CIA directors. How Higgins could possibly see taking a paid position at an organization like this while he was still the face of a supposedly open and independent intelligence collective as being at all consistent is unclear.

Bana Alabed, an outsoken anti-Assad child activist, promotes Bellingcat at an Atlantic Council event. Photo | Twitter

Other questionable sources of income include the Human Rights Foundation, an international organization set up by Venezuelan activist Thor Halvorssen Mendoza. Halvorssen is the son of a former government official accused of being a CIA informant and a gunrunner for the agency’s dirty wars in Central America in the 1980s and the cousin of convicted terrorist Leopoldo Lopez. Lopez in turn was a leader in a U.S.-backed coup in 2002 and a wave of political terror in 2014 that killed at least 43 people and caused an estimated $15 billion worth of property damage. A major figure on the right-wing of Venezuelan politics, Lopez told journalists that he wants the United States to formally rule the country once President Nicolas Maduro is overthrown. With the help of the Spanish government, Lopez escaped from jail and fled to Spain last year.

Imagine, for one second, the opposite scenario: an “independent” Russian investigative website staffed partially with ex-KGB officials, funded by the Kremlin, with most of their research focused on the nefarious deeds of the U.S., U.K. and NATO. Would anyone take it seriously? And yet Bellingcat is consistently presented in corporate media as a liberatory organization; the Information Age’s gift to the people.

The Bellingcat to journalism pipeline

The corporate press itself already has a disturbingly close relationship with the national security state, as does social media. In 2019, a senior Twitter executive was unmasked as an active duty officer in the British Army’s online psychological operations unit. Coming at a time when foreign interference in politics and society was the primary issue in U.S. politics, the story was, astoundingly, almost completely ignored in the mainstream press. Only one U.S. outlet of any note picked it up, and that journalist was forced out of the profession weeks later.

Increasingly, it seems, Bellingcat is serving as a training ground for those looking for a job in the West’s most prestigious media outlets. For instance, former Bellingcat contributor Brenna Smith — who was recently the subject of a media storm after she successfully pressured a number of online payment companies to stop allowing the crowdfunding of the Capitol Building insurrectionists — announced last month she would be leaving USA Today and joining The New York Times. There she will meet up with former Bellingcat senior investigator Christiaan Triebert, who joined the Times’ visual investigations team in 2019.

The Times, commonly thought of as the United States’ most influential media outlet, has also collaborated with Bellingcat writers for individual pieces before. In 2018, it commissioned Giancarlo Fiorella and Aliaume Leroy to publish an op-ed strongly insinuating that the Venezuelan state murdered Oscar Perez. After he stole a military helicopter and used it to bomb government buildings in downtown Caracas while trying to ignite a civil war, Perez became the darling of the Western press, being described as a “patriot” (The Guardian ), a “rebel” (Miami Herald ), an “action hero” (The Times of London ), and a “liberator” (Task and Purpose ).

Until 2020, Fiorella ran an opposition blog called In Venezuela despite living in Canada. Leroy is now a full-time producer and investigator for the U.K.-government network, the BBC.

Bad news from Bellingcat

What we are uncovering here is a network of military, state, think-tank and media units all working together, of which Bellingcat is a central fixture. This would be bad enough, but much of its own research is extremely poor. It strongly pushed the now increasingly discredited idea of a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, attacking the members of the OPCW who came forward to expose the coverup and making some bizarre claims along the way. For years, Higgins and other members of the Bellingcat team also signal-boosted a Twitter account purporting to be an ISIS official, only for an investigation to expose the account as belonging to a young Indian troll in Bangalore. A leaked U.K. Foreign Office document lamented that “Bellingcat was somewhat discredited, both by spreading disinformation itself, and by being willing to produce reports for anyone willing to pay.”

Ultimately, however, the organization still provides utility as an attack dog for the West, publishing research that the media can cite, supposedly as “independent,” rather than rely directly on intelligence officials, whose credibility with the public is automatically far lower.

Oliver Boyd-Barrett, professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University and an expert in the connections between the deep state and the fourth estate, told MintPress that “the role of Bellingcat is to provide spurious legitimacy to U.S./NATO pretexts for war and conflict.” In far more positive words, the CIA actually appears to agree with him.

“I don’t want to be too dramatic, but we love [Bellingcat],” said Marc Polymeropoulos, the agency’s former deputy chief of operations for Europe and Eurasia. “Whenever we had to talk to our liaison partners about it, instead of trying to have things cleared or worry about classification issues, you could just reference [Bellingcat’s] work.” Polymeropoulos recently attempted to blame his headache problems on a heretofore unknown Russian microwave weapon, a claim that remarkably became an international scandal. “The greatest value of Bellingcat is that we can then go to the Russians and say ‘there you go’ [when they ask for evidence],” added former CIA Chief of Station Daniel Hoffman.

Bellingcat certainly seems to pay particular attention to the crimes of official enemies. As investigative journalist Matt Kennard noted, it has only published five stories on the United Kingdom, 17 on Saudi Arabia, 19 on the U.S. (most of which are about foreign interference in American society or far-right/QAnon cults). Yet it has 144 on Russia and 244 under its Syria tag.

In his new book “We Are Bellingcat: An Intelligence Agency for the People,” the outlet’s boss Higgins writes: “We have no agenda but we do have a credo: evidence exists and falsehoods exist, and people still care about the difference.” Yet exploring the backgrounds of its journalists and its sources of funding quickly reveals this to be a badly spun piece of PR.

Bellingcat looks far more like a bunch of spooks masquerading as citizen journalists than a people-centered organization taking on power and lies wherever it sees them. Unfortunately, with many of its proteges travelling through the pipeline into influential media outlets, it seems that there might be quite a few masquerading as reporters as well.

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles.

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment