Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Fri Apr 29, 2022 1:53 pm

All search engines are effectively controlled by the U.S. government
April 29, 2022 Eric Zuesse

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Because it has become widely known that Google search-results exclude any find that proves the falsehood of the U.S. government’s key allegations regarding international relations (such as the U.S. government’s allegation that Ukraine’s government is not controlled by racist fascists or “nazis” as it actually is and has been ever since February 2014), many researchers have started using other search-engines, such as DuckDuckGo, which advertises on America’s neoconservative liberal National Public Radio (NPR) network as being an alternative to Google. However, on March 9th, DuckDuckGo’s CEO & Founder, Gabriel Weinberg, issued a tweet saying “Like so many others I am sickened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the gigantic humanitarian crisis it continues to create. #StandWithUkraine. At DuckDuckGo, we’ve been rolling out search updates that down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation.”

There was immediate blowback from researchers who hate Google because it does what DuckDuckGo had just admitted there that DuckDuckGo ALSO does: filter out information that the U.S. government doesn’t want the public to know (such as that Ukraine’s nazis control Ukraine and are backed by the U.S. government).

So, Weinberg quickly followed up with “In addition to down-ranking sites associated with disinformation, we also often place news modules and information boxes at the top of DuckDuckGo search results (where they are seen and clicked the most) to highlight quality information for rapidly unfolding topics.”

That didn’t quell the blowback; so, on April 17 he tweeted that “there is a completely made up headline going around this weekend. We are not ‘purging’ any media outlets from results. Anyone can verify this by searching for an outlet and see it comes up in results.”

That response from him was assuming what he undoubtedly knew to be false: that the users’ concern was whether or not a given “outlet” that’s being searched-for by a user will be found if specifically searched-for on DuckDuckGo. He’s not so stupid as to actually believe that that is what users are actually rebelling against — he knows that instead they are rebelling against having a search-engine, whether Google or DuckDuckGo or any other, pretend to be able to predetermine which allegations or types of allegations that are accessible through the Web are true, and which are false (or ‘low quality’). Obviously, no search-engine can do that; any that pretend to are committing fraud. But that sadly includes every search-engine.

Any intelligent user of the internet knows that ANY censorship on the Web is dictatorial, NOT democratic. It’s at least as dictatorial if it is coming from billionaires such as Gabriel Weinberg, or Jack Dorsey, or Mark Zuckerberg, or their agents, as it is if it comes from the government itself — which the user can vote against at election-time without needing to purchase shares of stock in some corporation in order to become enabled to vote against its CEO and other officials. Corporate dictatorship is what Mussolini proudly advocated for in 1920s Italy and called alternatively “fascism” and “corporationism.” That’s what we’ve now got in the U.S. and its allied countries.

One of the U.S. government’s mouthpieces, the neoconservative liberal website Slate (owned by the neoconservative liberal Donald Graham who had sold the neoconservative liberal Washington Post to the neoconservative liberal Jeff Bezos), headlined on March 15th “The DuckDuckGo Users Furious at Its Response to the War in Ukraine”, and tried to marginalize the opponents of censorship by pretending that all of them are far-rightwingers:

More than 30,000 users on Twitter have responded to Weinberg’s post with largely negative comments about the decision, accusing the company of engaging in censorship and injecting bias into search results. Breitbart ran a piece attacking DuckDuckGo as “Diet Google,” and high-profile libertarian YouTubers have also told their followers to stop using it.

DuckDuckGo’s executives have been trying to quell the unrest. “The whole point of DuckDuckGo is privacy,” Weinberg wrote back to one of his critics. “The whole point of the search engine is to show more relevant content over less relevant content, and that is what we continue to do.” The company also released an official statement, which read in part, “It’s also important to note that down-ranking is different from censorship. We are simply using the fact that that these sites are engaging in active disinformation campaigns as a ranking signal that the content they produce is of lower quality, just like there are signals for spammy sites and other lower-quality content.”

DuckDuckGo didn’t originally set out to be a conservative-friendly “free speech” platform, even though many of its users seem to see it that way.


On March 10th, a thread was started at Reddit titled “Whelp no more DDG for me” and users were asking there for recommendations of search-engines that are NOT being controlled by agents of the U.S. government. Allegations were made there that the Brave Browser’s Brave search-engine isn’t censoring its finds. However, I have consistently found that the Brave search-engine is just as cleansed of finds that are in sites that America’s billionaires and the government they control blacklist as is Google and DuckDuckGo. Someone instead recommended — and it was seconded — “Yandex.” That is a Russian search-engine, but — at least in America — it rides on the back of Google and thereby excludes finds that U.S. billionaires and their agents blacklist. I have tried other search-engines as well, but never yet found one that doesn’t censor-out almost all of the sites that publish (or have published) my articles. In fact, I know that some excellent sites that publish or did publish my articles were closed down by the FBI, and that others have told me that they received warnings from Google to stop publishing articles from me. Almost all of the sites that publish my articles fail to show up in any search-engine when the article’s title is web-searched. Instead, mirror-sites that automatically republish from sites that publish me show up, and sometimes ONLY such mirror-sites show up in a web-search for an article from me. You can try it yourself (such as by web-searching the title — including the quotation-marks surrounding it — of the first linked-to source in the present article, “Zelensky’s Secret CIA-Nazi Ukrainian government”). Most of the finds are mirror-sites, not sites that actually accepted and published the article that I had submitted. The U.S. regime doesn’t seem to be trying to crush mirror-sites, but only to crush independent publishers. And, so, independent publishers, in U.S.-and-allied countries, tend not to last very long, because they are blacklisted, by the billionaires and their government.

Source: Pressenza

https://www.struggle-la-lucha.org/2022/ ... overnment/

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sun May 01, 2022 2:26 pm

U.S. DHS Announces a “Disinformation Governance Board”

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U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. APr. 30, 2022.

Published 30 April 2022

The United States of America's Department of Homeland Security has announced the establishement of a "Disinformation Governance Board" to counter disinformation online.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has anounced that it is ramping up its efforts to supposedly counter disinformation coming from Russia, as well as misleading information circulated by human smugglers to target migrants hoping to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The spread of disinformation can affect border security, the safety of Americans during disasters, and public confidence in our democratic institutions," the department said in a statement on Wednesday.

Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that this newly formed Disinformation Governance Board is said to begin focusing immediately on misinformation targeting migrants, as well as monitor and prepare for Russian disinformation threats as this year's midterm elections approach and the Kremlin continues an aggressive disinformation campaign around the war in Ukraine.

The board will be led by 'disinformation expert' Nina Jankowicz, who has supposedly researched Russian disinformation tactics and online harassment. The Biden Administrations appointment of Jankowicz has received great pushback from both sides of the political spectrum, declairing her unfit.


During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden, a Democrat, repeatedly said he would press technology companies, including Facebook, to crack down harder on the disinformation and conspiracy theories that have overwhelmed social networks and their users.

DHS said in its statement that the board will "protect privacy, civil rights and civil liberties" as part of its duties.

However, Internet users in the U.S. are concerned over the DHS setting up a new Disinformation Governance Board. Some have made comparisons that this board is going to function as the ‘Ministry of Truth’ from George Orwell’s '1984'.

"Every dictatorship has a propaganda arm — a “Ministry of Truth.” The Biden Administration has now formally joined the ranks of such dictatorships with their creation of the so-called “Disinformation Governance Board”, tweeted 2020 presidential candidate and former Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.


Dozens of Republican lawmakers and pundits took to social media Wednesday to widely criticize the new board and call for its dissolution.

"Instead of policing our border, Homeland Security has decided to make policing Americans' speech their top priority," a tweet from U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri read in part. "They are creating a Disinformation Board."

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) offered some skepticism, citing his own work on combating foreign misinformation. “I do not believe that the United States government should turn the tools that we have used to assist our allies counter foreign adversaries onto the American people. Our focus should be on bad actors like Russia and China, not our own citizens.”

In February of this year the Department of Homeland Security began to created the necessary grounds to establish their Disinformation Governance Board, following a bulletin that alleged "misinformation" created a heightened threat for domestic terrorism in the U.S.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/U.S ... -0005.html
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon May 02, 2022 1:52 pm

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An Intellectual No-Fly Zone: Online Censorship of Ukraine Dissent Is Becoming the New Norm
April 30, 2022
By Alan Macleod – Apr 25, 2022

“Censorship is the last resort of desperate and unpopular regimes. It magically appears to make a crisis go away. It comforts the powerful with the narrative they want to hear, one fed back to them by courtiers in the media, government agencies, think tanks, and academia.” – Chris Hedges

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA – Google has sent a warning shot across the world, ominously informing media outlets, bloggers, and content creators that it will no longer tolerate certain opinions when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Google AdSense sent a message to a myriad of publishers, including MintPress News, informing us that, “Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.” This content, it went on to say, “includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim-blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”

This builds on a similar message Google’s subsidiary YouTube released last month, stating, “Our Community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events. We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy.” YouTube went on to say that it had already permanently banned more than a thousand channels and 15,000 videos on these grounds.

Journalist and filmmaker Abby Martin was deeply troubled by the news. “It is really disturbing that this is the trend that we are on,” she told MintPress, adding:

It is a preposterous declaration considering that the victim is whoever we are told by our foreign policy establishment. It really is outrageous to be told by these tech giants that taking the wrong side of a conflict that is quite complicated will now hurt your views, derank you on social media or limit your ability to fund your work. So you have to toe the line in order to survive as a journalist in alternative media today.”

The most prominent victim of the recent banning spate has been Russian state media such as RT America, whose entire catalog has been blocked throughout most of the world. RT America was also blocked from broadcasting across the U.S., leading to the network’s sudden closure.

“Censorship is the last resort of desperate and unpopular regimes. It magically appears to make a crisis go away. It comforts the powerful with the narrative they want to hear, one fed back to them by courtiers in the media, government agencies, think tanks, and academia,” wrote journalist Chris Hedges, adding:

YouTube disappeared six years of my RT show, “On Contact,” although not one episode dealt with Russia. It is not a secret as to why my show vanished. It gave a voice to writers and dissidents, including Noam Chomsky and Cornel West, as well as activists from Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter, third parties and the prison abolitionist movement.”

Smaller, independent creators have also been purged. “My stream last night on RBN was censored on Youtube after debunking the Bucha Massacre narrative… Unreal censorship going on right now,” wrote Nick from the Revolutionary Black Network. “My video ‘Bucha: More Lies’ has been deleted by YouTube’s censors. The Official Narrative is now: ‘Bucha was a Russian atrocity! No dissent allowed!’” Chilean-American journalist Gonzalo Lira added.

Other social media platforms have pursued similar policies. Twitter permanently suspended the account of former weapons inspector Scott Ritter over his comments on Bucha and journalist Pepe Escobar for his support for Russia’s invasion.

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A notice to MintPress from Google threatening demonetizationThose views are certainly currently in the minority, with testimonies from locals pointing the finger at Russian forces, who have carried out similar acts during other conflicts. Yet even the Pentagon has refused to categorically conclude Russian culpability without a full investigation.

Beyond Bucha, where the line is in terms of accepted speech is being kept vague, leading to confusion and consternation among independent media outlets and content creators. “This is going to limit reporting on the Ukraine crisis because people are going to be scared,” Martin said. “People [in alternative media] are going to opt to not publish or not report on something because of fear of retaliation. And once you start to get demonetized, the next fear is that your videos are going to get blanket banned,” she added.

While support for Russia has essentially been prohibited, glorification of even the most unsavory elements of Ukrainian society on social media is now all-but-promoted. In February, Facebook announced that it would not only reverse its ban on discussing the Azov Battalion, a Nazi paramilitary now formally incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard, but also allow content praising and promoting the group – as long as it was in the context of killing Russians.

Facebook and Instagram also instituted a change in policy that allows users to call for harm or even the death of Russian and Belarussian soldiers and politicians. This rare allowance was also given in 2021 to those calling for the death of Iranian leaders. Needless to say, violent content directed at governments friendly to the U.S., such as Ukraine, is still strictly forbidden.

The media demands more censorship

Leading the campaign for more intense censorship has been corporate media itself. The Financial Times successfully lobbied Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch to delete a number of pro-Russian streamers. The Daily Beast attacked Gonzalo Lira, going so far as to contact the Ukrainian government to make them aware of Lira’s work. Lira confirmed that, after The Daily Beast’s article, he was arrested by the Ukrainian secret police.

Meanwhile, The New York Times published a hit piece on anti-war journalist Ben Norton, accusing him of spreading a “conspiracy theory” that the U.S. was involved in a coup in Ukraine in 2014, while claiming that he was helping promulgate Russian disinformation. This, despite the fact that the Times itself reported on the 2014 coup at the time in a not-too-dissimilar fashion, thereby incriminating its own previous reporting as Russian propaganda. If referencing The New York Times’s own previous reporting becomes grounds for suppression, then meaningful online discourse is under threat. As journalist Matt Taibbi wrote last week, the West is in danger of establishing an “intellectual no-fly zone,” where deviating from orthodoxy will no longer be tolerated.

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An image shared in the NYT hit against Norton. Credit | Multipolarista

The invasion of Ukraine has also raised a number of troubling questions for Western anti-war figures: How to oppose Russian aggression without providing more political ammunition to NATO governments to further escalate the conflict? And how to critique and highlight our own governments’ roles in creating the crisis without appearing to justify the Kremlin’s actions? Yet this new perilous media environment raises a further quandary: How to express views online without being censored?

Google’s new updated rules are vaguely worded and open to interpretation. What constitutes “exploiting” or “condoning” the war? Does discussing NATO’s eastward expansion or Ukraine’s aggressive campaign against Russian-speaking minorities constitute victim blaming? And is referencing the seven-year-long civil war in the Donbas region, where the UN estimates that over 14,000 people have been killed, now illegal under Google’s policy of not allowing content about Ukraine attacking its own citizens?

For some, the answer to at least some of these questions should be an emphatic “yes.” On Thursday, journalist Hubert Smeets attacked longtime anti-war activist Noam Chomsky, explicitly accusing him of blaming President Zelensky and Ukraine for its fate. Chomsky has previously described Russian actions as incontestably “a major war crime, ranking alongside the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Hitler-Stalin invasion of Poland in September 1939.” Yet he has also for years warned that NATO actions in the region were likely to provoke a Russian response. If Google and other big-tech monopolies decide an intellectual giant like Chomsky’s voice must be suppressed, it will mark a new era of official censorship not seen since the decline of McCarthyism.

Old propaganda, new Cold War

The United States was allied with the Soviet Union during World War II. However, as the Cold War began to set in, so did attacks on dissenting voices. The postwar anti-communist push began in earnest in 1947, after President Harry S. Truman mandated a loyalty oath for all federal employees. As a result, the political beliefs of two million people were investigated, with authorities attempting to ascertain whether they belonged to any “subversive” political organizations.

