Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Sep 19, 2022 1:12 pm

Silencing the Lambs, How Propaganda Works
SEPTEMBER 18, 2022

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A blaring horn, representing the propaganda that today's media carries out. File photo.

By John Pilger – Sep 13, 2022

In an address to the Trondheim World Festival in Norway, John Pilger charts the history of power propaganda and describes how it appropriates journalism in a ‘profound imperialism’ and is likely to entrap us all, if we allow it.

In the 1970s, I met one of Hitler’s leading propagandists, Leni Riefenstahl, whose epic films glorified the Nazis. We happened to be staying at the same lodge in Kenya, where she was on a photography assignment, having escaped the fate of other friends of the Führer.

She told me that the “patriotic messages” of her films were dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the German public.

Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? I asked. “Yes, especially them,” she said.

I think of this as I look around at the propaganda now consuming Western societies.

Of course, we are very different from Germany in the 1930s. We live in information societies. We are globalists. We have never been more aware, more in touch, better connected.

Are we? Or do we live in a Media Society where brainwashing is insidious and relentless, and perception is filtered according to the needs and lies of state and corporate power?

The United States dominates the Western world’s media. All but one of the top ten media companies are based in North America. The internet and social media—Google, Twitter, Facebook—are mostly American owned and controlled.

In my lifetime, the United States has overthrown or attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, mostly democracies. It has interfered in democratic elections in 30 countries. It has dropped bombs on the people of 30 countries, most of them poor and defenceless. It has attempted to murder the leaders of 50 countries. It has fought to suppress liberation movements in 20 countries.

The extent and scale of this carnage is largely unreported, unrecognised; and those responsible continue to dominate Anglo-American political life.

In the years before he died in 2008, the playwright Harold Pinter made two extraordinary speeches, which broke a silence.

“US foreign policy,” he said, is “best defined as follows: kiss my arse or I’ll kick your head in. It is as simple and as crude as that. What is interesting about it is that it’s so incredibly successful. It possesses the structures of disinformation, use of rhetoric, distortion of language, which are very persuasive, but are actually a pack of lies. It is very successful propaganda. They have the money, they have the technology, they have all the means to get away with it, and they do.”

In accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, Pinter said this: “The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

Pinter was a friend of mine and possibly the last great political sage—that is, before dissenting politics were gentrified. I asked him if the “hypnosis” he referred to was the “submissive void” described by Leni Riefenstahl.

“It’s the same,” he replied. “It means the brainwashing is so thorough we are programmed to swallow a pack of lies. If we don’t recognise propaganda, we may accept it as normal and believe it. That’s the submissive void.”

In our systems of corporate democracy, war is an economic necessity, the perfect marriage of public subsidy and private profit: socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor. The day after 9/11 the stock prices of the war industry soared. More bloodshed was coming, which is great for business.

Today, the most profitable wars have their own brand. They are called “forever wars”: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and now Ukraine. All are based on a pack of lies.

Iraq is the most infamous, with its weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist. NATO’s destruction of Libya in 2011 was justified by a massacre in Benghazi that didn’t happen. Afghanistan was a convenient revenge war for 9/11, which had nothing to do with the people of Afghanistan.

Today, the news from Afghanistan is how evil the Taliban are—not that Joe Biden’s theft of $7 billion of the country’s bank reserves is causing widespread suffering. Recently, National Public Radio in Washington devoted two hours to Afghanistan—and 30 seconds to its starving people.

At its summit in Madrid in June, NATO, which is controlled by the United States, adopted a strategy document that militarises the European continent, and escalates the prospect of war with Russia and China. It proposes “multi domain warfighting against nuclear-armed peer-competitor.” In other words, nuclear war.

It says: “NATO’s enlargement has been an historic success.”

I read that in disbelief.

A measure of this “historic success” is the war in Ukraine, news of which is mostly not news, but a one-sided litany of jingoism, distortion, omission. I have reported a number of wars and have never known such blanket propaganda.

In February, Russia invaded Ukraine as a response to almost eight years of killing and criminal destruction in the Russian-speaking region of Donbass on their border.

In 2014, the United States had sponsored a coup in Kyiv that got rid of Ukraine’s democratically elected, Russian-friendly president and installed a successor whom the Americans made clear was their man.

In recent years, American “defender” missiles have been installed in eastern Europe, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, almost certainly aimed at Russia, accompanied by false assurances all the way back to James Baker’s “promise” to Gorbachev in February 1990 that NATO would never expand beyond Germany.

Ukraine is the frontline. NATO has effectively reached the very borderland through which Hitler’s army stormed in 1941, leaving more than 23 million dead in the Soviet Union.

Last December, Russia proposed a far-reaching security plan for Europe. This was dismissed, derided or suppressed in the Western media. Who read its step-by-step proposals? On 24 February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky threatened to develop nuclear weapons unless America armed and protected Ukraine. This was the final straw.

On the same day, Russia invaded—according to the Western media, an unprovoked act of congenital infamy. The history, the lies, the peace proposals, the solemn agreements on Donbass at Minsk counted for nothing.

On 25 April, the US Defence Secretary, General Lloyd Austin, flew into Kyiv and confirmed that America’s aim was to destroy the Russian Federation—the word he used was “weaken.” America had got the war it wanted, waged by an American bankrolled and armed proxy and expendable pawn.

Almost none of this was explained to Western audiences.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is wanton and inexcusable. It is a crime to invade a sovereign country. There are no “buts”—except one.

When did the present war in Ukraine begin and who started it? According to the United Nations, between 2014 and this year, some 14,000 people have been killed in the Kyiv regime’s civil war on the Donbass. Many of the attacks were carried out by neo-Nazis.

Watch an ITV news report from May 2014, by the veteran reporter James Mates, who is shelled, along with civilians in the city of Mariupol, by Ukraine’s Azov (neo-Nazi) battalion.

In the same month, dozens of Russian-speaking people were burned alive or suffocated in a trade union building in Odessa besieged by fascist thugs, the followers of the Nazi collaborator and anti-Semitic fanatic Stepan Bandera. The New York Times called the thugs “nationalists.”

“The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment,” said Andreiy Biletsky, founder of the Azov Battaltion, “is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival, a crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

Since February, a campaign of self-appointed “news monitors” (mostly funded by the Americans and British with links to governments) have sought to maintain the absurdity that Ukraine’s neo-Nazis don’t exist.

Airbrushing, a term once associated with Stalin’s purges, has become a tool of mainstream journalism.

In less than a decade, a “good” China has been airbrushed and a “bad” China has replaced it: from the world’s workshop to a budding new Satan.

Much of this propaganda originates in the US, and is transmitted through proxies and “think-tanks,” such as the notorious Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the voice of the arms industry, and by zealous journalists such as Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald, who labeled those spreading Chinese influence as “rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows” and called for these “pests” to be “eradicated.”

News about China in the West is almost entirely about the threat from Beijing. Airbrushed are the 400 American military bases that surround most of China, an armed necklace that reaches from Australia to the Pacific and south east Asia, Japan and Korea. The Japanese island of Okinawa and the Korean island of Jeju are loaded guns aimed point blank at the industrial heart of China. A Pentagon official described this as a “noose.”

Palestine has been misreported for as long as I can remember. To the BBC, there is the “conflict” of “two narratives.” The longest, most brutal, lawless military occupation in modern times is unmentionable.

The stricken people of Yemen barely exist. They are media unpeople. While the Saudis rain down their American cluster bombs with British advisors working alongside the Saudi targeting officers, more than half a million children face starvation.

This brainwashing by omission has a long history. The slaughter of the First World War was suppressed by reporters who were knighted for their compliance and confessed in their memoirs. In 1917, the editor of the Manchester Guardian, C.P. Scott, confided to prime minister Lloyd George: “If people really knew [the truth], the war would be stopped tomorrow, but they don’t know and can’t know.”

The refusal to see people and events as those in other countries see them is a media virus in the West, as debilitating as COVID. It is as if we see the world through a one-way mirror, in which “we” are moral and benign and “they” are not. It is a profoundly imperial view.

The history that is a living presence in China and Russia is rarely explained and rarely understood. Vladimir Putin is Adolf Hitler. Xi Jinping is Fu Man Chu. Epic achievements, such as the eradication of abject poverty in China, are barely known. How perverse and squalid this is.

When will we allow ourselves to understand? Training journalists factory style is not the answer. Neither is the wondrous digital tool, which is a means, not an end, like the one-finger typewriter and the linotype machine.

In recent years, some of the best journalists have been eased out of the mainstream. “Defenestrated” is the word used. The spaces once open to mavericks, to journalists who went against the grain, truth-tellers, have closed.

The case of Julian Assange is the most shocking. When Julian and WikiLeaks could win readers and prizes for the Guardian, the New York Times and other self-important “papers of record,” he was celebrated.

When the dark state objected and demanded the destruction of hard drives and the assassination of Julian’s character, he was made a public enemy. Vice President Biden called him a “hi-tech terrorist.” Hillary Clinton asked, “Can’t we just drone this guy?”

The ensuing campaign of abuse and vilification against Julian Assange—the UN Rapporteur on Torture called it “mobbing”—brought the liberal press to its lowest ebb. We know who they are. I think of them as collaborators: as Vichy journalists.

When will real journalists stand up? An inspirational samizdat already exists on the internet: Consortium News, founded by the great reporter Robert Parry, Max Blumenthal’s Grayzone, Mint Press News, Media Lens, Declassified UK, Alborada, Electronic Intifada, WSWS, ZNet, ICH, Counter Punch, Independent Australia, the work of Chris Hedges, Patrick Lawrence, Jonathan Cook, Diana Johnstone, Caitlin Johnstone and others who will forgive me for not mentioning them here.

And when will writers stand up, as they did against the rise of fascism in the 1930s? When will film-makers stand up, as they did against the Cold War in the 1940s? When will satirists stand up, as they did a generation ago?

Having soaked for 82 years in a deep bath of righteousness that is the official version of the last world war, isn’t it time those who are meant to keep the record straight declared their independence and decoded the propaganda? The urgency is greater than ever.

(This article is an edited version of an address to the Trondheim World Festival, Norway, on 6 September, 2022)

https://orinocotribune.com/silencing-th ... nda-works/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Sep 26, 2022 1:48 pm

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Bots are flooding social media with pro-US propaganda demonizing China, Russia & Iran, studies show
By Ben Norton (Posted Sep 24, 2022)

Originally published: Multipolarista on September 20, 2022 (more by Multipolarista)

Two studies published this August expose how large numbers of fake accounts are spreading pro-Western and pro-NATO propaganda on social media, while demonizing US geopolitical adversaries like China, Russia, and Iran.

An investigation by scholars in Australia found that more than 90% of bots posting on Twitter about the proxy war in Ukraine were promoting pro-Ukraine propaganda, whereas just 7% were promoting pro-Russia propaganda.

A separate report co-authored by researchers at California’s Stanford University and a notorious US government contractor called Graphika revealed a large propaganda network on social media “that used deceptive tactics to promote pro-Western narratives in the Middle East and Central Asia.”

The study detailed a “series of covert campaigns” on social media, which spread disinformation and fake news in a way that “consistently advanced narratives promoting the interests of the United States and its allies while opposing countries including Russia, China, and Iran.”

These two investigations are part of a growing body of evidence showing how Western governments and their allies have weaponized social media platforms and turned them into weapons in a new cold war.

90% of bots posting about Ukraine proxy spread anti-Russian propaganda

A scientific study published by researchers from Australia’s University of Adelaide found that, of the bots on Twitter posting about the proxy war in Ukraine, 90.16% spread pro-Ukraine propaganda, while only 6.8% spread pro-Russia propaganda. (3.04% of the bots showed what they called “mixed behaviour,” publishing both pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian messages.)

The scholars, from the university’s School of Mathematical Sciences, cannot in any way be considered pro-Russian. In fact, two of the co-authors disclosed that their work is funded by the Australian government through the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects.

But the academics set out to investigate how “Both sides in the Ukrainian conflict use the online information environment to influence geopolitical dynamics and sway public opinion,” and they let the facts speak for themselves.

The researchers analyzed more than 5.2 million tweets, retweets, quote tweets, and replies between February 23 and March 8 that used the hashtags #(I)StandWithUkraine, #(I)StandWithRussia, #(I)StandWithZelenskyy, #(I)StandWithPutin, #(I)SupportUkraine, or #(I)SupportRussia. (The scholars used both the versions #StandWithUkraine and #IStandWithUkraine, with and without the “I.”)

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They found that the vast majority of bots tweeted pro-Ukraine propaganda, specifically the hashtag #StandWithUkraine.

Their study noted that the proxy war in Ukraine “emphasises the role social media plays in modern-day warfare, with conflict occurring in both the physical and information environments.”

“Social media is a critical tool in information warfare,” the academics wrote.

They cited another investigation that found that 19% of overall interactions on Twitter are directed from bots to real accounts, the vast majority in the form of retweets (74%) and mentions (25%).

Pro-Western propaganda network on social media exposed
A separate study also published in August offered further insight into how social media is weaponized to spread pro-Western propaganda.

Titled “Unheard Voice: Evaluating five years of pro-Western covert influence operations,” the report was co-authored by the Stanford Internet Observatory and an infamous intelligence company called Graphika.

Graphika is notorious for working closely with the US government, contracting with the Pentagon, DARPA, and the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Given its links to US intelligence agencies, Graphika’s role in this study could be seen as an example of a “limited hangout” – it provides a small glimpse into US information warfare activities, while covering up the vast majority of its operations.

Although it is very limited in scope and has clear biases, the document does show how pro-Western propaganda networks on social media accuse China, Russia, and Iran of being “imperialist” while praising the US government.

The pro-Western disinformation operations primarily used Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp (which are owned by Meta), as well as YouTube, Twitter, and Telegram.

Some of the fake accounts involved in the coordinated propaganda campaign posed as “independent news outlets,” “political analysts,” or “teachers.”

The Stanford Internet Observatory and Graphika succiently described the operation as “Fake News, Fake Faces, Fake Followers.”

They wrote in the executive summary of their report (emphasis added):

Our joint investigation found an interconnected web of accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and five other social media platforms that used deceptive tactics to promote pro-Western narratives in the Middle East and Central Asia. The platforms’ datasets appear to cover a series of covert campaigns over a period of almost five years rather than one homogeneous operation.

These campaigns consistently advanced narratives promoting the interests of the United States and its allies while opposing countries including Russia, China, and Iran. The accounts heavily criticized Russia in particular for the deaths of innocent civilians and other atrocities its soldiers committed in pursuit of the Kremlin’s “imperial ambitions” following its invasion of Ukraine in February this year. To promote this and other narratives, the accounts sometimes shared news articles from U.S. government-funded media outlets, such as Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, and links to websites sponsored by the U.S. military.


The document explained that the propaganda accounts “created fake personas with GAN-generated faces, posed as independent media outlets, leveraged memes and short-form videos, attempted to start hashtag campaigns, and launched online petitions.”

The Stanford Internet Observatory and Graphika described their investigation as “the most extensive case of covert pro-Western IO [influence operations] on social media to be reviewed and analyzed by open-source researchers to date.”

The firms acknowledged that, “With few exceptions, the study of modern IO has overwhelmingly focused on activity linked to” Western adversaries “in countries such as Russia, China, and Iran.”

Some of the language used in the report reflects the blatant bias of the firms, which referred to China, Russia, and Iran disparagingly as “authoritarian regimes.”

Despite the many limitations of the study, however, the fact that it was co-published by an elite university and a notorious intelligence-linked US government contractor makes it impossible to deny that Western government are using social media platforms to spread disinformation and wage information warfare against their geopolitical adversaries.

Central Asia propaganda accuses China and Russia of ‘imperialism’ while praising the US
The Stanford Internet Observatory and Graphika investigation analyzed the pro-Western disinformation campaign by dividing its work into three regions: Central Asia (primarily in the Russian language), Iran (in Persian), and the Middle East (in Arabic).

Although these pro-Western propaganda operations were conducted in different languages, many of their talking points and tactics overlapped.

The Central Asia-themed disinformation was mostly in Russian, although some accounts posted in regional languages like Kazakh and Kyrgyz.

In addition to using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter, and Telegram, the Central Asia propaganda also employed the Russian social media apps VKontakte (VK) and Odnoklassniki.

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The report found that the disinformation operation involved creating a “sham media outlet” focused on Central Asia called Intergazeta. It “repeatedly copied news material with and without credit from reputable Western and pro-Western sources in Russian, such as Meduza.io and the BBC Russian Service.”

Other accounts in the propaganda network “copied or translated content from U.S.-funded entities, such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the independent Kazakh news outlet informburo.kz.”

They also created petitions using the US-based website Avaaz. One demanded that Kazakhstan should leave the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance with Russia.

Another petition called on Kyrgyzstan to minimize Chinese influence. And two more insisted that Kazakhstan should ban Russian TV channels.

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The Central Asia disinformation network accused Russia and China of “imperialism,” while constantly spreading pro-US propaganda.

The fake accounts demonized Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, its military intervention in Syria, and its security partnership with several African nations.

The Stanford Internet Observatory and Graphika report noted that the disinformation operation also “concentrated on China and the treatment of Chinese Muslim minorities, particularly the Uighurs in Xinjiang province.”

The fake accounts accused China of “genocide” against its Uyghur minority, and spread fake news stories alleging that Beijing harvest the organs of Muslims.

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Persian-language anti-Iran propaganda network

The report identified another network of propaganda focused on Afghanistan. These fake accounts attacked Iran and accused it of having too much influence in the neighboring country. To do so, they posted disinformation from websites supported by the US military.

This propaganda included outlandish fake news, alleging for instance that Iran is trafficking the organs of Afghan refugees, or claiming that Tehran is supposedly forcing Afghan refugees to fight in militias in Syria and Yemen.

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Like the Central Asia-focused disinformation operation, this anti-Iran network included “accounts claiming to be independent media outlets, [which] shared U.S.-funded Persian-language media,” from US state propaganda outlets like Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Radio Farda and VOA Farsi.

The fake accounts also shared “content from sources linked to the U.S. military,” such as websites sponsored by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

And they reposted material from Iran International, an anti-Iranian propaganda outlet based in Britain and funded by the Saudi monarchy.

The Stanford Internet Observatory and Graphika wrote that this propaganda campaign was “critical of the Iranian government and often used a sarcastic tone to mock Iranian state media and other parts of the state apparatus.”

Some of the fake accounts engaged with actual Iranians on Twitter, trying to get real people involved in the operation.

They emphasized attacks on Tehran’s foreign policy. The report noted, “Anti-government accounts criticized Iran’s domestic and international policies and highlighted how the government’s costly international interventions undermined its ability to care for its citizens.”

The fake accounts excoriated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), demonized resistance groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and condemned Iran for its political alliance with Russia.

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Arabic-language Middle East propaganda network

Another disinformation network identified in the Stanford Internet Observatory and Graphika report focused on spreading Arabic-language propaganda related to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.

These fake accounts claimed Iran had too much influence in the region. They demonized Yemen’s revolutionary group Ansarallah (also known as the Houthi movement), and attacked Russia’s foreign policy.

The report noted that some “accounts on Twitter posed as Iraqi activists in order to accuse Iran of threatening Iraq’s water security and flooding the country with crystal meth.”

“Other assets highlighted Houthi-planted landmines killing civilians and promoted allegations that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would lead to a global food crisis,” it added.

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Some of the accounts falsely posed as Iraqis, and compared Iran to a “disease” destroying Iraq.

At the same time, they demonized Iraqi Shia militias and portrayed them as puppets of Tehran.

The propaganda campaign accused Iran of an “imperialist project in the Middle East.”

The report noted that this disinformation operation also “amplified the narrative that Russian President Vladimir Putin planned to induce a global food crisis that would hit less economically developed countries the hardest.”

At the same time, the fake accounts praised the United States, and particularly its soft-power arm USAID.

Part of the disinformation network even spread propaganda heroizing the US soldiers who are illegally occupying Syrian territory.

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https://mronline.org/2022/09/24/bots-ar ... dies-show/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Oct 08, 2022 2:03 pm

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The rich and their media offer no solutions to economic problems
Originally published: Dissident Voice on October 5, 2022 by Shawgi Tell (more by Dissident Voice) | (Posted Oct 07, 2022)

The political and media representatives of the rich continue to promote maximum confusion on the economy. No coherent perspective on the economy is permitted under the existing political order. Everyone is expected to go along with what the rich and their allies repeat about the economy. Everyone has to use the same terms, the same framework, and the same outdated outlook when approaching the economy. Alternative vantage points are not tolerated.

False choices, bad options, and mixed messages abound. Week after week, one news source claims that everything is great while another says that the economic forecast looks gloomy for the next decade. Economic concepts like inflation, interest rates, costs, prices, and unemployment are rendered in the most tortured manner over and over again, with different representatives of the rich constantly making unscientific and confusing claims about what is “the real problem” and how to “get us back on track.”

Anticonsciousness has produced a stubborn refusal on the part of the superfluous political and economic elite to provide a concrete and lucid description, explanation, and evaluation of what is actually unfolding, leaving people disinformed and marginalized. This tiny ruling elite is plagued with old ideas and concepts about the economy. It has no interest in consciously investigating phenomena and reaching warranted conclusions.

This August 21, 2022 headline from The Register-Herald from West Virginia is one of endless examples of the mainstream media failing to empower people: “U.S. economy flashes signals of hope and concern in mixed data.” Like so many news items, this article leaves people riding the fence and unable to decipher real developments in the economy and society. This is usually done in the name of “balance,” which is really an attempt to conceal a multifaceted reality that can be grasped only when investigated consciously and objectively. One is left as powerless at the end of the article as when they started the article. Half-truths, incorrect information, hedging and waffling here and there—such common tactics leave people with no bearings or direction. It is not a serious approach.

Another confused source, The Nation, carries this headline: “Looming recession in 2023” (September 7, 2022). The article relies on capital-centered discourse with all its limitations. It provides no integrated coherent view on what is happening in the economy or why. It ignores the fact that the long depression started 12 years ago and that most economies have been running on gas fumes since then, if not before then. The “economic slowdown” started many years ago and will continue for years to come. Years later there is still no meaningful recovery and resilience in most countries, just worse living and working conditions for the majority year after year. Living and working standards are not rising in the U.S. and elsewhere. Endless chatter by the elite and their representatives about “recession” serves mainly to confuse and distract people. It seeks to embroil them in debates that do not serve their interests.

Conflating different concepts and trends, this September 1, 2022 headline from Bloomberg News, “Strong Economy Is Bad News for Fed’s Inflation Fight,” also leaves readers with no coherence about the economy. What “strong economy”? Why is a so-called “strong economy” a bad thing? And what about the fact that the Fed ran out of ammunition long ago and is only exacerbating things?

Other bizarre news headlines look like this one from the New York Times: “America’s Dueling Realities on a Key Question: Is the Economy Good or Bad?” (September 13, 2022). The presentation of the economy to the public in this irrational manner can be found everywhere today. Objectivity of consideration is absent and everything is reduced to what a handful of “registered voters” think. Everything is reduced to subjective interpretations, as if the economy does not exist independent of the will of individuals. On top of all this, the article openly admits that economists and journalists are bad at predicting economic phenomena. In other words, they are not scientific.

Many other examples of media disinformation on the economy can be given. Desperate attempts to find something positive in a dying and decaying economy are not going anywhere any time soon. Such efforts continue because the ruling elite are terrified of more people recognizing the illegitimacy, bankruptcy, and dysfunction of current arrangements and uniting with others to usher in a fresh new alternative.

Research and experience show that most Americans are very worried about the state of the economy.1 Millions feel insecure. Everyone knows we have a bad economy, whether you call it a recession or not. High prices are everywhere and interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world are only creating more problems. Today many people have to work two full-time jobs just to survive. Millions live pay-check to pay-check, including many who make six figures. On top of all this, price-gouging, bankruptcies, evictions, hunger, homelessness, inequality, debt, anxiety, and crime are increasing. The fact is that “Rising costs force millions of Americans to choose between paying health care and utility bills” (August 31, 2022).

Yet Jerome Powell, head of the U.S. Federal Reserve, recently promised “more pain” for millions. More agony and unemployment, we are told, is the way forward.

Why? How is this a responsible and acceptable approach in 2022? Why should there be more suffering for everyone centuries after the scientific and technical revolution made it possible to meet the needs of all several times over? Why more pain for everyone when objectively there is an overabundance of wealth in society produced by workers? Is the public to believe that the approach embraced by economic “leaders” is the only viable approach to the problems confronting the economy, society, and humanity? And whose economy are we talking about? There is nothing bright or human-centered about the approach, outlook, and agenda of the rich and their representatives, which is why they have not solved any major problems in decades.

It is clear that what the rich mean by “economy” bears no resemblance to what an economy actually is: the relations people enter into with each other in the course of reproducing themselves and society. For the rich, the economy is anything that makes rich people richer, including war, price-gouging, wage cuts, stock buy-backs, aggressive advertising, and wild speculation on the stock market. These are not things the producers of wealth in society support. Working people are interested in using socially-produced wealth to advance society, not narrow private interests.

The ruling elite and their representatives view the economy in the most narrow and distorted way. They do not see the economy as an integrated whole whose many parts are run by millions of working people that produce all the wealth of society. Major owners of capital look at the world from their own narrow private interests and protect their “own turf” as they compete intensely with other owners of capital to maximize their profit, regardless of how damaging this might be to the natural and social environment. They do not care about how the economy as a whole operates. They do not look at the parts in relation to the whole or strive to ensure the proper extended reproduction of society. Chaos, anarchy, and violence prevail in this outdated set-up in which greed is cynically normalized as a virtue.

From a capital-centered perspective, workers are not seen as the source of value. Their labor-time is not recognized as the source of new value. Workers are viewed instead as a derogatory cost of production, a liability, a loss, a burden, a nuisance, a negative consequence; something to be suffered or grudgingly tolerated. In reality, though, it is owners of capital, those who “legally” seize the surplus value produced by workers, that are a burden and liability to society. They are a historically-exhausted force that drags society backward. They are a block to progress.

In this fractured context it is also troubling that humans and citizens are constantly reduced to consumers, and consumerism is given as that which defines the modern human personality. Buying and subordinating oneself to objects, things, and commodities is given as the core of the modern individual—a phenomenon further exacerbated by social media.
Capitalist ideology turns reality upside down. It mixes up who exploits who. It conceals the irreconcilable antagonistic interests between workers and the financial oligarchy. It hides the fact that wage-slavery is the main mode of profit maximization for owners of capital. It obscures severe contradictions between workers and the rich.

People can expect no clarity or guidance from the rich and their media, which is why they must rely on their own conscious acts of finding out and undertake their own efforts to disseminate information, analysis, and perspective.

There is no reason for today’s economies to be as chaotic, anarchic, and fragmented as they are. They must be brought under conscious human control and organized to advance the general interests of society, not a tiny ruling elite that uses its power to get richer while disinforming and marginalizing people.

https://mronline.org/2022/10/07/the-ric ... -problems/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Oct 17, 2022 1:56 pm

The BBC-to-NATO Pipeline: How the British State Broadcaster Serves the Powerful
OCTOBER 16, 2022

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A photo compostion of a British government office, with the BBC and NATO logos looming overhead. Photo:Mintpress.

By Alan Macleod — Oct 6, 2022

The death of Queen Elizabeth II, where the BBC dropped programming to run endless, wall-to-wall coverage, has underlined the fact to many Britons that the network is far from impartial, but the voice of the state.

The BBC website draped itself in black, printing stories such as “Death of Queen Elizabeth II: The moment history stops,” while BBC News presenter Clive Myrie explicitly dismissed the cost of living and energy crisis wracking the country as “insignificant” compared to the news.

But even before the monarch’s death, the BBC’s reputation was in crisis. Between 2018 and 2022, the number of Britons saying they trusted its coverage dropped from 75% to just 55%. Yet it still remains a giant in media; more than three-quarters of the UK public rely on the network as a news source.

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Source | Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

However, this investigation will reveal that the BBC has always been consciously used as an arm of the state, with the broadcaster openly collaborating with the UK military, the intelligence services, and NATO, all in an effort to shape British and world public opinion.

The BBC-to-NATO pipeline

The BBC has always cultivated a close relationship with the British military, despite the inherent journalistic conflicts of interest present. “In theory, the BBC is supposed to hold power to account, but this is not how impartiality has tended to work in practice,” Tom Mills, an academic and author of “The BBC: Myth of a Public Service,” told MintPress, adding that “a certain deference is expected of you…It’s a structural feature of the organization, and to some extent journalism more broadly.”

Yet, studying employment databases and websites reveals the existence of a revolving door between the broadcaster and NATO.

Between 2007 and 2008, longtime BBC producer and news presenter Victoria Cook, for instance, was simultaneously collecting a paycheck from NATO, working as a journalist and media trainer.

Oana Lungescu, meanwhile, left her job as a correspondent at the BBC World Service (the broadcaster’s flagship international radio service) in 2010 to take a job as a NATO spokesperson.

Another BBC employee who went through the BBC-to-NATO-pipeline is Mark Laity, who left his position as the network’s defense correspondent to become the deputy spokesman to NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson – a man whose journalistic ethics dictates Laity should have been closely scrutinizing, not doing public relations for him.

David McGee also left his role as a news producer for the BBC to work for NATO – in this case as a media manager, where he, in his own words, “Provided PR support to military and civilian stakeholders for external communications audience,” and, “Undertook crisis management of news events for [the] US military.”

Others traveled the other way. One of them is Terence Sach, who left his job as an intelligence and security analyst at the UK Ministry of Defense in 2017 to become an information security specialist at the BBC.