Those in positions of influence were most aggressively vetted, leading to purges of academics, educators, and journalists. Many of the most celebrated individuals from the world of entertainment – including actor Charlie Chaplain, singer Paul Robeson, and writer Orson Welles – had their careers destroyed because of their political beliefs. “Socialism was canceled, dissent was canceled after World War Two,” Breakthrough News host Brian Becker recently said, warning that this new Cold War with Russia and China could usher in a new McCarthyist era.

The old Cold War against Russia ended in 1991. However, the new Cold War arguably started 25 years later with the electoral victory of Donald Trump. On November 8, 2016, the Clinton campaign alleged that the Kremlin had used social media to spread fake news and misleading information, leading to Trump’s victory. Despite the lack of hard evidence, corporate media immediately took up Clinton’s message. Only two weeks after the election, The Washington Post published a report claiming that hundreds of fake news websites had pushed Trump over the line and that a credible group of nonpartisan expert researchers had created an organization called “PropOrNot” to track this effort.

Using what it called sophisticated “internet analytics tools,” PropOrNot published a list of over 200 websites that they claimed were “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.” Included on the list were publisher WikiLeaks, Trump-supporting websites like The Drudge Report, libertarian ventures such as The Ron Paul Institute and Antiwar.com, as well as a host of left-wing websites like Truthout, Truthdig, and The Black Agenda Report. MintPress News was also featured on the list. While there were some obviously fake-news websites included, the political orientation of the list was obvious for all to see: this was a catalog of outlets – right- and left-wing – that was consistently critical of the centrist Washington establishment.

A sure sign that you are reading Russian propaganda, PropOrNot claimed, was if the source criticizes Obama, Clinton, NATO, the “mainstream media,” or expresses worry about a nuclear war with Russia. As PropOrNot explained, “Russian propaganda never suggests [conflict with Russia] would just result in a Cold War 2 and Russia’s eventual peaceful defeat, like the last time.”

Despite the blatantly shoddy list, one that even included the websites of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, The Washington Post’s article went viral, being shared millions of times. PropOrNot’s list was subsequently signal-boosted by hundreds of other outlets. And despite calling for McCarthyist investigation into and suppression of hundreds of outlets, PropOrNot categorically refused to reveal who they were, how they were funded, or any methodology whatsoever.

It is now almost certain that it was not a neutral, well-meaning independent organization but the creation of Michael Weiss, a non-resident senior fellow of NATO think tank The Atlantic Council. A scan of PropOrNot’s website showed that it was controlled by The Interpreter, a magazine of which Weiss is editor-in-chief. Furthermore, one investigator found dozens of examples of the Twitter accounts of PropOrNot and Weiss using the identical and very unusual turn of phrase, strongly suggesting they were one and the same. Thus, claims of a huge [foreign] state propaganda campaign were themselves state propaganda.

The reaction to this crude “propaganda about propaganda” campaign was both swift and wide-ranging. In early 2017, Google launched Project Owl, a massive overhaul of its algorithm. It claimed that it was purely a measure to stop foreign fake news from taking over the internet. The main outcome, however, was a catastrophic, overnight collapse in search traffic to high-quality alternative media outlets – drops from which they have never recovered. MintPress News lost nearly 90% of its organic Google search traffic and Truthout lost 25%. Websites that were not on PropOrNot’s list also suffered devastating losses. AlterNet experienced a 63% reduction, Common Dreams 37% and Democracy Now! 36%. Even liberal sources only moderately critical of the status quo, such as The Nation and Mother Jones, were penalized by the algorithm. Google search traffic to alternative media has never recovered and has, in many cases, gotten worse.

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Credit | WSWS

This, for Martin, is a sign of the increasingly close relationship between Silicon Valley and the national security state. “Google willingly changed their algorithm to backpage all alternative media without even a law in place to mandate them to do so,” she said. Other social media juggernauts, such as Facebook and YouTube rolled out similar changes. All penalized alternative media and drove people back towards establishment sources like The Washington Post, CNN and Fox News.

The consequence of all this was to retighten the elite’s grip over the means of communication, a grip that had slipped owing to the rise of the internet as an alternative model.

The “nationalization” of social media

Since 2016, a number of other measures have been taken to bring social media under the wing of the national security state. This was foreseen by Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, who wrote in 2013, “What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century, technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first.” Since then, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM have become integral parts of the state apparatus, signing multibillion-dollar contracts with the CIA and other organizations to provide them with intelligence, logistics and computing services. Schmidt himself was chairman of both the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence and the Defense Innovation Advisory Board, bodies created to help Silicon Valley assist the U.S. military with cyberweapons, further blurring the lines between big tech and big government.

Google’s current Global Head of Developer Product Policy, Ben Renda, has an even closer relationship with the national security state. From being a strategic planner and information management officer for NATO, he then moved to Google in 2008. In 2013, he began working for U.S. Cybercommand and in 2015 for the Defense Innovation Unit (both divisions of the Department of Defense). At the same time, he became a YouTube executive, rising to the rank of Director of Operations.

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Jeff Bezo meets with Trump Defense Secretary James Mattis during a visit to west coast tech and defense companies. Jeff Bezos | Twitter

Other platforms have similar relationships with Washington. In 2018, Facebook announced that it had entered a partnership with The Atlantic Council whereby the latter would help curate the news feeds of billions of users worldwide, deciding what was credible, trustworthy information, and what was fake news. As noted previously, The Atlantic Council is NATO’s brain-trust and is directly funded by the military alliance. Last year, Facebook also hired Atlantic Council senior fellow and former NATO spokesperson Ben Nimmo as its head of intelligence, thereby giving an enormous amount of control over its empire to current and former national security state officials.

The Atlantic Council has also worked its way into Reddit’s management. Jessica Ashooh went straight from being Deputy Director of Middle East Strategy at The Atlantic Council to Director of Policy at the popular news aggregation service – a surprising career move that drew few remarks at the time.

Also eliciting little comment was the unmasking of a senior Twitter executive as an active-duty officer in the British Army’s notorious 77th Brigade – a unit dedicated to online warfare and psychological operations. Twitter has since partnered with the U.S. government and weapons manufacturer-sponsored think tank ASPI to help police its platform. On ASPI’s orders, the social media platform has purged hundreds of thousands of accounts based out of China, Russia, and other countries that draw Washington’s ire.

Last year, Twitter also announced that it had deleted hundreds of user accounts for “undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability” – a statement that drew widespread incredulity from those not closely following the company’s progression from one that championed open discussion to one closely controlled by the government.

The first casualty

Those in the halls of power well understand how important a weapon big-tech is in a global information war. This can be seen in a letter published last Monday written by a host of national security state officials, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA directors Michael Morell and Leon Panetta, and former director of the NSA Admiral Michael Rogers.

Together, they warn that regulating or breaking up the big-tech monopolies would “inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S. technology platforms to … push back on the Kremlin.” “The United States will need to rely on the power of its technology sector to ensure” that “the narrative of events” globally is shaped by the U.S. and “not by foreign adversaries,” they explain, concluding that Google, Facebook, Twitter are “increasingly integral to U.S. diplomatic and national security efforts.”

Commenting on the letter, journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote:

By maintaining all power in the hands of the small coterie of tech monopolies which control the internet and which have long proven their loyalty to the U.S. security state, the ability of the U.S. national security state to maintain a closed propaganda system around questions of war and militarism is guaranteed.”

The U.S. has frequently leaned on social media in order to control the message and promote regime change in target countries. Just days before the Nicaraguan presidential election in November, Facebook deleted the accounts of hundreds of the country’s top news outlets, journalists and activists, all of whom supported the left-wing Sandinista government.

When those figures poured onto Twitter to protest the ban, recording videos of themselves and proving that they were not bots or “inauthentic” accounts, as Facebook Intelligence Chief Nimmo had claimed, their Twitter accounts were systematically banned as well, in what observers coined as a “double-tap strike.”

Meanwhile, in 2009, Twitter acquiesced to a U.S. request to delay scheduled maintenance of its app (which would have required taking it offline) because pro-U.S. activists in Iran were using the platform to foment anti-government demonstrations.

More than 10 years later, Facebook announced that it would be deleting all praise of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani from its many platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp. Soleimani – the most popular political figure in Iran – had recently been assassinated in a U.S. drone strike. The event sparked uproar and massive protests across the region. Yet because the Trump administration had declared Soleimani and his military group to be terrorists, Facebook explained, “We operate under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government’s designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its leadership.” This meant that Iranians could not share a majority viewpoint inside their own country – even in their own language – because of a decision made in Washington by a hostile government.

In this light, then, Google’s message to creators about victim-blaming Ukraine or trivializing and condoning violence is a threat: toe the line or face the consequences. While we continue to consider tech monopolies such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook to be private companies, their overwhelming size and their increasing proximity to the national security state means that their actions are tantamount to state censorship.

While fake news – including that emanating from Russia – continues to be a genuine problem, these new actions have far less to do with combatting disinformation or denial of war crimes and far more to do with reestablishing elite control over the field of communication. These new rules will not be applied to corporate media downplaying or justifying U.S. aggression abroad, denying American war crimes, or blaming oppressed peoples – such as Palestinians or Yemenis – for their own condition, but instead will be used as excuses to derank, demote, delist or even delete voices critical of war and imperialism. In war, they say, truth is always the first casualty.

https://orinocotribune.com/an-intellect ... -new-norm/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue May 03, 2022 1:41 pm

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Nina Jankowicza

U.S. gov’t creates ‘Ministry of Truth’ run by cold warrior who smears independent media as ‘Russian disinformation’
Posted May 03, 2022 by Ben Norton

Originally published: Multipolarista on April 29, 2022 (more by Multipolarista)

The US government has created what is essentially a Ministry of Truth. It is led by a censorial cold warrior who worked for a CIA cutout overseeing regime-change operations targeting Russia and Belarus, and who smears independent anti-war American media outlets as supposed “Russian disinformation.”

This new US information czar has also denounced whistleblowing journalistic publication WikiLeaks as “scum,” claiming without evidence that it is part of a supposed Russian “operation” that spreads so-called “malinformation.”

Washington’s de facto Ministry of Truth will be overseen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is infamous for violating civil liberties in the name of the so-called War on Terror.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has warned of DHS’ authoritarian tendencies and called for it to be dismantled. Noting the department’s use of “horrific tactics” against protesters, the ACLU wrote that the “short history of DHS has been filled with violence, the stoking of fear, and a lack of oversight.”

In 2018, DHS published a press release that echoed the white-supremacist “14 words” slogan used by neo-Nazis.

Instead of reining in this scandalous department, the US government is giving DHS even more power over Americans’ freedom of speech.

On April 27, 2022, DHS announced the creation of a “Disinformation Governance Board,” which it said would be dedicated to combatting so-called “Russian disinformation.”

CIA Director William Burns had admitted back in a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March that the United States is waging an “information war” on Russia, and boasted that its President Vladimir “Putin is losing.”

| Nina Jankowicz Cold warrior | MR OnlineDHS’ new Disinformation Governance Board is part of this US government information war, which is in turn a key front in Washington’s new cold war on both Russia and China.

In the guise of fighting supposed “Russian disinformation,” this notoriously authoritarian US institution is threatening to impose more censorship on critics of Washington’s foreign policy. And it has recruited a hard-line information warrior to lead these efforts.

Nina Jankowicz: Cold warrior who helped run regime-change ops at CIA cutout
To run this Disinformation Governance Board, the Joe Biden administration selected a fanatical cold warrior named Nina Jankowicz.

Jankowicz claims to be an expert on so-called “disinformation”; in reality she is an anti-Russia information warrior who has extensive experience working for the US and Ukrainian governments, including a shady CIA cutout.

This newly appointed executive director of DHS’ Disinformation Governance Board has smeared independent American media outlets that expose crimes committed by the US government abroad as vehicles for purported “Russian disinformation,” and has clearly suggested that she supports censoring them.

Jankowicz established herself professionally in Washington by working for several years for the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

This NDI is a branch of the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA front created by the Ronald Reagan administration at the end of the first cold war to fund regime-change operations from the Eastern Bloc to Nicaragua.

NED co-founder Allen Weinstein admitted in the Washington Post in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

The NDI is an arm of the NED that is affiliated with the Democratic Party. (The Republican Party has its own branch of the NED, called the International Republican Institute, or IRI.)

At the NDI, Jankowicz oversaw so-called “democracy assistance programs” in Russia in Belarus. In other words, she helped run regime-change operations aimed at overthrowing these independent Eastern European governments.

US intelligence cutouts like the NDI frequently use “democracy assistance” as a euphemism to mean regime change.

According to her NDI bio, Jankowicz joined the CIA cutout in 2013, and worked for two years on destabilization operations targeting Russia and Belarus.

| Jankowicz | MR OnlineThen in 2015, she moved to the NDI’s “Government Relations and Communications team,” where Jankowicz said she bridged “her passion for democracy assistance and social media.”

In a 2016 article in Democracy Works, the NDI’s official publication, Jankowicz described herself as “someone who has made a career in democracy assistance.”

“I have worked in support of democratic progress around the world since 2011 and joined NDI in fall 2013,” she boasted.

Jankowicz added that she was “proud to be a participant in democratic progress in the United States and and proud to work for NDI — an organization that supports democratic progress the world over.”

Nina Jankowicz smears independent US media outlets as “Russian disinfo”
When Donald Trump won the 2016 US presidential election, the Democratic Party hatched a conspiracy theory that blamed Russia for Hillary Clinton’s loss. Many Democratic operatives in Washington subsequently transitioned their careers to cash in on the “counter-disinformation” racket.

Jankowicz moved away from “democracy assistance” and rebranded herself as an expert on so-called “Russian disinformation.”

She moved to Ukraine and began working for its new right-wing, viciously anti-Russian government, which had been installed after a violent US-sponsored 2014 coup.

Jankowicz boasts on her website that, from 2016 to 2017, “she advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on disinformation and strategic communications.”

Jankowicz’s work for Ukraine’s post-coup regime was sponsored by a US Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship.

After her year in Ukraine, Jankowicz was given a cushy position as a “disinformation fellow” at the Wilson Center, a hawkish US government-funded think tank that advocates for an aggressive foreign policy.

There, Jankowicz worked on churning out anti-Russia information warfare for the Kennan Institute, named after infamous cold warrior George F. Kennan, a US diplomat who helped to create “containment” policy toward the Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, Jankowicz spread some disinformation of her own, citing US spies to repeatedly claim that the leak of files from Hunter Biden’s laptop was part of a “Russian influence op.” (The authenticity of these files was later confirmed by both the New York Times and Washington Post.)

| Nina Twitter | MR OnlineJankowicz also set her targets on independent anti-war media outlets, smearing them as so-called “Russian disinformation.”