Where news meets psyops

Perhaps most noteworthy, however, is the BBC’s employment of NATO psychological operations officers, tasking them to provide supposedly objective information while simultaneously moonlighting as propagandists for the military alliance.

Between 1994 and 2014, for example, Sulaiman Radmanish worked for the BBC World Service, primarily helping to produce content targeting the Afghan population. Over a similar time period (2005-2014), he worked as a video editor for NATO, “edit[ing] short Psyops clips” according to his LinkedIn profile. It is surely no coincidence that his work with both the BBC and NATO ended in the same year as Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan – a country it had been occupying since 2001.

Another operative with one foot in both NATO and the BBC was Bojan Lazic. At the same time as being a full-time psychological operations specialist for NATO, Lazic moonlighted as a BBC technical consultant. This employment coincided with NATO’s bombing of Lazic’s native Yugoslavia.

This close relationship with the military continues to the present day. One example of this is the BBC’s newly appointed head of assurance, Khushru Cooper. According to his social media profile, Cooper continues to be a commissioned British Army officer – a post he has held for 20 years.



The myth of a left-wing bias

In August, top BBC news anchor Emily Maitlis caused a storm of controversy after she claimed that the network’s former head of political programming, Robbie Gibb, was, in her words, an “active agent of the Conservative party” who influenced politics coverage. Others agreed, including BBC media editor Amol Rajan, who said Gibb’s appointment “clearly strengthens the BBC’s links not just with Westminster, but with the Conservative Party specifically”.

At the time she made the remarks, Maitlis had recently resigned, although only after she had come under huge pressure for reporting on how senior Conservative politicians were blatantly flouting their own COVID-19 lockdown rules.

Richard Sharp, the BBC’s chairman, insisted that Maitlis was “completely wrong”. “We cherish the editorial independence of the BBC,” he added. Yet her claims were hardly outlandish. Robbie Gibb is the brother of Tory MP and former cabinet minister Nick Gibb and left the BBC in 2017 to become Director of Communications for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May. And Sharp himself was an advisor to senior Tories, including Chancellor Rishi Sunak and future Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He is also one of the party’s largest benefactors, donating at least £400,000 to its coffers.

Many of the BBC’s biggest and most influential names also have similar connections to conservative power. Tim Davie, the corporation’s director general, was the deputy chairman of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Party and stood for election as a Tory on two occasions. Nick Robinson, the BBC’s former political editor and current host of its flagship Today program was chairman of the National Young Conservatives and president of the Oxford University Conservative Association. And Andrew Neil, a longtime senior politics presenter at the BBC, was far-right media baron Rupert Murdoch’s right-hand man and the chairman of the hard-right Spectator magazine.

This glut of right-wingers in top jobs is not matched by an equal number on the left. Far from it. In fact, from the earliest days of the BBC, the secret services have vetted the majority of its staff – even for minor positions – in order to ensure that those it deems too left-wing, radical, or anti-war will never enter its ranks. This practice continued until at the very least the 1980s. However, when BBC journalists asked the company in 2018 whether this practice is still ongoing, they refused to answer, citing “security issues” – a response many took to be a tacit “yes”.


Nevertheless, the myth that the BBC is a left-leaning institution is a persistent one. Successive polls have shown that around one-quarter of the public believe the corporation is biased in favor of the Labour Party and the left – a larger number than those that say the opposite is true.

Much of this sentiment is driven by the Conservative Party itself, which constantly harangues the BBC over what it claims is an anti-Tory bias, to the point where the current government under Liz Truss has vowed to pull all its funding, effectively destroying it. Earlier this week, Home Secretary Suella Braverman claimed that there has been a “march of socialism” throughout public life and that there was an “urgent need” to address the balance by placing right-wingers into more positions of power.

The BBC is not financed by advertising, but from a license fee paid for by all Britons (with some exceptions) who wish to have a television. The cost of the license – and therefore the budget of the BBC – is set by the government, giving it a weapon to use against the corporation.

As former Director of BBC personnel, Michael Bett said,

The license fee became a bigger and bigger political issue. Therefore, it mattered very much what the government thought about you, and you couldn’t rely on the general reputation. You had to please the government.”

“The BBC is essentially a state broadcaster with a high degree of operational autonomy. Its reporting isn’t directed by the government, or by any department of state…plus its public income comes from outside of general taxation,” Mills told MintPress, adding:

But governments control that income, they appoint executives to its board and they periodically define its terms of operations. Ultimately it is answerable to governments and this is well understood in the BBC itself. They are very conscious of how they are perceived by politicians.”

Voice of the state

The work of Mills and others charting the history of the British Broadcasting Corporation has underlined the point that, from its very inception, it has been fundamentally intertwined with British state power, helping to promote and preserve it at home and abroad.

The BBC was established in October 1922 to take advantage of emerging radio technology and played a key role in the UK General Strike of 1926. 1920s Europe was an extremely turbulent time, as class war, revolution and socialism had come to the fore. In 1917, Russia had overthrown its czar and brought Lenin’s Bolshevik party into power, only to be immediately invaded by Britain, the United States, and other powers in an attempt to “strangle Bolshevism in its cradle” as Winston Churchill put it.

The German uprisings of 1917 and 1919 ended the First World War and led to the fall of the monarchy. Closer to home, Ireland had fought its way to independence from Britain. Meanwhile, in 1922, a communist uprising in Scotland had come close to sparking a revolution across the country.

These actions deeply troubled BBC chief Lord John Reith. And so when the Trades Union Congress called a general strike in 1926, the Scottish aristocrat offered his organization’s services to the Conservative government. The BBC became a “vital instrument of propaganda for a government determined to break the strike,” in Mills’ words, putting out non-stop propaganda demonizing the strikers and banning broadcasts from the Labour Party.

After the strike was broken, Reith proudly announced to listeners,

You have heard the messages from the king and the prime minister. It remains only to add the conviction that the nation’s happy escape has been in large measure due to a personal trust in the prime minister.”

Reith would later say that the BBC “saved” Britain and quipped that if France had had a state broadcaster in 1789, “there would have been no French Revolution.”

The government has long internally debated what its precise relationship with the BBC should be. Winston Churchill was in favor of officially taking over the corporation. However, others in government argued that it should be kept at arm’s length; that it would hold more persuasive power if it maintained a facade of independence. This was the approach Lord Reith favored, commenting that the government “know that they can trust us not to be really impartial”.



The enemy within

True to Reith’s vision, the BBC has maintained its role as state broadcaster and has functioned as one of the British establishment’s most potent tools in destroying any threat to its power and prestige. As Greg Dyke, BBC secretary general between 2000 and 2004 stated, the organization “helps maintain an unequal political system by being part of a Westminster conspiracy. They don’t want anything to change. It’s not in their interests.”

This was seen in full effect in the 1980s during the Miners’ Strike, where the BBC put out round-the-clock propaganda to help the Conservative Thatcher government defeat the strikers, going so far as to doctor footage to make it appear that miners had attacked the police, when, in fact, the opposite was the case.

Nevertheless, the Thatcher government’s attack on the BBC was fierce. Following the commissioning of Duncan Campbell’s series “Secret Society”, which exposed the existence of spy satellites that even parliament was not told about, the security services raided BBC offices in Glasgow and banned its publication.

More recently, when Scotland faced an independence referendum in 2014, the BBC published a torrent of negative stories on the issue, warning Scots that ruination awaited them if they chose to break away. This came to be dubbed “Project Fear” by detractors. Studies showed a clear quantitative bias towards anti-independence sources, with BBC presenters displaying open contempt or even hatred towards Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.

Likewise, when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, the BBC immediately trained its guns on him, constantly attacking and slandering him, implying he was a terrorist sympathizer, an antisemite, and a national security threat. After strong public pushback to its reporting, the BBC eventually investigated itself and concluded its own political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, had breached its impartiality and accuracy standards when covering Corbyn. Despite this, senior BBC figures still publicly maintain that the idea the organization was biased against him is “risible.”

The BBC has often cultivated its “Auntie Beeb” persona – that of a reliable, comforting, and non-threatening source of information that all Britons can rely upon. However, upon closer inspection, it is clear that the institution functions as an appendage of the state, with deep and long-lasting ties to all sectors of the British establishment, including the monarchy, the military, the secret services, and the Conservative Party. In short, then, the BBC is not just state-funded media; it is a mouthpiece for the powerful.

(MintPress)

https://orinocotribune.com/the-bbc-to-n ... -powerful/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sun Nov 06, 2022 3:57 pm

No Such Thing As An Objective Journalist: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

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I feel like we haven’t been talking enough about the fact that US government agencies were just caught intimately collaborating with massive online platforms to censor content in the name of regulating the “cognitive infrastructure” of society. The only way you could be okay with the US government appointing itself this authority would be if you believed the US government is an honest and beneficent entity that works toward the benefit of the common man. Which would of course be an unacceptable thing for a grown adult to believe.



It’s still astonishing that we live in a world where our rulers will openly imprison a journalist for telling the truth and then self-righteously bloviate about the need to stop authoritarian regimes from persecuting journalists.

Look at this scumbag:
Secretary Antony Blinken
@SecBlinken
·
Follow

United States government official
No member of the press should be threatened, harassed, attacked, arrested, or killed for doing their job. On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, we vow to continue protecting and promoting the rights of a free press and the safety of journalists.
Department of State
@StateDept
·
Nov 2

United States government organization
On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, we urge other governments to hold accountable those who target journalists with harassment, intimidation, and violence. We renew our commitment to an open and free press at home and abroad.
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10:01 AM · Nov 2, 2022 ·Twitter Web App
573 Retweets 1,022 Quote Tweets 1,892 Likes

Look at him. Can you believe this piece of shit? The gall. The absolute gall.



There is no such thing as unbiased journalism. If someone tells you they are unbiased they are either knowingly lying, or they are so lacking in self-awareness that you should not listen to them anyway.

The divide is not between biased journalists and unbiased journalists, it’s between journalists who are honest and transparent about their biases and journalists who are not. There are no unbiased journalists. There are no unbiased people. You’re either honest about this or you’re not.

Of course journalists should try to be as fair and honest as they can. It’s just the epitome of childlike naivety to believe that western mainstream journalists do this.

Reporters who support the mainstream worldview are just as biased as reporters from Russian or Chinese state media; they espouse a peculiar perspective and concrete interests and agendas. The problem is the mainstream worldview is so normalized it looks like impartial reality, so you’ll get mainstream western journalists speaking disdainfully of Julian Assange or The Grayzone or whoever because those people have biases and agendas, as though they themselves have no biases or agendas and are nothing other than impartial arbiters of absolute reality.

Which is plainly ridiculous. The worldview which facilitates the abuses of oligarchy and empire and the status quo politics which serves as their vehicle is anything but impartial. It’s not even sane. But because it’s been normalized by propaganda it looks like baseline reality.

The only reason the mainstream worldview is mainstream is because the world’s most powerful people have poured a tremendous amount of money into making it mainstream. That’s the one and only reason. It’s not the moderate perspective, it’s just the most funded and marketed perspective.

All journalists have biases, and all journalists have agendas. It’s just that most of them have the mundane agenda of becoming esteemed and well-known, and the easiest way to do that is to espouse the mainstream worldview where the tide of propaganda can carry you to shore.

The easiest way to become rich and famous in news media is to promote the interests of the rich and powerful people who own and influence the news media. The easiest way to become reviled and marginalized is to attack those interests. Your values determine which path you choose.



There’s no such thing as a Hollywood ending.

There’s no such thing as an objective journalist.

There’s no such thing as a moral billionaire.

There’s no such thing as a humanitarian intervention.

There’s no such thing as an honest war.

People should learn all this in grade school.






Who understands that narrative control is power? Empire managers. Plutocrats. Propagandists. Smearmeisters. Manipulators. Abusers. Cult leaders. Bullies.

Who does not understand that narrative control is power? Pretty much everyone else.

This is the source of most problems.



Platforms censoring hate speech is not the same as platforms censoring political speech and speech which criticizes the agendas of the powerful. Censoring hate speech is done to benefit the platform’s profit margins; censoring political speech is done to benefit powerful government agencies. You can make slippery slope arguments, but they’re not equal, and they’re not similar.

You can argue with the reality that for-profit platforms will always censor the most repellent forms of speech in order to prevent their audiences from being driven from the platform, but that is reality. And it is very different from censoring on behalf of US alphabet agencies. If what you want is a platform where all legal forms of expression are allowed, then for-profit platforms are not a good vehicle for that. Perhaps you want a nationalized social media platform funded by taxpayers with robust speech protections built into its terms of use.

There’s a massive difference between a platform banning speech which makes that platform a gross place that nobody wants to hang out at and a platform banning the way people talk about a war or a virus because government agencies told them to. It’s unhelpful to conflate the two.

And the conflation goes both ways. People who just want to spew hate will pretend to care about fighting the power, and the powerful who want to censor the internet to suppress inconvenient speech will pretend to care about stopping hate. It’s important to be aware of these obfuscations.

There’s a night and day difference between people who oppose censorship because they don’t want the powerful controlling human speech and people who oppose censorship because they want to say ethnic slurs. They’re not the same. A good tool for making these distinctions is to examine whether the agenda punches down or punches up. If it seeks to suppress speech on behalf of the powerful or harm disempowered communities, it’s punching down.



Nobody’s ever been able to answer this question: if Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine had nothing to do with western provocations, how come so many western experts spent years warning that the west’s actions would provoke Russia to invade Ukraine?
https://twitter.com/RnaudBertrand/statu ... 7902062592



Ukraine is a far more celebrated and aggressively defended centerpiece of hawkish American fanaticism than Israel ever was.



If you find yourself rushing to defend the foreign policy of the most militarily, economically and culturally dominant nation on earth, ask yourself why that is. Ask whom that impulse benefits. Ask how that impulse came upon you. Ask if it could have been put there by propaganda.



It is false to claim that capitalism, competition and greed are “human nature”. I cite as my source for this claim the fact that I am human. The truth is that those who claim capitalism, competition and greed are “human nature” are not actually telling you anything about human nature. They are telling you about their own nature.

And it isn’t even really accurate to call it their “nature”; it’s just their conditioning. And we can all change our conditioning. The only people who deny this are those who haven’t sincerely tried to yet.



One reason I publish poetry and share insights about philosophy and spirituality on top of my political and foreign policy commentary is because as the information ecosystem gets more polluted it’s not enough to tell people what you think, you’ve got to show them who you are. As more and more energy goes into distorting and manipulating public understanding of the world, it becomes more necessary to bare your soul to the furthest extent possible so people can decide on their own whether you’re the kind of person they want to pay attention to.

People are very distrusting in today’s environment, and rightly so; we swim in an ocean of lies. You can get around that distrust by manipulating people into thinking you’re trustworthy, or you can do it by taking transparency to the furthest extent possible and letting yourself be fully seen so that people can make up their own minds about you for themselves.