On Twitter in November 2017, Jankowicz attacked the whistleblowing journalistic publication WikiLeaks, calling it “scum.”

In May 2018, she accused WikiLeaks of spreading “malinformation,” although the outlet has been shown to have 100% accuracy in all of its publications.

Jankowicz claimed, without any evidence, that “Wikileaks is a cog in a much larger [Russian] operation.” She also implied that WikiLeaks’ founder and former editor Julian Assange, a UN-recognized political prisoner persecuted by the US government, is part of a “Russian influence op.”

| Nina Wiki | MR OnlineThe current US information czar similarly went after independent journalists in the United States.

On Twitter in 2020, Jankowicz boasted that she had blocked journalist Aaron Maté, a critic of US foreign policy who exposed many of the lies behind the Russiagate conspiracy theory.

Jankowicz called the independent US news website The Grayzone “a source of disinfo,” claiming that it was supposedly “implicated in a Russian disinfo op.”

The current US government official, who made her career overseeing US regime-change operations in Eastern Europe, claimed The Grayzone “spreads incredibly damaging disinformation” and “calls popular protests ‘color revolutions’ and papers over Stalinist crimes against humanity.”

In addition to blocking Maté on Twitter, Jankowicz blocked the author of this present report, Multipolarista editor Benjamin Norton, even though he had never engaged with her.

Jankowicz’s eagerness to block independent American journalists who are critical of US foreign policy clearly shows that this cold warrior is not very concerned about the freedom of speech or freedom of the press.

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As a so-called “disinformation expert” at the US government-funded Wilson Center, Jankowicz also went after independent journalists who exposed the US government’s role in waging a decade-long dirty war on Syria, in which the CIA armed and trained Islamist extremists linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS.

When American journalist Ben Swann correctly said in May 2018 that the US government was funding the Syrian opposition group the White Helmets, Jankowicz declared that he was a “conspiracy theorist” who should be censored.

It is an objective, undeniable matter of public record that the US government gave tens of millions of dollars to the White Helmets. In fact mere weeks after Jankowicz’s tweet, in June 2018, the Donald Trump administration gave the Syrian opposition group an additional $6.6 million.

Similarly, Jankowicz has repeatedly rejected the undeniable historical fact that the US government backed a violent coup in Ukraine in 2014, calling it “Russian disinformation.”

| Nina Reality Check | MR OnlineWhile Jankowicz markets herself as a “disinformation expert,” in reality she is a devoted soldier in the US government’s information war on Russia.

In 2020, Jankowicz made her status as an information warrior clear as day, publishing a book titled “How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict.”

While Jankowicz frequently smears Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, and other targets of US foreign policy as “authoritarian” (and even accuses Cuba and Venezuela of supposedly meddling in US elections), she had no problem working for an authoritarian right-wing regime in Ukraine.

Jankowicz advised Ukraine’s government when it was led by billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko, who only came to power thanks to the violent overthrow of former elected president Viktor Yanukovych in a coup in which neo-Nazis and far-right extremists played a key role.

While Jankowicz worked for Poroshenko’s government, he was advised by a fascist extremist who wrote “Heil Hitler” on Facebook and was photographed posing with extremist soldiers wearing Nazi symbols.

Poroshenko’s regime imposed a series of far-right, anti-democratic policies, banning all communist parties and making it a crime punishable by years in prison to use socialist symbols or sing the leftist anthem The Internationale.

The Poroshenko regime made it mandatory for Ukrainians to honor Nazi collaborators like Stepan Bandera, turning fascists who participated in massacres of Jews, Poles, and Romanis during World War II into official, state-appointed national heroes, while simultaneously banning books that exposed their crimes.

Jankowicz is likewise eerily quiet about atrocities committed by the United States. Although she is very active on Twitter and constantly condemns US anti-war journalists for supposedly being soft on Russia, Jankowicz has never mentioned the seven-year war on Yemen.

Jankowicz is sure to never diverge from the bipartisan neoconservative foreign policy consensus in Washington.

She strongly supported Hillary Clinton and her ultra-hawkish foreign policy, tweeting in 2016, “So proud to support HRC as she calls out boundless Russian aggression in Syria.” Jankowicz added the hashtag #ImWithHer.

Jankowicz has similarly fawned over former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, repeatedly referring to her as her “role model.” In an interview on CBS’ program 60 Minutes in 1996, Jankowicz’s role model justified the deaths of half a million Iraqi children due to suffocating sanctions, claiming it was “worth it” to advance US foreign policy interests.

Democrats try to rebrand Bush-era DHS, giving it power over freedom of speech
During the Donald Trump administration, many Democratic politicians condemned the Department of Homeland Security, highlighting in particular the horrific abuse of migrants and refugees carried out by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), which is overseen by the department.

The fact that proud Democrats like Jankowicz and the Biden administration would embrace this notoriously authoritarian department in order to escalate the new cold war on Russia and China reflects how DHS is trying to rebrand.

The Department of Homeland Security was created by the George W. Bush administration after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and was a fundamental part of the architecture of mass surveillance and the so-called War on Terror.

Given DHS’ close associations with these repressive right-wing policies, some Democrats even claimed they wanted to abolish the department.

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), for instance, proposed dismantling DHS in 2019, stating, “Don’t let people rewrite history as if DHS/ICE always existed, or is a no-brainer. It’s a young agency, ill-conceived after 9/11 & sacrificed our civil liberties – like the Patriot Act.”

But many Democrats who superficially opposed DHS during the Trump era have since done a political 180. The Biden administration has helped the department try to rebrand as a supposedly “anti-extremist” institution, claiming it is combatting far-right groups in the United States.

DHS in fact deceptively announced the creation of its “Disinformation Governance Board” by claiming it would be focused on opposing racist fake news spread by right-wing demagogues about immigrants. This was transparently an attempt to deceive liberal critics into believing the institution could serve progressive ends.

This is political cover for DHS’ main activities, which in addition to terrorizing immigrants and refugees also are focused on surveilling left-wing protesters who oppose US government policies, especially its hawkish foreign policy.

The ACLU has emphasized that “DHS has surveilled Black Lives Matter activist circles; descended into mosques and community centers to infiltrate Muslim communities; shot and killed foreign nationals across the border; and monitored protests using fusion center intelligence sharing hubs.”

But the Biden administration, just like the Trump administration, has joined in the bipartisan campaign to strengthen this authoritarian institution, by giving it power to police Americans’ access to information.

This is a flagrant US government attack on the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It demonstrates how, as Washington escalates its new cold war on Russia and China, civil liberties are increasingly under threat.

https://mronline.org/2022/05/03/u-s-gov ... -of-truth/

The way they 'work' the news cycle, the nature of the media and the ownership thereof makes this office almost overkill. Orwell's conception of a 'Ministry of Truth' , founded on his hatred of the Soviet Union, is largely tedious make-work when the technology and social conditioning makes it's job easy-peasy in this dictatorship of capital.

****************************************

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PayPal Blocks Multiple Alternative Media Figures Critical of US Empire Narratives
May 2, 2022
By Caitlin Johnstone – Apr 28, 2022

In what appears to be yet another escalation in Silicon Valley’s redoubled efforts to quash dissident voices since the beginning of the Ukraine war, PayPal has just blocked the accounts of multiple alternative media voices who’ve been speaking critically against official US empire narratives. These include journalist and speaker Caleb Maupin, and Mnar Adley and Alan MacLeod of MintPress News.

Just the other day MintPress published an excellent article by MacLeod titled “An Intellectual No-Fly Zone: Online Censorship of Ukraine Dissent Is Becoming the New Norm” documenting the many ways skepticism of the US government’s version of events in this war is being suppressed by Silicon Valley megacorporations, including financial censorship via the demonetization of YouTube videos that don’t regurgitate the imperial line on Ukraine.

Today, both MintPress and MacLeod have been banned from using the payment service that many online content creators have come to rely on to help crowdfund their work.

MintPress News happens to have published critical journalism about PayPal itself in the past, like the articles it published in 2018 by Whitney Webb documenting the way shady PayPal-linked billionaires Peter Thiel and Pierre Omidyar have advanced the interests of the US empire and facilitated imperial narrative control, or this one from 2016 on how the company blocks Palestinians from opening accounts while showing no such bias against illegal Israeli settlers.

I asked MintPress News Executive Director Mnar Adley for comment on PayPal’s move. Here is her response in full:

“Paypal banning myself and MintPress is blatant censorship of dissenting journalists & outlets. For the past decade MintPress has been unapologetically working as a watchdog journalism outlet to expose the profiteers of the permanent war state from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Sudan to Apartheid Israel’s occupation of Palestine and Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen to regime change operations in Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela where US weapons have flooded these nations to plunge them into devastating civil wars.

“In the era of a declining US empire, censorship has become the last resort of an unpopular regime and its forever wars to make the truth disappear and critical thinking all but dead. With the war in Ukraine raging on, we’ve entered war time and Big Tech giants, including Paypal, are working hand in hand with the New Cold War architects themselves to sanction dissenting journalists. If you read the board of any of these tech giants from Google, Twitter, Facebook and Paypal, they read like a rogues’ gallery of war mongers and their agenda is clear: To control the free flow of information and target the bank accounts of anyone who dares question the official narrative of the Pentagon or State Department.

“It is outrageous to be told that tech giants, which are run by those who directly profit from the New Cold war including the crisis in Ukraine, could limit any journalist’s ability to fund their work. Can you imagine if this was the norm in Russia, China or Iran? Our media would be screaming about free speech and first amendment rights. Yet, when we do it’s ok because it’s under the guise of fighting ‘Russian propaganda’.

“We’re living in an intellectual No-Fly Zone where online censorship of dissenting journalism has become the new norm. The US sanctions regime that is trying to starve Russia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Cuba and Iran and over 25% of the world’s population is now targeting its own citizens with its maximum pressure campaign so we are forced to toe the official government line in order to survive as a journalist in alternative media today.

“No matter the war waged against us, we refuse to be backed into a corner and bullied by tech giants who have a deep relationship with weapons manufacturers like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin and who work hand in hand with NATO that profit off the blood of millions of people around the world. The only way forward is for people to unite on a broader front of non-partisanship and fund our own media because there are more of us than there are of them.”


PayPal has also banned Caleb Maupin, an American speaker and journalist whose work has already seen his personal Twitter account branded “Russia state-affiliated media” by the US state-affiliated platform.

“Why should something as basic as cash transactions be subject to political censorship?” said Maupin when asked for comment. “The economic war on independent countries is turning into a war on free speech. Writers and journalists must be able to eat.”

Indeed, a very effective way to silence unauthorized media voices is to make it difficult for them to earn a living making their voices heard. Speaking from experience I know for a fact I couldn’t put out a fraction of the content I put out if I was forced to work a 9-5 job in some office rather than having the freedom to put all my time and mental energy into this work thanks to the generous support of my readers. Cutting me off from that funding would be the same as censoring me directly, because there’s no way I could continue the kind of work I do.

We are at a profoundly dangerous and frightening point in human history. The US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is escalating by the day and the drums of war are beating ever louder against China over the Solomon Islands and Taiwan. If you think censorship is bad now, wait until this global power grab really gets going.

Featured image: PayPal message informing of MintPress News blocking: You can no longer use PayPal.

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"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed May 04, 2022 2:00 pm

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The NATO to TikTok Pipeline: Why is TikTok Employing so Many National Security Agents?
May 3, 2022
By Alan Macleod – Apr 29, 2022

TikTok has become an enormously influential medium that reaches over one billion people worldwide. Having control over its algorithm or content moderation means the ability to set the terms of global debate and decide what people see. And what they don’t.

CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA – As the bloody conflict in Ukraine continues to escalate, so does the online propaganda war between Russia and the West. A prime example of this is the White House directly briefing influencers on popular social media app TikTok about the war and how to cover it. As the crisis spirals out of control, Americans have turned to TikTok to view real time videos and analysis of the invasion. With the app estimated to have around 70 million U.S. users, the White House is keenly aware of its impact. “We recognize this is a critically important avenue in the way the American public is finding out about the latest … so we wanted to make sure you had the latest information from an authoritative source,” President Joe Biden’s director of digital strategy, Rob Flaherty, told 30 top TikTok influencers.

TikTok itself has taken steps to align itself with U.S. government policy, deleting more than 320,000 Russian accounts and removing at least 41,000 videos peddling misinformation about the war. In addition to this, it has placed warning labels marked “Russia state-controlled media” on 49 accounts linked to the Russian government. Like other big social media platforms, it has not done the same to Western state-owned outlets such as the BBC, RTÉ, or the CBC.

All this is a far cry from 2020, when President Donald Trump signed an order that would shut down TikTok within 45 days unless it was sold to an American buyer. The Chinese-owned platform, the U.S. government alleged, posed a severe national security threat to the United States. Although TikTok is a Chinese company, it is, ironically, completely blocked inside China, their domestic market being served by a sister app, Douyin, which functions in a similar way but is separated by the Great Firewall. Thus, there is no contact or overlap between the two. After Douyin’s success in China, its parent company ByteDance launched a global platform.ByteDance first reached a deal to sell TikTok to Microsoft, then to Oracle and Walmart. Yet the new Biden administration, without explanation, quietly dropped the sale requirement indefinitely in early 2021, saying in a court filing that it had begun a review of security concerns cited by the Trump administration.

That decision left buyers and onlookers alike perplexed. Yet studying the backgrounds of dozens of key TikTok employees brought on since the 2020 scare suggests that, instead of destroying TikTok, perhaps the U.S. national security state has co-opted it instead.

High-placed NATO recruits

Since 2020, there has been a wave of former spooks, spies and mandarins appointed to influential positions within TikTok, particularly around content and policy – some of whom, on paper at least, appear unqualified for such roles.

For example, while simultaneously being the Content Policy Lead for TikTok Canada, Alexander Corbeil is also the vice president of the NATO Association of Canada, a NATO-funded organization chaired by former Canadian Minister of Defense David Collenette. In order to join TikTok, Corbeil left his job at the SecDev Foundation, a U.S. State Department-funded security think tank. Corbeil’s work focused on Middle Eastern security and in particular on the war in Syria and what NATO’s role should be.

Another NATO-linked new recruit is Ayse Koçak, a Global Product Policy manager at the company. Before joining TikTok last year, she spent three years at NATO. Like Corbeil, Koçak had special expertise in Middle Eastern politics, including a year’s tour in Iraq as the organization’s deputy senior civilian representative.

Foard Copeland, who works on TikTok’s trust and safety policy, is also an ex-NATO man. Copeland previously worked as a desk officer for NATO, as well as for the Department of Defense. Between 2011 and 2021, he also worked for U.S. contractor Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI), spending much of that time in Afghanistan. DAI has long been accused of being a CIA front group, perhaps with some justification. In 2009, for example, DAI agent Alan Gross was arrested in Cuba and sentenced to 15 years in prison for spying, espionage, and his part in efforts to destabilize the government.