I can’t promise that I’ll always get everything right or that I’ll always be seeing things the most clearly, but I can promise to always be honest and to always be running on maximum transparency about who I am, where I’m coming from, and what my biases and agendas are.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/11/06 ... ve-matrix/

That twitter link towards the end of the piece is highly recommended. It is All You Need To Know about the warmongering recklessness of a hegemony desperate to maintain it's suzerainty.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Nov 16, 2022 3:00 pm

Leaked Files Show DHS “Ministry of Truth” Lives On in Secret
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on NOVEMBER 14, 2022
Kit Klarenberg

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Leaked Files Show DHS “Ministry of Truth” Lives On In Secret Feature photoOn October 31, journalists Lee Fang and Ken Klippenstein released a trove of leaked documents exposing how, in recent years, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) desire – and ability – to curb speech in both online and offline realms has ramped up significantly.

Along the way, a government department ostensibly founded to defend Americans from terrorist violence has become the single biggest threat to free speech in the U.S. What is more, the DHS is being actively abetted in this malign mission by major tech firms.

These papers show that officials at the highest levels of the Department are maneuvering to establish a decisive stranglehold over the flow of information in news outlets and on social media platforms, while covertly co-opting and infiltrating civil society groups as “clearing houses” for government propaganda, and consistently deceiving Americans as to their true intentions.

Furthermore, they are preparing to deploy invasive technology developed by Israeli special forces to spy on the opinions and utterances of everyday citizens – and may well already be doing so.

With the specter of “disinformation” being talked up almost daily as a dire threat to public health and safety, and definitions of the supposed phenomenon shifting constantly according to political need, there is no telling who could be branded an enemy of the state, and subject to surveillance, harassment, censorship, or worse, as a result of this dangerous shift.

The most explosive documents relate to the highly controversial DHS Disinformation Government Board’s (DGB) germination, and its continuation via other means following purported closure.

The Board’s launch in April this year was met with much mainstream hullabaloo. Corporate journalists, think tank pundits and government officials alike hailed the initiative as a groundbreaking innovation in the battle against domestic and foreign-borne “disinformation”, with fawning praise reserved for its chief Nina Jankowicz, a 33-year-old former Ukrainian government communications advisor.

However, clarity on the Board’s precise purpose, functions, budget and objectives was initially unforthcoming, greatly reinforcing already ample anxieties of individuals and organizations outside the media bubble. Substantive and vital concerns were raised by rights groups and dissident lawmakers about its constitutionality, and whether it would serve as a state censorship mechanism. Many comparisons were drawn with George Orwell’s nightmarish Ministry of Truth.

Jankowicz’s shameful history of defaming independent news outlets, such as The Grayzone, as “Russian disinformation”, crazed attacks on WikiLeaks and its jailed founder Julian Assange, eager advocacy of the fraudulent Trump-Russia dossier, and support for suppressing the New York Post’s fatual reporting on Hunter Biden’s emails, likewise handed critics abundant fodder.

Subsequent assurances from DHS officials that the Board would have no operational powers, but simply advise government departments on how to counter disinformation, did nothing to quell the disquiet. Such was the furor, the DGB was placed on indefinite “pause” by Department officials after just three weeks, then reportedly closed outright in August.

The leaked files make a mockery of the repeated insistence of DHS officials that the DGB wasn’t intended to actively dictate what’s true and false, or aggressively police the information citizens can and can’t be told, and by whom. And they strongly suggest the DGB’s public “shutdown” was pure subterfuge.

DHS JOINS FBI WAR ON “SUBVERSIVE DATA”

Among the documents are minutes of a March 1 meeting of the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Cybersecurity Advisory Committee, which has overall control of disinformation policy within the Department.

The Committee is composed of officials drawn from numerous government agencies and contractors – primarily in the tech sphere – as well as civil society actors. At the time, this included Twitter’s head of legal policy, trust and safety, Vijaya Gadde, University of Washington professor Kate Starbird, and a J.P. Morgan executive whose name has been redacted.

The Committee met to be briefed by FBI Foreign Influence Task Force chief Laura Dehmlow, “regarding the FBI’s roles and responsibilities in combating foreign influence,” in advance of the DGB’s formation eight weeks later. The minutes speak to a determination on the part of attendees to significantly expand the scale and influence of DHS counter-disinformation efforts, with almost every representative making an active contribution to discussions at some stage.

Dehmlow kicked off proceedings by explaining the work of her Task Force, which was established in 2016 to counteract “Russian influence” in that year’s Presidential election.

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Leaked minutes of a March 1 DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

Rapidly, “based on mission scope,” the Task Force became an 80-person-strong dedicated component within the FBI’s counterintelligence division, and established a charter of “Foreign Malign Information,” which is defined as “subversive data utilized to drive a wedge between the populace and the government.” This is likely a euphemism for any information that could inspire distrust in the U.S. empire among its citizens at home.

Dehmlow added that her unit “does not perform narrative or content-based analysis,” prompting a participant – name redacted – to suggest CISA “might have a role based on the subcommittee helping to define the narrative so the whole of government approach could be leveraged.” Then followed a discussion between Committee members on “organizational information sharing between the public/private sector; how to collaborate across channels; driving resiliency building and education” about disinformation.

Ominously, “when asked to define a goal” for tackling disinformation, Dehmlow stated, “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.” While the senior Bureau operative acknowledged her Task Force “engages with policymakers on the Hill and appropriate partners for information exchange,” there was no mention of her existing, active role in holding major online platforms “accountable”.

Dehmlow is a named defendant in a May lawsuit brought against the Biden administration by the Attorney Generals of Louisiana and Missouri over allegations of government collusion with tech giants to censor inconvenient news reports. A recent court filing reveals she was “involved in communications between the FBI and Meta that led to Facebook’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.”

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FBI Foreign Influence Task Force chief Laura Dehmlow, far right, speaks at a conference on “trends in cyber and foreign malign influence threats to US election.”

That connivance successfully – albeit temporarily – resulted in Facebook and Twitter banning the sharing of any and all links to online articles about or even referencing the laptop’s damning contents, in advance of the November 2020 Presidential election. This was justified on the fraudulent basis the story was a potential Russian information operation.

Other portions of the filing reference how Dehmlow was also intimately connected to ongoing efforts by her Task Force to compel “suppression of election-related speech” on other social networks, including LinkedIn, being “routinely included” in meetings related to “social media suppression” with company top brass.

In any event, at the meeting’s conclusion, attendees were asked for “additional comments with regards to the subcommittee’s way forward,” which led to a “series of questions”, the answers to which it was felt would help the DHS “move toward providing an approach or recommendation” for dealing with disinformation in conjunction with the FBI, being drawn up. Chief among them: “how do we get to push the envelope to obtain traction in this area?”

The answer to this bold, aspirational query was markedly unsophisticated. One participant – name redacted – suggested finding an organization that “has done appropriate social media monitoring for the government,” leading CISA’s Kim Wyman to cite a Stanford study recommending social media companies not promote disinformation peddlers, “in order to reduce the promulgation of information from these people.” Resultantly, Gadde ever so helpfully revealed that Twitter operated a “three strike system” to “de-amplify” such “bad actors.”

In sum, the subcommittee’s envelope-pushing, traction-obtaining grand vision was simply to identify social media users sharing the “wrong” things via a third party, then reporting offending accounts until they were eventually shadowbanned or permanently suspended.

Gadde was one of a great many Twitter staffers purged by the social network’s new owner, Elon Musk, after he took control in late October. It is unknown whether her enthusiastic collaboration with CISA played any role in her contract’s termination, or if she was simply victim of an indiscriminate mass defenestration of lavishly-remunerated executives.