Perhaps the most worrying NATO alumnus, from a public perspective, is new Feature Policy Manager Greg Andersen. According to his own LinkedIn profile, until 2019, Andersen worked on “psychological operations” for NATO. This fact, according to MintPress contributor Lowkey, was removed after his tweet raising concerns about the relationship between big tech and the national security state went viral. Lowkey wrote:


Andersen’s profile continues to identify him as a former NATO employee, but there is no reference to “psychological operations” or “soldier-system lethality.” Lowkey provided MintPress with a screenshot of what he said was Andersen’s pre-tweet profile, which has been included below.

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Not just NATO

NATO, however, is far from the only organization newly connected to TikTok. The company’s new Global Lead of Integrity and Authenticity, Chris Roberts, is a former senior director of Technology Policy at the Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG), a powerhouse strategy and consulting firm started by late-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The ASG has been perhaps the major staffing source for President Biden’s administration, with at least 10 ASG employees appointed to key positions in national security, state and foreign policy positions.

Before ASG, Roberts worked, in his own words, on “special projects” for the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The NDI was founded by the Reagan administration after a series of CIA scandals necessitated the creation of a network of front groups to take the heat off the agency. The NDI exists to channel U.S. government money, training and support to political and social groups around the world. This could charitably be described as “democracy promotion,” although cynics might label it “overthrowing governments.” As Roberts himself said, “The nature of democracy promotion is that the most important countries to work in are also the ones where the government may not want your ‘help.’”

At TikTok, Roberts’ role is to “Lead the Integrity and Authenticity policy team. This team covers misinformation, synthetic and manipulated media, covert influence activity, and spam and inauthentic engagement.”

One group infamous for peddling misinformation and carrying out covert operations is the CIA. Yet rather than identifying operations, they might be conducting, TikTok has instead recruited a former agent to serve in an important position. Since January, Beau Patteson has been working as a threat analyst for TikTok’s Trust and Safety Division. Between 2017 and 2020, however, Patteson was a targeting analyst for the CIA, after which he joined the State Department to become a foreign service officer. In addition to his role at TikTok, Patteson is also, according to his social media profile, a military intelligence officer in the United States Army.

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One step closer to the halls of power is Victoria McCullough, who previously worked for the Department of Homeland Security and for the White House itself. Like Patteson, McCullough now works on trust and safety at TikTok. Another trust-and-safety TikTok staff member, Christian Cardona, spent nearly 13 years in senior roles at the State Department across the Middle East and Europe before seamlessly moving to the social media giant.

Virtually every former spook or state official this investigation found works in very specific (and highly politically sensitive) fields such as trust, safety and content moderation, rather than in banal areas like marketing, customer service or sales. Yet TikTok’s new recruits come from some of the least trustworthy organizations anywhere in the world – organizations that should not be anywhere near the levers of power of such a popular platform.

The national security state has been the source of some of the most outlandish and damaging fake news claims in recent years. This includes lurid allegations about so-called “Havana Syndrome” and the “BountyGate” hoax. Going further back, falsehoods about weapons of mass destruction or an immiment genocide helped push the U.S. to war in Iraq and Libya, respectively. Yet individuals from many of these institutions are now in charge of deciding what is real and what is fake, and which content to promote or suppress.

In this light, the 2020 pandemonium about TikTok being a national security threat looks increasingly like a power play from the national security state. These dire warnings, and even the threat to completely shut down its platform, subsided only after TikTok began appointing Western officials to important positions within its organization, thereby giving the state considerable influence over the content and direction of the app.

Serious business

Readers who consider TikTok little more than a fun app to watch short videos of people dancing are behind the times. From a modest beginning, it has exploded in popularity, growing exponentially from 85 million global users in early 2018 to 1.2 billion by late 2021 (with a similar monstrous growth in revenue to boot).

It is exceptionally popular among the younger generations. The 2021 Reuters Institute Digital News Report found that 9% of people aged between 18 and 24 worldwide had gone to TikTok to get news over the past week, while 31% of that age group used the app in that period (and therefore likely passively consumed news to some extent). Furthermore, it has a very loyal user base, with the tens of millions of U.S. TikTok users spending an average of 68 minutes per day on the platform.

Thus, TikTok has become an enormously influential medium that reaches over one billion people worldwide. Having control over its algorithm or content moderation means the ability to set the terms of global debate and decide what people see and do not see. MintPress invited TikTok to comment on its relationship with the government, but has not received a response.

Surveillance Valley

This is far from the first time the national security state has pulled this trick, however. In 2018, Facebook came under enormous pressure from the U.S. government, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself being hauled in front of both the House and the Senate to face hours of grilling over the platform’s role in privacy, content moderation and spreading Russian disinformation. Only weeks after this, Facebook announced a new partnership with the Atlantic Council, whereby the group would serve as Facebook’s “eyes and ears,” taking considerable control over its content moderation, supposedly in an effort to weed out fake news and disinformation. The Atlantic Council, however, is NATO’s think tank and serves as its brain trust, with no fewer than seven former CIA directors on its board. Since then, Facebook (or Meta, as it is officially known), appointed former NATO Press Officer and current Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Ben Nimmo to serve as its head of intelligence. In addition, Facebook’s new global director of content policy, Mark Smith, was formerly employed by NATO as an advisor to its deputy commander.

The Atlantic Council has also found its way into Reddit’s management. In 2017, Jessica Ashooh went straight from being deputy director of Middle East strategy at The Atlantic Council to director of policy at the popular news aggregation service – an unusual career move that drew few remarks at the time. Like Corbeil, Koçak and others, Ashooh was a Middle East specialist and was intimately involved in the West’s war in Syria. For years, Reddit took a free-speech absolutist position, even defending hosting clearly illegal sexual content. However, Ashooh’s arrival coincided with a new era of far more forceful moderation. Reddit recently took the decision to not only ban links from Russian state media outlets, but all websites with a Russian (.ru) domain.

Likewise, a number of key Twitter personnel raise eyebrows. Chief among them is Head of Editorial for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Gordon MacMillan, who, in addition to his duties at Twitter, is an officer in the British Army’s 77th Brigade – a notorious unit dedicated to online warfare and psychological operations. Like Facebook, Twitter has partnered with some highly questionable state-linked organizations, giving them considerable influence over its content moderation.

Meanwhile, Google’s current global head of Developer Product Policy, Ben Renda, was formerly a strategic planner and information management officer for NATO, before working for both U.S. Cyber Command and the Department of Defense.

Big Tech a big weapon

The U.S. government, it appears, refuses to allow any competition to its hegemony over the digital realm. Huawei has effectively been banned throughout much of the West, with the United States refusing to allow the Chinese giant to control the new network of 5G communications. U.S. attempts to convince other nations to block Huawei have elicited significant pushback in the Global South. “If you are ahead, I will ban you, I will send warships to your country…That is not competition, that is threatening people,” said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, commenting on U.S. actions. Decades earlier, the U.S. government effectively destroyed the Japanese semiconductor industry, forcing Japan to sign a one-sided trade deal while imposing a 100% tariff on Japanese electronics – a power play that led to a decades-long recession from which the island nation has never recovered.

In 2020, the U.S. government even forced Chinese-owned Grindr to be sold to a U.S. company, deeming the LGBT dating app to be a “national security threat.”

In every accusation, it is said, there is a confession. That Washington considers even frivolous hookup apps to be too important to be outside of U.S. control, lest they be used to influence the public, suggests they know exactly what they are doing, infiltrating big tech companies. Indeed, this was more or less confirmed earlier this month by a letter written by a host of top natsec officials, including former CIA Directors Michael Morell and Leon Panetta, and former Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Frances Townsend (all of whom also sit on the Atlantic Council’s board of directors).

The officials advised that breaking up Silicon Valley giants, as many have advocated, would “inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S. technology platforms to … push back on the Kremlin.” “The United States will need to rely on the power of its technology sector to ensure [that] the narrative of events” globally is shaped by the U.S. and “not by foreign adversaries,” they explain, concluding that Google, Facebook, Twitter are “increasingly integral to U.S. diplomatic and national security efforts.” In other words, they see big-tech as a key weapon of the U.S. empire.

Mockingbird 2.0

In the 1970s, the Church Committee unearthed the existence of Operation Mockingbird, a secret CIA project to infiltrate newsrooms across America and place agents masquerading as journalists inside. Investigative reporter Carl Bernstein’s work found that the CIA had cultivated a network of over 400 individuals it considered assets, including the owner of The New York Times.

Today, it appears that the links between big media and big government are, if anything, closer than they were in the 1970s. The monopolistic power of big social media platforms gives them – whether they like it or not – extraordinary influence over public opinion. And within their opaque Silicon Valley offices, a small cadre of individuals set the algorithms and decide the moderation policies that shape what billions of us see every day. With a host of former officials taking positions in these companies, the U.S. national security state is acquiring some measure of influence over the means of communication. It’s Operation Mockingbird for the 21st century – and on a global scale.

It is not normal for NATO officials or CIA agents to suddenly be put in charge of TikTok content policy. This did not happen purely by accident, just as it did not occur by chance at the other big tech platforms. One might reasonably argue that some of the only people who have the skills to highlight, spot and counter disinformation campaigns are those who have done similar work in the military or secret services. However, these organizations are the last ones that many would want in control of big-tech platforms, given their history of subterfuge and deceit.

Put another way, if these were Russian-based social media companies filled to the brim with former FSB, KGB or Kremlin officials, we would immediately recognize them as blatant government-controlled platforms. Yet many of the most popular apps are heading in the same way.

There is certainly a huge problem with fake news and disinformation online. And a fair chunk of it emanates from Russia. But while some might argue that poachers can become gamekeepers and use their skills for good, this situation feels far more like foxes being in charge of the digital henhouse.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sun May 08, 2022 10:09 pm

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71 Years of RFE/RL: How the CIA-Founded American State Run Media Outlet Survived the Soviet Collapse to Fight Cold War 2.0
May 7, 2022
Originally established as an anti-Bolshevik endeavor, RFE/RL has thrived as US-Russia relations have nose-dived

The first of May marks the 51st anniversary of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (hereinafter “RFE/RL”, although this didn’t become the official name until 1976) – radio stations which broadcast into Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, respectively. As detailed in an internal CIA document from 1951 titled “Radio Aims and Objectives,” RFE/RL was to be operated by refugees or exiles from the various Socialist Bloc countries to broadcast information intended to encourage “hatred against the regime(s)” and to increase the “will to resist the regime(s).” In other words, this project had an explicit function to remove governments unfavorable to Washington.

Undoubtedly, May 1 was chosen as the launch of this project as it coincided with International Workers’ Day, one of the most important holidays in the Socialist Bloc.

From its inception until 1972, it was the CIA which funded RFE/RL, though it did so covertly without congressional knowledge or authorization. And it was CIA Director Allen Dulles – the mastermind behind the overthrow of democratic governments in countries such as Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954) – who greenlit the secret financing of RFE/RL in the hope that it would contribute to the overthrow of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Ironically, even as the CIA was backing this project, it was helping to restore fascist, military rule to Greece – which it preferred to a Greek communist government. The left-wingers had great political stature among the electorate because of their valiant fight against the Nazis.

The memories of this betrayal by the West in Greece were awakened recently when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared by video before the Greek parliament alongside a neo-Nazi Azov fighter, causing some of the members to get up and leave in protest.

The US and its CIA made similar choices in countries such as Indonesia, and later Chile and Argentina, opting to support ultra-right-wing dictatorships in lieu of socialist, albeit democratic, governments.

According to Cord Meyer, who took charge of the CIA’s relationship with Radio Liberty in 1954 and led these operations for many years, “[t]he CIA maintained control over [radio] content by formulating general policy guidelines, which were supplemented by daily meetings to determine the handling of specific news.” Meyer insists, however, that this control did not interfere with the journalistic integrity of the radio programs.

In addition, while Meyer insists that there were no actual spies operating within the radio stations, the radio personnel nevertheless kept detailed accounts of what they observed in the various countries in which they operated; in other words, they did provide intelligence for the CIA. And even after Congress ended CIA funding of RFE/RL in 1972 – the money would come directly from Congress from then on – its primary purpose remained to broadcast anti-communist programs into the East Bloc, at least until the communist governments in Eastern Europe and then the Soviet Union collapsed.

Of course, RFE/RL openly takes credit for helping to bring about this ultimate collapse, believing that its influence whittled away at the support of the various communist governments. It has found support for this claim from the likes of Vaclav Havel (who invited RFE/RL to move from its original headquarters in Munich, Germany to Prague after the collapse of the East Bloc) and Boris Yeltsin.

I recall quite vividly, as someone who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, the incessant complaints that the Soviet Union would often jam the signals of Radio Liberty – evidence, we were told, that Moscow simply could not handle the truth. I think of this now as the outlet I am writing this article for – RT, of course a Russian-based news outlet – is being suppressed in the US or outrightly banned in the EU.

You may ask what this says about the EU and the US today.

RFE/RL would seem to be a relic of the bygone era of the Cold War when the US and the Soviet Union were vying for the hearts and minds of the world. Not only is the Cold War over, but it seems that most mainstream outlets – such as Fox, CNN and MSNBC – serve the same role as RFE/RL itself. And yet, RFE/RL continues to exist to this day, and indeed has received new life during the current crisis in Ukraine – a flashpoint which some observe as the beginning of a new Cold War.

However, the fact that RFE/RL has broadcast continuously, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it begs the question of whether the first Cold War ever actually ended in the first place. Certainly, some observers, myself included, believe that the stand-off didn’t come to a conclusion, and we strain to understand why. I agree with John Feffer, writing in Foreign Policy in Focus, who opined:

However, the fact that RFE/RL has broadcast continuously, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it begs the question of whether the first Cold War ever actually ended in the first place. Certainly, some observers, myself included, believe that the stand-off didn’t come to a conclusion, and we strain to understand why. I agree with John Feffer, writing in Foreign Policy in Focus, who opined:

If Washington had disbanded NATO, pushed for nuclear disarmament, and helped to create a new security architecture for Europe that included Russia, the Cold War would have died a natural death. Instead, because the institutions of the Cold War lived on, the spirit of the enterprise lay dormant, only waiting for the opportunity to spring forth.

Of course, RFE/RL is one of the other “institutions of the Cold War [which] lived on,” arguably perpetuating the old Cold War antagonisms. For its part, the state-run outlet has justified its continued existence as follows: “With the collapse of communism, some thought RFE/RL had fulfilled its mission and could be disbanded. But officials throughout Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, many of them former dissidents, saw a continuing need for precisely the kind of objective broadcasts that RFE/RL provided, especially during democratic transition.”

Meanwhile, as the Economic Times explains, “based in Prague, RFE/RL was founded in 1950 as an anti-communist outlet to beam programs into the Soviet bloc, helping topple those totalitarian regimes nearly four decades later. These days, it still broadcasts in 27 languages – including Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian – to 23 countries, many where media freedoms face severe restrictions.” As related in the same article, “RFE/RL, which has a target audience of 37 million people, stepped up activities in the region following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the occupation of eastern Ukraine by pro-Moscow rebel forces.”

With apparently no sense of irony, the Economic Times, in trumpeting the work of RFE/RL,states that “Russia very quickly understood that it is not necessary to lie to make successful propaganda. All you need is to withhold context and create white noise.” Of course, the US and Western media have realized the very same, with the situation in Ukraine being a case in point. Thus, much of the current Ukraine coverage in the West would lead the audience to believe that the crisis started suddenly in February of this year with the Russian offensive, while in fact there has been a conflict between the government in Kiev and the Russian-speaking population of the Donbas for the past eight years, claiming 14,000 lives. This missing context is indeed quite misleading for the casual news consumer. Moreover, referring to the Russian speakers in the eastern part of Ukraine as “pro-Moscow,” as the Economic Times and nearly every other Western news outlet does, fails to capture the very real grievances of these people who have been militarily attacked by their own government for years – whether they are pro-Moscow or not is not really the critical issue here. But, I suppose, one person’s propaganda is another person’s news, and vice versa.

After the collapse of communism, RFE/RL followed wherever US foreign policy aims were focused. Thus, as it explains itself, it started broadcasting in the former Yugoslavia in the mid-1990s as the US and NATO began meddling there, and expanded beyond Europe in the late 1990s to Iraq and Iran “[r]eflecting American attention to the greater Middle East…” Also, in 2002, RFE/RL started broadcasting in Afghanistan again – it had initially done so in the 1980s during the Soviet occupation but discontinued broadcasting thereafter.

However, the state-controlled outlet has never lost its focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. Thus, in addition to increasing its reach in Ukraine, RFE/RL “expanded on… local news efforts between 2016 and 2019 by creating websites serving the needs of audiences in the North Caucasus, Middle Volga, Siberian, and Northwestern regions of Russia.” Beginning in 2019, RFE/RL, after leaving for a time after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, began to return to Romania, Bulgaria and later Hungary, claiming that it was needed “in light of a reversal in democratic gains and attacks on the rule of law and the judiciary” in those countries.

With the Cold War raging again between the US and Russia – whether it’s viewed as new or simply a continuation of the old confrontation – RFE/RL will certainly have a raison d’etre for some time to come, and its congressional funding (it’s parent body, the US Agency for Global Media, received over $810 million in 2020) certainly be secured. While there can be disagreement over whether RFE/RL continues to be necessary after the end of communism, or whether it in fact can be seen as unnecessarily stoking old Cold War tensions, the one thing that can be said of RFE/RL is that it does not, and really cannot, hide what it is. That is, it is quite transparently a US-funded news source which broadcasts programing reflecting the foreign policy interests and views of the United States. It says so on its own website.

Indeed, its aforementioned parent proudly boasts that it must be “consistent with the broad foreign policy objectives of the United States” and is obliged to have “the capability to provide a surge capacity to support United States foreign policy objectives during crises abroad.” Again, no secret is made of this.

To be fair, this, in my view, makes RFE/RL less nefarious than other institutions – such as private broadcast news or even Hollywood movies which we know are heavily influenced by the CIA – which claim to be objective arbiters of the truth and reality, but which really are not.

That’s not to say that RFE/RL is lying, but it is certainly giving a slanted view of the world. But again, because this is quite obvious, the audience can at least make an intelligent judgment about the accuracy of what they are being told. Many times, that’s the best we can ask for.

https://orinocotribune.com/71-years-of- ... d-war-2-0/

Thing is, it doesn't really matter that they say that they are presenting the US government view 'up front' in their mission statement or whatever. What people hear or see on the screen 'is what it is', the 'information' is whatever the presenters intend. Even if it is subsequently retracted the deed is done. As the etiquette advisors used to tell us in ancient times, 'first impressions are important.'
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon May 09, 2022 2:06 pm

Fact Sheet on the National Endowment for Democracy
12022-05-07 21:02:51fmprc.gov.cnEditor : Zhao LiECNS App Download

The United States has long used democracy as a tool and a weapon to undermine democracy in the name of democracy, to incite division and confrontation, and to meddle in other countries’ internal affairs, causing catastrophic consequences. 

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), as one of the US government’s main “foot soldiers”, “white gloves” and “democracy crusaders”, has subverted lawful governments and cultivated pro-US puppet forces around the world under the pretext of promoting democracy. Its disgraceful record has aroused strong discontent in the international community. 

In today’s world, peace and development is the theme of the times, and the trend towards greater democracy in international relations is unstoppable. Any attempt to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy is unpopular and is doomed to failure.

I. NED organizational structure

After World War II, the United States opened a covert front against the Soviet Union through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other intelligence apparatus. By the 1960s, the United States had realized gradually that it was far from enough to “promote democracy” through secret means only. There was an urgent need to establish a “public-private mechanism” to openly provide funding. In 1983 and with the efforts of the then US President and some other people, NED was founded as a bipartisan, non-profit institution. 

NED is nominally an NGO that provides support for democracy abroad, but in fact, it relies on continuous financial support from the White House and the US Congress, and takes orders from the US government. Through the provision of funding, it has manipulated and directed NGOs around the world to export American values, conduct subversion, infiltration and sabotage, and incite so-called “democratic movements” in target countries and regions. It is essentially the US government’s “white glove” that serves US strategic interests. 

As early as in 1991, the founder of NED Alan Weinstein put it bluntly in an interview with the Washington Post that a lot of what they were doing was what the CIA had done 25 years ago. NED was therefore known globally as the “second CIA”.

NED has four core institutes: the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, mainly responsible for supporting local political groups; the American Center for International Labor Solidarity responsible for promoting trade unions and labor movements; and the Center for International Private Enterprise for co-opting private enterprises. Through these four institutes, NED has become the mastermind behind separatist riots, color revolutions, political crises, lies and rumors, and infiltration around the world, with an ever-growing list of evils.

II. Instigating color revolutions to subvert state power

NED was seen behind color revolutions instigated and orchestrated by the United States, including the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the Arab Spring. 

1.NED instigated color revolutions against “hostile” countries. Early NED documents revealed activities by NED mainly in Eastern Europe to subvert state power in as early as the late 1980s. 

◆ On 27 August 1989, the Washington Post published a report titled “How we helped Solidarity win”, pointing out that NED provided financial support for the Polish Solidarity to help them overthrow the then Polish government, heralding drastic changes in Eastern Europe.

◆ In October 2000, NED financed and instigated the Velvet Revolution in Serbia which overthrew the Milosevic government. In 1999 and 2000, NED funded the Serbian opposition with 10 million and 31 million US dollars respectively for its rapid expansion. NED also helped the secret training of a group of college students before handing them over to the leadership of a student group called Otpor! (Resistance!) that later instigated riots. The Washington Post wrote in its post-mortem analysis of Serbia’s Velvet Revolution that US-funded advisers played a key role behind the scenes in nearly every aspect of the anti-Serbia movement. They tracked the polls, trained thousands of opposition activists and helped organize the crucial parallel vote tabulation.

◆ In 2003, the Rose Revolution broke out in Georgia, and then President Eduard Shevardnadze was forced to step down. In this color revolution, NED planned and participated in the entire process from “selecting” opposition leaders, training the opposition to providing huge funds. After the revolution succeeded, NED continued to offer “generous funds”. In 2004 alone, NED provided nearly 540,000 US dollars to 12 NGOs in Georgia.

◆ At the end of 2004, during the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the United States offered 65 million US dollars to the Ukrainian opposition through NED and other organizations. When massive anti-government demonstrations broke out in Ukraine in 2013, NED funded as many as 65 NGOs in the country, and even provided large funds to pay “wages” to each and every protester. RIA Novosti reported that NED had invested 14 million US dollars in a project in Ukraine which led to the large demonstrations in 2014 that overthrew the then Yanukovych government. 

2.NED was an important enabler behind the Arab Spring. In Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, Syria, Libya and other countries, NED provided financial support to pro-America individuals and groups by supporting professed feminism, freedom of the press, and human rights activities. It exported various kinds of anti-government ideas, incited color revolutions, and plunged the Arab world into war, social unrest and economic recession.

◆ At the end of January 2011, large-scale anti-government demonstrations broke out in Egypt. On 11 February, President Hosni Mubarak resigned. According to US diplomatic cables and other materials obtained by WikiLeaks, NED played an important role in organizing and manipulating anti-government demonstrations in Egypt. Through NGOs such as the National Association for Change and the April 6 Youth Movement, NED provided funding, training and other support to the demonstrations. The name and slogan of the National Association for Change are identical to those of anti-government organizations in other countries that have received NED training. 

◆ In Libya, NED funded, among others, the founders of anti-government organizations Libya Forum for Human and Political Development, Libyan Transparency Association, and the founder of Libya akhbar who fled to London. These groups were active in the 2011 Libyan civil war. 

◆ In Yemen, NED funded and worked closely with NGOs such as the “Women Journalists Without Chains” and played an important role in the 2011 anti-government protests in Yemen. Founder of the “Women Journalists Without Chains” Tawakkol Karman organized and led student rallies against the Saleh government.

◆ In Algeria, a number of organizations involved in the Arab Spring protests received funding from NED. NED’s annual reports revealed that the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights received US funding in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2010. The National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Staff had close ties with the NED-affiliated American Center for International Labor Solidarity.

3. NED instigated the “color revolution” in Bolivia, forcing President Evo Morales to resign and go into exile. During the nearly 14-year rule of the leftist government under Morales, Bolivia enjoyed political stability and the fastest growth rate in South America. Its poverty rate continued to drop, people’s livelihoods improved markedly, and tensions between the white and the indigenous eased significantly. The Morales government won the general election, but was forced to step down by “street movements” and the military and police. NED played a part in more ways than one.

First, grooming anti-Morales forces over the years. Between 2013 and 2018, NED and USAID provided, by various means, 70 million US dollars to the opposition in Bolivia, funded white elites, former right-wing political figures and other anti-Morales elements, weaved an anti-Morales network spanning across universities, think tanks and civil organizations, and even roped in indigenous Bolivians to stand against Morales. A number of leading figures of the opposition received such financial support or had close interactions with the United States. 

Second, alleging “election fraud” in a brainwashing campaign. Starting from 2018, NED invested 45,000 and 42,000 US dollars respectively through Fundacion para el Periodismo (Foundation for the Media) and Agencia de Noticias Fides Compania de Jesus (FIDES News Agency Company) to encourage right-wing media outlets in Bolivia to dig up dirt about corruption and abuse of power by the Morales government and to label Morales, who was seeking reelection, a “dictator”. It allocated 45,000 US dollars through Fundacion Milenio (Millennium Foundation) to sponsor universities, business councils and NGOs to hype up “fair election” and “judicial transparency”, in order to build up public expectations for Morales’ “election fraud”. 

Third, masterminding street movements. On 29 October 2019, after the result of the general election was released, opposition leaders including Carlos Mesa organized a “peaceful demonstration”, calling for a rerun of the election and distributing cash to the protesters. Opposition leader José Antonio Camacho, who later became a propaganda focus of the right-wing media backed by NED, incited nationwide strikes and became a daring and controllable spokesperson of the United States. NED also spent 200,000 US dollars through the International Republican Institute, a core institute of NED, to improve the mobilizing and organizational capabilities of the opposition parties and give counsel to the “street movements”.

III. Colluding with local political groups to meddle in other countries’ political agenda

By infiltrating target countries, cultivating local anti-government forces and stoking social tensions, NED has been reaching its hands into the internal affairs of other countries.

1.Meddling in Hong Kong’s elections and interfering in China’s internal affairs. NED contacted opposition parties, groups and organizations in Hong Kong through its affiliating National Democratic Institute for International Affairs or the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Since 1997, the NDI has published 18 assessment reports aimed at influencing Hong Kong’s “democratic development”. In 2002, the NDI opened an office in Hong Kong. In 2003, it funded the “1 July marches” orchestrated by the opposition to obstruct legislation on Article 23. In 2004, it funded the participation of opposition parties and groups at workshops and seminars, and provided personal counseling on campaigning skills for their leaders. In 2005, it ran a young political leaders program to support emerging political groups in confronting the government. In 2006, it funded a “Hong Kong Transition Project”. In 2007, it divided its activities in Hong Kong into four programs, i.e. a series of reports entitled “The Promise of Democratization in Hong Kong”, survey of perceptions, the youth’s public engagement and women’s political participation. In 2008, it organized a summit for students. In 2010, it plotted, together with opposition members of the Legislative Council (LegCo), a “five-district referendum” . In 2012, it funded Hong Kong University in opening a “Design Democracy Hong Kong” website, recruited university interns, and funded the summit for students. In 2014, it directed and funded the opposition and young radicals in orchestrating the illegal “Occupy Central” movement.

According to the NED website, 2 million US dollars were spent on 11 Hong Kong-related projects in 2020, with a particular focus on disrupting LegCo elections. Key projects include: “Strengthening Citizen Election Observation”, which offered technical and financial assistance to newly formed destabilizing groups in Hong Kong, and encouraged them to obstruct LegCo elections by means of election monitoring, get-out-the-vote methods, etc.; “Amplifying Citizens’ Perspectives on Political Participation”, which collected and disseminated survey findings on democratic development, and induced young Hong Kongers to share their political participation experiences on the Internet; “Supporting Unity Among Student Activists”, which called for better coordination among Hong Kong student groups prior to LegCo elections, and instructed and trained them to build capacity for “democratic change” and international communication and to play a role in disrupting electoral order; and “Building Regional Solidarity and Empowering the Hong Kong Movement”, which sought to strengthen Hong Kong’s “democratic movement” through network building, cultivate next-generation “leading activists” in Hong Kong, and set up a network of “democratic movement” in Asia.

2.Interfering in Russia’s elections and threatening Russia’s constitutional, defense and national security. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, between 2013 and 2014, NED allocated 5.2 million US dollars to Russian organizations. In July 2015, NED was declared an “undesirable organization” by Russia. An official statement from Russia pointed out that NED “participated in work to recognize election results as illegitimate, to organize political action with the goal of influencing government policy, and to discredit Russian army service.”

3. Creating political instability in Belarus. The United States masterminded three “color revolutions” against the Belarusian government in 2006, 2010 and 2020 respectively, during which NED played an important role. In 2020, NED spent a total of 2.35 million US dollars in projects related to Belarus. Under the pretext of advancing political processes, NED conducted a project to foster “free and fair elections” with a funding of 80,000 US dollars. Under the project, a comprehensive publicity campaign was launched before presidential elections to inform citizens of electoral rights and independent election monitoring; and during campaigning, education and training on voting were carried out for activists, observers deployed to monitor the voting process, and monitoring findings published through a variety of media outlets.

On 9 August 2020, the incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko won his sixth presidential term with 80.1 percent of the votes. The opposition alleged election fraud, leading to mass protests in Minsk and other cities for days and riots in some regions. NED was very busy during this period. On 17 May 2021, RT released a video call clip between NED’s leadership and opposition figures of Belarus. In the video call, the then NED President Carl Gershman admitted that NED had long been operating across different parts in Belarus and engaged in alleged civil rights activities in eastern Belarus, including Vitebsk and Gomel. NED supported the opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, and worked with her team through its core institutes to facilitate the team’s activities.

While commenting on NED’s activities in Belarus, Dmitry Yegorchenkov, a Russian expert on international relations, said that NED funded many “independent media”, and while the funding for any individual media outlet may not look that significant, the recipients are many. According to the NED website, between 2016 and 2020, NED funded 119 projects in Belarus under the category of “Freedom of Information”, spending an average of 50,000 US dollars on each project. This particular category received more funding than any other category for five consecutive years.

4. Interfering in Mongolia’s parliamentary elections. The International Republican Institute (IRI), one of the core institutes of NED, was deeply involved in Mongolia’s parliamentary elections in 1996. In its 1996 annual report, the IRI revealed that it had provided training for the country’s opposition parties on recruitment, organizational building and campaign activities since 1992. At the instigation of the IRI, Mongolia’s scattering “democratic” forces were integrated into two political parties and later formed a unified opposition alliance in early 1996, taking 50 out of the 70 seats in Mongolia’s parliament. According to several NED annual reports, it awarded the IRI over 480,000 US dollars of grants between 1992 and 1996. In 1996 alone, nearly 160,000 US dollars were earmarked for Mongolia’s opposition alliance to win the elections.

5.“Monitoring” the elections and constitutional referendum in Kyrgyzstan. From 2013 to 2020, NED appropriated over 13 million US dollars to media outlets and various NGOs in the country. NED funding for “disruptive news” in Kyrgyzstan reached over 2 million US dollars in 2020, which included the allocation of 300,000 US dollars to the Kloop Media website to “monitor” Kyrgyzstan’s constitutional referendum and local parliamentary elections. The website recruited 1,500 “observers” during the presidential elections in January 2021, and hired 3,000 “observers” during the local parliamentary elections and constitutional referendum in April. 

6.Stirring up protests and demonstrations in Thailand. In 2020, protests and demonstrations broke out in the streets of Thailand. Organizations such as the NED-funded Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) publicly supported and incited the street protests. The Bangkok Post disclosed that the TLHR had received funds from NED. The Nation, a Thai newspaper, reported that NED has also funded media platforms including Prachatai, an online media outlet, and NGOs such as iLaw, an internet-based legal institution. NED has interfered in the internal affairs of Thailand through these platforms and organizations as they call for the Thai government to amend the constitution. 

7.Inciting the opposition parties in Nicaragua to seize power by force. Supporting pro-US political forces in the central American country of Nicaragua was among the first programs of NED after its inception in 1983. Between 1984 and 1988, NED provided about 2 million US dollars of funds to the opposition forces in Nicaragua, helping their leader Violeta Chamorro to become president-elect in 1990. As of today, NED is still channeling funds to the opposition and right-wing media outlets in Nicaragua via the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation for Reconciliation and Democracy established after Violeta Chamorro stepped down. According to public records, between 2016 and 2019, NED provided at least 4.4 million US dollars to Nicaraguan opposition groups, including media organizations. These forces played key roles in Nicaragua’s violent coup attempt in 2018 when they called on opposition supporters to attack the government and assassinate the president. 

8.Funding anti-Cuba forces to manipulate public opinion against the government. Cuba has long suffered heavily from US infiltration and subversive activities. Cuban media revealed that NED and USAID allocated nearly 250 million US dollars to programs targeting Cuba over the past 20 years. According to the awarded grants disclosed in 2021 on the NED website, it funded 42 anti-Cuba programs in 2020 alone. In 2021, NED funded and guided anti-Cuba forces to fabricate and spread disinformation on social networks to stoke public sentiments against the government, and instigate the people to take part in activities disrupting public order. For instance, in mid-June 2021, anti-Cuba forces rumor-mongered that the country’s health system was overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, causing public panic. In July, capitalizing on the surge of street protests in Cuba, NED churned out the fake news that “(more than) 100 protesters ... are missing” and used Internet robots to disseminate it. That was a malicious attempt to influence public opinion online and incite the Cuban people to overthrow their government.

9.Long-standing interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs. After Hugo Chavez, the “anti-US fighter”, was elected president of Venezuela in 1999, NED accelerated its behind-the-scenes operations. It provided continuous funding to the Venezuelan opposition and invited people to “training courses” in the United States. Since 1999, NED has run activities via the USAID office in the US Embassy and the offices of its core recipient organizations in Venezuela. It stayed in touch with and funded activities of dozens of institutions and opposition parties and organizations in Venezuela in the name of “promoting democracy”, “resolving conflict” and “strengthening civil society”. NED’s spending on interference activities in Venezuela rose year by year. It was 257,800 US dollars in 1999, the largest in Latin American countries. In 2000, it soared to 877,400 US dollars. In 2002, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the US Department of State earmarked as much as 1 million US dollars to support NED programs in Venezuela. In 2019, NED programs in Venezuela totaled 2.66 million US dollars. Among them was an NED project that focused on advancing “political processes”, for “Strengthening Outreach, Communication and Organizational Capacity” with the funding of over 90,000 US dollars, to be used for providing training and support to local activists, to strengthen the communication capacity of democratic actors, to strengthen the nationwide “civil society” network, and to develop communications teams to disseminate across the country a message (of hope and support) for “democracy”.

In October 2005, Juan Guaidó and four other Venezuelan “student leaders” arrived in Belgrade, Serbia to attend NED-funded training for insurrection. After the training, Guaidó and others returned to Venezuela to promote extreme right-wing ideas, in an attempt to influence young Venezuelans, masterminding a series of violent street political activities. Later, Guaidó enrolled at a US university and, with the support of NED, has been active in relevant political groups in the United States. After Guaidó declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela, his Wikipedia page was created shortly afterwards and edited 37 times by NED-affiliated organizations, to support the propaganda for his “legitimacy”. In November 2021, Russia Today reported in an article that a string of recent US internal documents revealed how the United States meddled in the electoral process in Venezuela. Documents showed that US intelligence fronts weaponized social media to promote Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, and assist their election to parliament, thus laying the foundations for Washington’s appointment of Juan Guaido as the country’s leader.

The four core institutes of NED all engage in all kinds of activities in Venezuela. They have built close ties with opposition parties in the country and helped train existing or newly-established opposition parties on organization, management, publicity and other fronts. They have provided several funding packages to the largest opposition union in Venezuela and pushed it to stage anti-Chavez protests and demonstrations. When Nicolás Maduro was sworn in as President on 10 January 2019, the United States and some other countries refused to recognize his new term and instigated Juan Guaidó, then president of the National Assembly and opposition leader, to contend for leadership and openly challenge Maduro. Guaidó then declared himself interim president and demanded a new presidential election, plunging the country into unrest. The turmoil in Venezuela is a telling example of what “color revolutions” plotted by US-backed proxies would incur. NED’s many years of attempts to cultivate Venezuelan opposition elements clearly played a role. In March 2019, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said that funded by NED, many organizations conducted destablizing activities across the country and attempted to overthrow the Venezuelan government over the past 20 years.

10.Orchestrating violent coup to realize regime change in Haiti. The International Republican Institute (IRI) was deeply involved in the 2001 violent coup in Haiti which toppled the democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In February 2001, Stanley Lucas, the IRI’s Senior Program Officer for Haiti, openly put forward three ways to dislodge President Aristide at a local radio program. Then US Assistant Secretary of State Roger Francisco Noriega not only collaborated with the IRI to provide funding for the opposition in Haiti, but also gave acquiescence to the opposition’s separatist tactics when mediating the political crisis in Haiti. While claiming to be “promoting democracy around the world”, the IRI was actually in close contact with the opposition in Haiti to conduct subversive operations.

11. Interfering in Uganda’s presidential election by supporting the opposition leader. In Uganda’s presidential election held in January 2021, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, candidate of the opposition National Unity Platform, won 34.83 percent of the vote, coming second. Ssentamu grew up in the slums and was a pop star before entering into politics. Analysts attribute his high popularity largely to the US backing. According to online media, he received training on regime subversion in the United States at the invitation of NED in 2018 on the pretense of seeking medical treatment. Besides, NED also provided funding and assigned counsel to support him during his presidential campaign. 

IV. Funding separatist forces to undermine target countries’ stability 

China has long been a key target of NED’s infiltration and subversion activities. NED invests heavily in anti-China programs every year and attempts to incite “Xinjiang independence”, “Hong Kong independence”, and “Tibet independence” . According to data released on its website in 2020, NED provided over 10 million US dollars of grants for 69 China-related programs within one year which were aimed to deliver various activities endangering China’s political and social stability.

1. NED is the main source of funding for various “Xinjiang independence” organizations. NED claims to have provided 8.7583 million US dollars of grants for various “Uyghur organizations” between 2004 and 2020. In 2020 alone, various “Xinjiang independence” forces received around 1.24 million US dollars of grants from NED, and the bulk of that was channeled to “Xinjiang independence” organizations such as the “World Uyghur Congress” (WUC). Then NED President Carl Gershman openly claimed that to solve the problems in Xinjiang, a color revolution must be held in China and that regime change can turn the country into a federal republic. Speaking at NED’s Democracy Award event in June 2019, Gershman openly supported the idea of “East Turkestan” to embolden “Xinjiang independence” forces. He also called for global attention to so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang and sought to launch an international alliance dedicated to this matter and to sanction China. 

As exposed by US-based website The Grayzone, over the years, NED has directly provided the WUC and the Uyghur American Association (UAA) with millions of dollars, and assisted them in collaborating with governments and legislatures in the United States and other Western countries to level up hostile activities against China. UAA President Kuzzat Altay openly stated that “The most normal thing that I could ever imagine is anti-China activities every freaking day”. The Grayzone’s investigative report showed that when COVID-19 hit the United States in 2020, UAA and its key members fawned on far-right political forces in the United States, branded the coronavirus the “China virus” and incited anti-Asian sentiment.

NED’s Xinjiang-related programs focus on hyping up “human rights crisis” in Xinjiang and are part of the US and Western attempt to use Xinjiang to contain China. In 2019, NED provided 900,000 US dollars of grants for Xinjiang-related programs. Major programs include the program of “Documenting Human Rights Violations in East Turkistan” which was initiated in the name of “defending human rights”, but in reality the program included bribing witnesses and fabricating evidence to justify the so-called charge of “human rights violations” in Xinjiang, and issued nonfactual interim reports and an annual report about education and training centers in Xinjiang; the program of “Empowering Women and Youth for Advocacy and Civic Participation” which provided training on skills and ways of anti-China propaganda and advocacy to Uyghur women and youth, and incited them to carry out anti-China activities; the program of “Defending and Advocating for Uyghur Human Rights” which collected and forged disinformation about “violations of Uyghurs’ human rights” in and outside China, and mounted negative publicity campaigns on Xinjiang-related issues around the world. In 2020, NED provided 1.24 million US dollars of grants for Xinjiang-related programs. Major programs include “Advocating for Uyghur Human Rights through Artistic Interaction” which encouraged “Xinjiang independence” forces in and outside China to hype up Xinjiang-related issues in the name of art, “Documenting and Developing Resources to Strengthen Uyghur Advocacy” designed to build a Uyghur “human rights” database and produce reports to discredit China’s Uyghur-related policies, and “Defending and Advocating for Uyghur Human Rights” and “Empowering Women and Youth for Advocacy and Civic Participation” which were the extension of relevant 2019 programs.

2.NED maintains close ties with “Tibet independence” forces. They have been in contact since 2010 when then Chairman of NED Gershman presented the “Democracy Service Medal” to Dalai Lama. Gershman attended the “Hope and Democracy” event hosted by Dalai Lama in 2016, and celebrated Dalai Lama’s 85th birthday and spoke up for his “Tibet Independence” activities in 2020. On 13 November 2018, NED organized a seminar on Tibet-related issues in the United States, and invited Lobsang Sungen, then “Kalon Tripa” of the “Tibetan Government-in-Exile”. Lobsang Sungen made irresponsible remarks at the event, falsely alleging that the ultimate goal of China’s aid program was to colonize Tibet, and that the international community needed to draw lessons from Tibet’s experience and see China’s hidden ambitions under the Belt and Road Initiative. On 16 June 2021, NED hosted an interview between Penpa Tsering, the new “Sikyong” of the “Central Tibetan Administration”, and Josh Rogin, journalist and columnist with The Washington Post. During the interview, Penpa Tsering claimed that the new “Kashag” will work to resume the stalled “Sino-Tibet dialogue” to find a “lasting, mutually beneficial and non-violent solution”, and will “strengthen international outreach and advocacy”. 

NED’s Tibet-related programs focus on strengthening the “Tibet independence” forces and hyping up the Tibet issue internationally. In 2019, NED provided 600,000 US dollars of grants for Tibet-related programs. Major programs include the program of “Strengthening the Tibetan Movement—Campaigning, Training, and Strategic Organizing” designed both to boost “Tibet independence” elements’ ability to launch social movements in Tibet, and to lobby and push the international community to interfere in Tibetan affairs; the program of “Strengthening International Support for Democracy and Human Rights in Tibet” aimed at cultivating local “Tibet independence” forces, enabling closer collusion between forces in and outside China, and planning and implementing social movements in Tibet; the program of “Strengthening Youth Political Participation” aimed to cultivate the next generation of “Tibetan social movement leaders”; the program of “Create Conditions for Dialogue and Negotiations” aimed to promote “Tibet independence” through so-called academic studies. In 2020, NED provided one million US dollars of grants for Tibet-related programs. Major ones include the program of “Tibet Times Newspaper” which published Tibetan-language newspapers, operated and maintained Tibetan-language websites, and provided the platform for activities of the “Tibetan Government-in-Exile” and “Tibet Independence” organizations; the program of “Strengthening International Support for Democracy and Human Rights in Tibet” which collected evidence about human rights questions in Tibet and smeared the Chinese government’s Tibet-related policies at the UN; the program of “Strengthening Awareness about the Panchen Lama” designed to misguide and misinform the international community about and seek support for the so-called “11th Panchen Lama”, and attack China’s policy on freedom of religious belief; the program of “Strengthening Tibet Monitoring and Information Networks” aimed at closer monitoring and tracking of human rights in Tibet and producing negative Tibet-related report; the program of “Promoting Informed Voting among the Tibetan Electorate” designed to get Tibetans to participate in the so-called election and decision-making of the “Tibetan Government-in-Exile”.

3.NED gives full support to “Hong Kong independence”. It has long carried out projects on so-called “labor rights”, “political reform” and “human rights monitoring” in Hong Kong, and was behind almost all street demonstrations there. According to a research into the NED official website by a Hong Kong public opinion analysis agency “Hong Kong Insights”, since 1994, NED has funded opposition organizations, student movement groups and media outlets in Hong Kong such as the “Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor” and “Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions”, and manipulated them to stage demonstrations and protests. And according to statistics by Du Jia, a researcher with the Consilium Research Institute of Chongqing University, NED has funded Hong Kong projects every year since 1994, investing altogether over 10 million US dollars by 2018.

Since 2003, NED has covertly organized, planned, directed and funded many large-scale street movements in Hong Kong, including the illegal “Occupy Central” movement and the violent demonstrations over proposed legislative amendments. In the anti-amendment turbulence in 2019, NED went from behind the scenes to the front line, directly engaging with major anti-China destabilizing forces in Hong Kong, and offering subsidies and training to those involved in the riots. In May 2019, individuals attempting to sow trouble in Hong Kong including founding chairman of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party Martin Lee, founding chairman of “Demosisto” Nathan Law and former chairman of the “Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China” Lee Cheuk-yan visited the United States to attend an NED event titled “New Threats to Civil Society and the Rule of Law in Hong Kong”, openly begging for US intervention in Hong Kong’s proposed legislative amendments.

In September 2019, NED recruited anti-China elements in Hong Kong to join the board of directors of the Washington-based “Hong Kong Democracy Council”. The establishment of the organization exposed the symbiotic relationship between those anti-China forces and Washington. Most of its board members are leading figures for destabilizing Hong Kong, while its advisory board comprises mainly members of non-governmental organizations such as NED. During the anti-amendment movement in 2019, NED arranged for those forces to wage a propaganda campaign on the international arena, financed activities of their organizations, and frequently sent personnel to Hong Kong to guide protests on the ground. In September 2021, NED held the so-called “The Fight for a Democratic Future” symposium, where Nathan Law made a lie-laden speech to distort the truth and defy justice. Leading organizations in the anti-amendment turbulence such as the “Civil Human Rights Front”, “Demosisto” and “Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions” all received NED funding. In 2021, NED further ramped up support for Hong Kong separatists in exile.

In 2019, NED invested about 640,000 US dollars in projects in Hong Kong. To be specific, under the “Strengthening Civil Society and Human Rights Protection” project, it used human rights as a pretext for colluding with pro-independence and so-called “pro-democracy” groups and politicians to accuse the Chinese Central Government of violating human rights; under the “Promoting Evidence-Based Dialogue and Policy-Making” project, it established a so-called “evidence-based dialogue” mechanism purportedly based on Hong Kong citizens’ views about political and economic issues, with the aim of amplifying the voice of pro-independence elements; under the “Expanding Worker Rights And Democracy” project, it assisted Hong Kong trade unions in enhancing organizational, negotiation and propaganda skills, in the name of promoting democracy and the development of civil society in Hong Kong; and under the “Defending Rule of Law and Freedom in Hong Kong” project, it colluded with local troublemakers and anti-China forces in the international business community and government departments to meddle with the rule of law in Hong Kong and concoct reports on the relationship between Hong Kong’s prosperity and its rule of law and freedoms.

V. Producing disinformation and playing up anti-government narratives

1. Circulating provocative rhetoric to arouse anti-government sentiments among the public. In 2021, Cuba experienced its worst economic crisis in 30 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and tightened sanctions by the United States. Inflation intensified, and food, medicine and power shortages spread across the country. On 11 July, large-scale anti-government demonstrations broke out in many cities, including the capital Havana. Investigations by the Cuban government found close ties between US government agencies and the demonstrations, in which NED played an important role. In the weeks before the demonstrations, anti-government messages surged on social media, which effectively manipulated public sentiments, caused dissatisfaction and incited protests. In the days shortly before the demonstrations, a large number of new accounts popped up on Twitter, which liked and retweeted unverified anti-government posts, all with the hashtag #SOSCuba. According to the Cuban foreign minister, investigations showed close links between these accounts and a company based in Miami, Florida.

2. Fabricating Xinjiang-related lies to fuel the momentum for containing China. The NED-funded “World Uyghur Congress” and “Human Rights Watch” started and spread such rumors as “genocide” in Xinjiang and “the detention of one million Uyghurs in education and training centers”. After interviewing only eight people, the NED-backed “Chinese Human Rights Defenders”, based on such an absurd small-sample “research”, applied the estimated ratio to the whole of Xinjiang and concluded that one million people were detained in the “re-education detention camps” and two million “forced to attend day/evening re-education sessions”, thus disseminating rumors about Xinjiang. Starting from January 2019, the US State Department and NED launched a household survey of Uyghurs working, studying and living in the United States. Respondents were asked if anyone in their family was in an “education and training center” in Xinjiang, and were instigated to come forward to make accusations, in an attempt to incite protests against the Chinese government.

3. Spreading the “political virus” and politicizing COVID-19 origins-tracing. Since the start of the pandemic, the NED-funded “Uyghur American Association” and its affiliates continuously peddled right-wing conspiracy theories, blaming China for the pandemic and all related deaths, and circulating rumors that China is waging a “virus war” on the world and “purposefully, intentionally exporting the virus to cause the pandemic”. Such rumor-mongering fed anti-China and anti-Asian sentiments in the United States and other Western countries.

4. Fueling tensions and hyping up the concept of “sharp power”. In November 2017, NED’s Vice President for Studies and Analysis Christopher Walker and Senior Program Officer Jessica Ludwig wrote an article on Foreign Affairs titled “The Meaning of Sharp Power: How Authoritarian States Project Influence”, marketing the concept of “sharp power” for the first time and whipping up a new round of “China threat theory”. In December 2017, NED issued a report titled Sharp Power: Rising Authoritarian Influence, demonizing China and Russia by alleging that for more than a decade, the two countries have spent huge funds on influencing target countries or groups with non-conventional means such as division, purchased loyalty and manipulation in an attempt to shape global opinion and perceptions.

5. Provoking controversy and stigmatizing China’s press policy. The NED-funded “Reporters Without Borders” has long instigated the international community, advertisers, press unions and foreign governments to treat Chinese media differently and be vigilant against their so-called “threat”. Since COVID-19 struck, the “Reporters Without Borders” made such irresponsible remarks as urging China to “stop censoring information about coronavirus epidemic” and warning against the government’s “increased repression” against journalism. It also fabricated rumors that many Chinese journalists face “years of detention in prisons, where ill-treatment can lead to death”.

VI. Funding Activities and Academic Programs for the Purpose of Ideological Infiltration

1.NED has created various “democracy awards” to encourage dissidents in other countries to help the US “export” democracy. Since 1991, NED has been granting the Democracy Award annually to political activists and dissidents in countries including Russia, China, DPRK, Myanmar, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and Ukraine in recognition of “defending human rights and democracy”. Since 1999, it has been giving out the Democracy Service Medal annually. In 2002, the medal was awarded to Wu Shu-chen, wife of the then Taiwan authorities leader Chen Shui-bian. In 2010, the medal was awarded to the 14th Dalai Lama,the so-called “Tibetan spiritual leader in exile”. NED also uses the global assemblies of the World Movement for Democracy to grant the Democracy Courage Tributes. Since the Eighth Global Assembly in 2015, names related to China has begun to appear on the list of recipients. Anti-China organizations and individuals seeking independence for Tibet or Hong Kong or related to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) have successively received the Tributes. For example, an Eighth Assembly (2015) recipient is Nathan Law, a “Hong Kong independence” separatist; a Ninth Assembly (2018) recipient is Jin Bianling, wife of the so-called “human rights lawyer” Jiang Tianyong; and among the Tenth Assembly (2021) recipients are Hong Kong Watch, a British anti-China organization seeking to disrupt Hong Kong, Students for a Free Tibet, a “Tibet independence” organization, and Campaign for Uyghurs, an ETIM-related group. Among the recipients, Nathan Law is the founding chairman of Demosistō, an organization pursuing “Hong Kong independence”, and is wanted by Hong Kong police for law-breaking activities aimed at destabilizing Hong Kong. Jiang Tianyong is the mastermind behind disinformation such as “detained lawyer Xie Yang was tortured”, and was involved in meddling in and playing up sensitive cases, inciting illegal gatherings to cause public disorder and collaborating with overseas forces, seriously endangering national security and social stability. Hong Kong Watch has received a warning letter from Hong Kong police for suspected violation of Article 29 of the National Security Law on “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security”. Students for a Free Tibet sent eight of its key members including then Executive Director Lhadon Tethong to China in 2008 to conduct sabotage activities. Campaign for Uyghurs, a group of Uyghur separatists in exile, is a branch of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), an ultra-nationalist organization, and its mission is to subvert China and establish an “East Turkestan” nation state.

On 4 June 2019, NED exploited the 30th year since the 1989 political disturbance to give the 2019 Democracy Award to the Tibet Action Institute (TAI), the WUC and ChinaAid, organizations seeking independence of Tibet and Xinjiang or related to ETIM and “democracy movements”. 

2. Since 2004, NED has held the Lipset Lecture Series annually in the United States and Canada, and published the lecture in its Journal of Democracy. While most of the lecturers are well-known political scholars, the lectures are heavily ideological. For example, the 2020 lecture was titled “Totalitarianism’s Long Dark Shadow over China” given by American political scientist Pei Minxin.

3. NED makes grants to the Egyptian Democratic Academy, an NGO, for ideological infiltration in Egypt. In June 2011, the then US ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson acknowledged that her country had spent no less than 40 million US dollars to “promote democracy” in Egypt since February 2011. 

4. In October 2013, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), one of NED’s core grantees, received over 300,000 US dollars from NED to “improve the communication skills of political activists in Venezuela”. Before Venezuela’s local elections in December 2013, the NDI hosted seminar outside Venezuela to provide “expert advice” on the use of technology and social media for citizen outreach and engagement. Moreover, NED created a virtual toolbox, offering “online customized capacity-building courses on a range of issues relating to political innovation”, which remains active today. These measures did make an impact on Venezuela’s 2015 legislative elections: The Democratic Unity Roundtable, the opposition coalition, claimed a historic National Assembly majority.

5. At the end of 2016, NED sponsored Edward Leung and Ray Wong, separatists seeking “Hong Kong independence”, to study at Harvard and Oxford respectively. In 2017, Johnson Yeung, the former convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, an organization seeking to destabilize Hong Kong, participated in an NED visiting fellows program, in which he talked with civic groups and protesters from South America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, and learned from their experience of democratic and social movements. 

6.For years, NED has been funding the Interethnic Interfaith Leadership Conference, which has been held 15 times as of November 2020. Many participants are members of separatist groups seeking independence of Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Hong Kong and Taiwan or with Falun Gong. In a keynote speech at the 13th Conference in December 2018, the then NED President Carl Gershman asserted that “China today poses the greatest threat to democracy in the world” and clamored for “supporting for the development of democracy” in China.

7. On 3 June 2019, NED hosted a conference themed “China’s Repression Model”, which claimed that China’s model is eroding the western democratic system through a new generation of technology.

8. From 27 to 30 March 2022, current NED President and CEO Damon Wilson led a delegation to Taiwan, and announced during a press conference that NED would co-host the 11th Global Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy with the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy in October 2022 in Taipei, giving support to the “Taiwan independence” forces under the disguise of democracy.

9. NED makes grants to “civil rights” organizations on a regular basis in the name of funding academic seminars and training. Detailed NED grants to Tibet and Xinjiang in 2020 showed that groups such as the Tibetan Youth Association and the WUC, organizations seeking independence of Tibet and Xinjiang, had received funding from NED for workshops, which provided forum to Tibetans in exile and “Tibet independence” separatists inside China, and for capacity-building training for young Uyghurs to spread a narrative of “Uyghur crisis” in local communities.

10. NED has long provided funding for the training of “politically active” Sudanese young people. In 2020, the Regional Center for Training and Development of the Civil Society (RCDCS) received the Democracy Award for training hundreds of young people across Sudan on “democracy” and activism.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat May 14, 2022 2:03 pm

Media Ignore Criticism of DHS’s New ‘Disinformation’ Board—Unless it’s from the Right
JULIANNE TVETEN
Disinformation board to tackle Russia, migrant smugglers
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AP (4/28/22): “The new board also will monitor and prepare for Russian disinformation threats as this year’s midterm elections near and the Kremlin continues an aggressive disinformation campaign around the war in Ukraine.”
Testifying in front of a House committee, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently announced DHS’s formation of a “Disinformation Governance Board.” The board’s stated mission would be to address “disinformation spread by foreign states such as Russia, China and Iran,” as well as “transnational criminal organizations and human-smuggling organizations.”

Little is known about the board, and Mayorkas has claimed it will have “no operational authority or capability.” Still, leading media instantly heralded its creation. The Associated Press (4/28/22) accepted the premise that a DHS-helmed body would “counter disinformation” coming from Russia and “human smugglers” targeting people seeking to immigrate to the US. MSNBC (4/29/22) maintained that the initiative “makes sense.” Notably, not a single reference to the DHS’s history of incessant violence against immigrants, Muslims, Black Lives Matter organizers and other activists was deemed relevant to either story.

A ‘Soviet’ plot?

Despite their decidedly uncritical framing, media have acknowledged broadsides against the board—but almost exclusively those from the far right. In the wake of Mayorkas’ announcement, right-wing policymakers like Sen. Josh Hawley (R.–Mo.) and Fox News personalities including Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity groused about the Disinformation Governance Board, condemning it as an Orwellian, “Soviet,” Democrat-masterminded ploy to spy on and muzzle conservatives. News outlets subsequently alarmed readers of a brewing “tempest” (Washington Post, 4/29/22), “uproar” (CNN, 5/1/22) and “partisan fight” (New York Times, 5/2/22) over the board.
Right-Wing Media Balks as Disinformation Board
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To CNN‘s Brian Seltzer (5/1/22), government “counter-disinformation efforts…to give us accurate information” “sounds like common sense.”
Taking these right-wing cries of persecution at face value, CNN’s Dana Bash (5/1/22) asked Mayorkas to address them, handing him an opportunity to paraphrase a DHS press release. Other than a fleeting question about a disinformation board under a hypothetically re-elected President Trump, Bash inquired no further regarding any harms the board may pose, nor did she so much as flinch when Mayorkas—deputized to manage “disinformation” about immigration—reiterated his enduringly callous message to would-be US immigrants: “Do not come.”

The same day, CNN’s Brian Stelter (5/1/22) invited Moira Whelan of the federally funded National Democratic Institute (NDI) on his show to tout the board as a civil liberties–honoring public good. The think tank’s funding comes in part from the National Endowment for Democracy and US Agency for International Development—both of which function as facilitators of US covert operations—as well as the State Department, rendering Whelan a dubious source. Stelter welcomed the development of the board as “common sense,” while raising only the concerns of the right, and characterizing the discourse as “mostly a Fox world story.” Any further interrogation of the board, apparently, was unnecessary.

‘Cruel, unlawful and ineffective’
Guardian: US border agents engaged in ‘shocking abuses’ against asylum seekers, report finds
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The Guardian (10/21/21) reported on declassified DHS documents that documented abuses ranging “from child sexual assault to enforced hunger, threats of rape and brutal detention conditions.”
While it’s entirely justifiable to impugn right-wingers’ tantrums, it’s inaccurate to suggest those objections are the only ones that exist.

As noted, outlets have been conspicuously incurious about a decision to place the stewardship of “disinformation” directly under the authority of the DHS. Conceived in the thick of post-9/11 anti-Muslim “counterterrorism” hysteria, the department oversees ICE and Customs and Border Patrol, two gravely abusive agencies that have been responsible for the death and disappearance of at least tens of thousands of undocumented asylum seekers. The DHS’s cruelty is notorious, prompting activists, journalists and organizations like the ACLU to call for its dissolution. More recently, DHS continued its pattern of violently disrupting civil rights protests in the US when it descended on Los Angeles demonstrators defending the right to an abortion amid a pending overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Mayorkas, a Biden appointee and former US attorney for the Central District of California, offers little hope that any of this will change. Though he’s voiced mild disagreement with DHS’s rhetoric and tactics, activist groups have described Mayorkas’ DHS as implementing “cruel, unlawful and ineffective deterrence-based policies that extend rather than dismantle the previous administration’s approach to migration.” A glossy Washington Post profile (11/1/21), largely heedless of these concerns, informed readers that Mayorkas “leans into his days leading a team of prosecutors when wooing politicians skeptical that he will aggressively enforce America’s immigration laws.”

Overseeing Mayorkas’ new board is Nina Jankowicz, a self-described “expert on disinformation” and alum of the National Democratic Institute. At NDI, Jankowicz “managed democracy assistance programs to Russia and Belarus”—a phrase that can’t be divorced from the think tank’s soft- and hard-power funding sources.

‘A certain amount of gumption’
Partisan Fight Breaks Out Over New Disinformation Board
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The New York Times (5/2/22) allowed Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to absurdly claim, “We in the Department of Homeland Security don’t monitor American citizens.”
When considered in concert with Mayorkas’ and the DHS’s virulent jingoism, one might start to view Jankowicz with suspicion. Mainline media, however, have instead embraced Jankowicz as a credentialed, principled and neutral authority (New York Times, 5/2/22), and defended her from the right’s vitriol. “Spare a thought for Nina Jankowicz, who has stepped up to lead this effort at the Department of Homeland Security,” Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce (4/29/22) implored. “Volunteering to be a piñata takes a certain amount of gumption.”

News media have issued some reservations about the board, but these amount to little more than process critiques, comments on semantics and light McCarthyism. Esquire’s Pierce opined:

I am concerned what this operation would look like under, say, President DeSantis, and there had to be a more deft way to roll it out than having DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas just drop it into his testimony before a House committee.

The Washington Post (4/29/22) also chimed in, calling the name Disinformation Governance Board “a bit ominous; it sounds less like an effort to combat disinformation rather than to, well, govern it.” In a later piece, the Post’s editorial board (5/3/22) cautioned that the initials of the Disinformation Governance Board were the “Soviet-sounding DGB,” presumably meant to evoke the KGB.

The Post went on to assure readers that the board “could do a great deal of good” with just a bit of transparency and a few language tweaks, adding that “the reality isn’t nearly so scary” as the right suggests. But therein lies the problem: If only the right gets to weigh in on what’s “scary,” the voices of those who truly suffer will continue to go unheard.

https://fair.org/home/media-ignore-crit ... the-right/

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue May 17, 2022 12:49 pm

British Info-Warriors Kill Abroad And Sabotage Politics At Home

The British Guardian reports that 'black propaganda', issued by the British government, has helped to kill millions of people:

The British government ran a secret “black propaganda” campaign for decades, targeting Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia with leaflets and reports from fake sources aimed at destabilising cold war enemies by encouraging racial tensions, sowing chaos, inciting violence and reinforcing anti-communist ideas, newly declassified documents have revealed.
The effort, run from the mid-1950s through to the late 70s by a unit in London that was part of the Foreign Office, was focused on cold war enemies such as the Soviet Union and China, leftwing liberation groups and leaders that the UK saw as threats to its interests

The campaign also sought to mobilise Muslims against Moscow, promoting greater religious conservatism and radical ideas. To appear authentic, documents encouraged hatred of Israel.

Recently declassified British government documents reveal hundreds of extensive and costly operations.


This isn't all new:

The Information Research Department (IRD) was set up by the post-second world war Labour government to counter Soviet propaganda attacks on Britain. Its activities mirrored the CIA’s cold war propaganda operations and the extensive efforts of the USSR and its satellites.
The Observer last year revealed the IRD’s major campaign in Indonesia in 1965 that helped encourage anti-communist massacres which left hundreds of thousands dead. There, the IRD prepared pamphlets purporting to be written by Indonesian patriots, but in fact were created by British propagandists, calling on Indonesians to eliminate the PKI, then the biggest communist party in the non-communist world.


To run such campaigns, by issuing false reports or publishing faked documents, does not require much staff:

The IRD employed 360 people at its height in the mid-60s. However, its highly secretive Special Editorial Unit, responsible for the black propaganda effort, was much smaller. From its base in a nondescript office in Westminster, the unit used a variety of tactics to manipulate opinion.

You can be assured that such efforts continue today:

Though the IRD was shut down in 1977, researchers are now finding evidence that similar efforts continued for almost another decade.
“The [new documents] are particularly significant as a precursor to more modern efforts of putting intelligence into the public domain.

“Liz Truss has a ’government information cell’, and defence intelligence sends out daily tweets to ‘pre-but’ Russian plots and gain the upper hand in the information war, but for much of the cold war the UK used far more devious means,” Cormac said.


More devious than falsely claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction with the purpose of launching a war as the MI-6 did under its former directer Richard Dearlove? More devious than running a 'Free Syrian Army' propaganda campaign as a cover for ruthless Jihadis? More devious than faking and promoting a 'dossiers' about the president of an allied country? More devious than running an Integrity Initiative to falsely propagandize Russia as an imminent danger to Europe?

I don't think so. Such stuff continues to this day and more is planned for the future.

For any nation the big dangers of such external operations is always that the same methods used in them can easily abused be for political purposes against internal 'enemies'.

Kit Klarenberg reports for the Grayzone that this is exactly what happened in Britain. Former MI-6 director Richard Dearlove and a few other insiders used leaks, false documents and propaganda to fire Prime Minister Theresa May and to install Boris Johnson in an effort to push for a hard Brexit:

Leaked emails and documents reviewed by The Grayzone have exposed the dimensions of a wide-ranging conspiracy managed by a shadowy cabal of hardcore Leavers to sabotage former Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, remove her from office, replace her with Boris Johnson, and secure a ‘hard’ withdrawal from the EU.
The emails demonstrate that a group of operatives linked to the intelligence services and wealthy, reclusive pro-Brexit financiers spied on campaign groups, infiltrated the civil service, and targeted high-profile Remainers with reputational destruction. While the majority of British voters elected to assert their independence from the EU, this clique of mostly unknown influence agents sought to subvert the process and manage it according to their own elite interests.

Among their key objectives was to strengthen the security relationship between London and Washington, thus supplanting EU authority with more substantial US oversight.


The actors where all 'deep state' insiders:

The cabal appears to be led by Gwythian Prins, a member of the Chief of Defence Staff’s Strategy Advisory Panel, former NATO and Ministry of Defence advisor, and board member of pro-Brexit group Veterans for Britain.

Prins’ bio on his speakers’ bureau advertises him as a “leading thinker on strategy” who has “worked with leading decision makers around the globe from business leaders all the way up to heads of state, helping them to improve their decision making by educating them on the complex psychological processes underpinning theses[sic] decisions.”

He is joined by former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove, who is frequently dubbed “C” in the leaked emails, a reference to the operational initial granted to all heads of Britain’s foreign intelligence service. At one point, Dearlove and Prins sought to recruit their apparent friend, Henry Kissinger, and his consulting firm as trans-Atlantic lobbyists for their version of Brexit.


These people are unscrupulous:

A leaked file authored in August 2018 by Prins spells out the cabal’s bold and malicious objectives in vivid detail. Motivated by a desire to “take the fight to our opponents, who are remorseless, by all necessary means,” its members sought to:

“Block any deal arising from the disastrous and craven Chequers White Paper; ensure that we leave on clean WTO [World Trade Organisation] terms; if necessary, remove this Prime Minister [emphasis added] and replace with one fit for purpose; cleanse the polluted civil service from top to bottom.”

Months later, in an email disseminating highly sensitive briefings for PM May on EU withdrawal, Prins instructed Dearlove: “Now kill her and it.”


The above named conspirators do not operate on their personal convictions but are mercenaries financed by shady billionaires:

Funding for what amounts to a covert political plot appears to have been furnished by wealthy backers including Tim and Mary Clode, an aristocratic husband and wife based in Jersey, a notorious British tax haven.
...
Allegedly, Julian ‘Toby’ Blackwell, owner of the Blackwell publishing empire, also rustled up funds for the operation. An arch Brexiteer and multimillionaire who bankrolled numerous Leave entities, his Who’s Who entry lists his hobbies as “fighting Eurocrats and chopping firewood.”


The same people of course falsely claimed that the Brexit efforts the were secretly pushing were a 'Russian propaganda campaign'.

Britain is certainly not the only country where 'former' intelligence people secretly and openly run influence campaigns to push for certain policies. Just think of the 50+ former senior intelligence officers who falsely claimed that data from Hunter Biden's laptop was Russian disinformation.

I encourage everyone to read the Guardian piece and especially the the whole Grayzone piece and to judge on the evidence presented therein.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/ ... department
https://thegrayzone.com/2022/05/15/oper ... s-johnson/

Posted by b on May 16, 2022 at 14:49 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2022/05/b ... .html#more
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed May 18, 2022 3:50 pm

Liberals Drive State Censorship
Margaret Kimberley, BAR Executive Editor and Senior Columnist 18 May 2022

Image
US Ministry of Truth, Twitter Parody Account, @USMiniTru

Liberals are the force behind censorship efforts. They defend the state and seek to silence anyone who questions its narratives.

Twice in the month of April Barack Obama spoke about “disinformation.” First at the University of Chicago and then at Stanford University he claimed that democracy is at risk because of social media. Democracy is certainly at risk but not because of anyone’s tweets. His words were really meant to frighten Americans into accepting censorship should anyone dare to present a narrative that differs from the state’s. Of course, that isn’t what Obama said. He spoke of Trump’s claims of election fraud and racist posts and all sorts of things that liberals would support. But neither Trump nor anyone else on the right was his target. The left are his targets and the need to silence the public about Ukraine was the reason for his renewed efforts to address an issue concocted by the democratic establishment.

Less than one week after the Stanford speech the Department of Homeland Security announced the establishment of a Disinformation Governance Board. (They needed Obama to lay the groundwork with his disinformation tour.) Of course only conservatives and those who are truly on the left saw the danger in what some called a Ministry of Truth, as described in George Orwell’s 1984.

While republicans deemed lesser lights and the butt of liberal jokes such as Representative Lauren Boebert spoke out against the very problematic entity, liberals said nothing at all.

Bernie Sanders, House members known as “the Squad” and others thought of as progressives or leftists were silent. While democrats go along with and defend every Biden administration policy, republican members of congress held a press conference to share their concerns. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other republicans are seeking to defund the Board. “The President’s Ministry of Truth is just an un-American abuse of power, which is a scheme conjured up by Washington Democrats to grant themselves the authority to control free speech.” Of course abuses of power are very American but McCarthy’s assessment of what Biden and the democrats want to do is correct.

Fortunately there was enough pushback that the Biden administration felt the need to create a Fact Sheet in order to quell doubts about the dubious endeavor. “The working group does not have any operational authority or capability.” In other words, it is unneeded. Or rather it is needed to discredit anyone who dares to oppose state narratives, especially now when the Ukraine crisis needs a constant supply of public buy-in.

Yet the question must be asked about liberals’ silence. There was a time when they would be the first to oppose governmental overreach, including any efforts to control public discourse or to even give an appearance of limiting what was deemed acceptable to speak and to write.

But liberals are joined at the hip with the democratic party and that means they are the worst purveyors of misinformation and the group most interested in censorship. The Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post represents the democratic wing of the duopoly, and presented the Propaganda or Not hit list after the 2016 Donald Trump political earthquake. The fear that Trump might actually do what working people wanted was the cause of their fear and the need to label him and anyone who rejected the establishment agenda as a Russian bot, Putin puppet, or useful idiot.

Now Ukraine is the focus of their fervor. The Biden administration needs to misdirect attention from its instigation of the crisis. They want the public to accept every claim without question and believe that Vladimir Putin is evil, that the Ukrainian military can defeat the bigger, better equipped, and better staffed Russian army, and keep silent when $40 billion is spent on the effort. They don’t want the public to question why their needs are deemed to be too expensive while Ukraine is turned into a forever war and cash cow for the military industrial complex. Biden is forced to create a stupid expression such as, “Putin’s price hikes” to explain sanctions that can’t hurt Russia but also hurt Americans too.

Liberals are the heart of the establishment. The prestigious schools, think tanks, and high positions in corporate media are populated largely by democrats. It is democrats who have the power to declare certain thoughts unthinkable and make sure that inconvenient narratives do not see the light of day.

It is liberals who are most closely allied with the state and who most vigorously defend it. They are silent about a Disinformation Governance Board, and also went along completely with the plan to steal $40 billion in public money and send it to Ukraine, or rather to defense contractors and Ukrainian oligarchs.

Sneer at Lauren Boebert if you like. Her reasons for opposing censorship are not those of the left but she doesn’t go along with wholesale war propaganda either. In that regard she has more to say for herself than Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. The people making fun of Boebert would be far more effective if they made demands of fake heroes in the liberal class. Of course if they did that they wouldn’t be liberals any more. They just might have become true leftists.

https://www.blackagendareport.com/liber ... censorship
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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