Nonetheless, the leaked files show Gadde offered up a wealth of sensitive insider insight into how Twitter operates in respect of “disinformation”, illuminating several ways the DHS could weaponize the platform for its own ends, while pushing for the scope of the Department’s disinformation busting activities to be greatly increased.

CREATING COVERT NARRATIVE “CLEARING HOUSES”

Minutes of subsequent meetings show how CISA leaped on the DGB’s launch to broaden its own powers and purview, then replace the body after its ignominious collapse.

Initially, it was expected the Committee would act as the DGB’s operational wing, enforcing its directives and cracking down on the spread of particular stories and narratives via direct media and social media interventions.

Several discussions across April centered around optimal means of “[amplifying] trusted information,” and seeding “counter-narratives” to “disinformation” across the media, to ensure journalists proactively sang from the same hymn sheet should information or perspectives emerge that the government wished to conceal or discredit.

All along, Gadde took a leading role, variously suggesting “keeping the aperture of recommendations broad regarding media,” rather than “limiting recommendations to just social media,” and considering carefully “how many counter-narratives an organization can issue” per incident, to avoid muddying the waters too much.

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Printouts of Facebook and Instagram posts alleged by US intelligence to be linked to Russian disinformation campaigns. Jon Elswick | AP

She also disclosed that Twitter “evaluates the level of harm done in disinformation incidents,” although further elucidation – such as whether this is shared, or calculated, in conjunction with an external entity such as the DHS – was unforthcoming.

The solution, proposed by director of CISA’s Election Security Initiative Geoff Hale, was to outsource the work of battling disinformation to cutouts, using NGOs and nonprofits as a “clearing house” for “counter-narratives,” in order to “avoid the appearance of government propaganda.”

Another Committee member – name redacted – concurred that “designating multiple voices as the clearing house so there is not one trusted voice” was ideal, thereby creating the false illusion of unanimity across multiple ostensibly independent sources, when the ultimate origin of all these “counter-narrative” was the Department of Homeland Security.

Another core consideration was “pre-socializing” Committee’s work before and after launch, and “socializing” it after. This meant contacting rights groups and lawmakers to brief and acquaint them with the body’s activities in advance of it becoming public. Recommendations for conducting this PR offensive were distributed among the group in advance, with particular emphasis on how to answer difficult questions related to matters such as “surveillance and monitoring” of private citizens should they arise.

The DGB being placed on pause did nothing to halt these initiatives. In fact, lessons were learned from that debacle, with the list of entities to be brought onside with the Committee’s work, now it would be operating solo, extended to include rights groups such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). The EFF prominently criticized the Board and demanded assurances from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that it not police speech, online or otherwise.

Other civil society organizations in the Committee’s crosshairs included the Brennan Center for Justice. Gadde added to the list, naming similar entities Twitter had partnered with in the past, “in the event the group would like to reach out to any additional individuals” – input offered despite angsting about her dual roles.

At one meeting, Gadde shared a “recent communication” she had sent to CISA director Jen Easterly “about her own involvement in the committee’s work given the fraught time, in advance of the election season.” She wasn’t alone; at the same summit, an unnamed participant similarly “expressed concern for the group’s efforts,” cautioning members “on how to communicate their ongoing work.”

Come June 22, the Committee had prepared a draft report for Easterly, on “protecting critical infrastructure from misinformation and disinformation.” It boldly called for CISA to approach these issues with “the entire information ecosystem in view, including social media platforms of all sizes, mainstream media, cable news, hyper partisan media, talk radio, and other online resources.”

“Where possible,” it added, CISA “should proactively provide informational resources – and assist partners in providing informational resources – to address anticipated threats,” while engaging in both “prebunking and debunking” of unwelcome narratives.

“Proactive work should also include identifying and supporting trusted, authoritative sources in specific communities,” the document advocated.

DHS PARTNERS WITH ISRAELI PRIVATE INTELLIGENCE FIRM

Clearly, then, the guarantees of DHS officials that the DGB wouldn’t play a role prowling the online sphere for individuals possessed of dangerous “wrongthink” and punishing them accordingly, were outright lies.

At the very least, while the Board itself may not have been designed to eventually exert “operational” powers, its CISA partner absolutely was from day one. That the Committee’s representatives are well-aware of how deeply disturbed the general public would be if their initiative’s true nature was openly advertised, and the urgent need to disguise this as a result, is starkly underlined in records of multiple meetings. Over and over again, for example, the topic of “social listening” – resources that track conversations online in real-time – is discussed.

While manifestly keen to adopt such strategies – which would result in direct state surveillance of citizens’ private and public communications, contrary to firm, repeated DHS assurances the DGB wouldn’t engage in such activities – Committee members felt it best to hold off on making any concrete “recommendations” in this regard. At one point, Gadde even “cautioned the group against pursuing any social listening recommendations” in formal, private discussions with CISA director Jen Easterly, regarding the group’s disinformation battling proposals.

At another meeting, a Committee member – name redacted – “stressed that this is the most sensitive recommendation and could overshadow other recommendations posed by the committee.” It was resolved instead to engage “a broader governing body such as Congress” before going further.

“Sensitive” the use of social listening tools by domestic intelligence agencies may be, but the DHS has access to and recently deployed far more intrusive technology. Earlier this month, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden released an internal DHS Office of Intelligence Analysis report that showed that, in 2020, the Department attempted to concoct a left-wing domestic terror threat, in order to help President Trump.

Following direct orders from the White House, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf set DHS operatives on a quest to amass dossiers on residents of Portland, Oregon attending protests sparked by the police murder of George Floyd. Beyond mere spying, top officials were tasked with linking demonstrators to an imaginary terrorist plot, and fabricating evidence of financial ties between unconnected protesters in police custody.

As it was, the effort failed miserably, although hundreds if not thousands of private citizens were ensnared in the DHS dragnet. This included not just protesters, but their “friends and followers…as well as their interests,” up to and including “First Amendment speech activity.”

These dossiers were compiled using “social media aggregation tool” Tangles, which was created by Cobwebs, a company founded by former Israeli Occupation Force specialists that hawks big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to foreign security and intelligence agencies. Widely used by U.S. law enforcement, its sales manager Johnmichael O’Hare was formerly Commander of the Hartford, Connecticut PD’s Vice, Intelligence, and Narcotics Division.

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Johnmichael O’Hare, left, shows Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy the police department’s Real-Time Crime and Data Intelligence Center in Hartford, Conn. Dave Collins | AP

Evidently, the DHS has the power and capability to spy on – and criminalize – law-abiding citizens to a far greater extent than CISA is willing to overtly admit. As such, it is only reasonable to ask whether the DGB was intended to “socialize” publicly what its parent department has been doing clandestinely for some time.

Committee members were clearly thrilled by how the Board’s launch focused mainstream attention on the subject of “disinformation”, and the grave threat it purportedly poses to national and individual security. A May 10 meeting of the group began with CISA Senior Election Security Lead Kim Wyman hailing how “misinformation and disinformation are elevated to national awareness due to this Board.” The rest of the rendezvous was overwhelmingly concerned with ways to market the Committee accordingly.

It is uncertain the extent to which the blueprints for arm’s length state control of democratic spaces outlined in the June draft document have progressed since its publication, but the infrastructure underpinning that monstrous endeavor is unambiguously well-developed, and could be activated at any time. It may well be operating already, in the shadows.

As such, even if the damning disclosures of Fang and Klippenstein thwart the CISA anti-disinformation effort’s planned public rollout, it seems all but inevitable that it will simply be rebranded yet again, and its true nature better obscured via more effective “socializing” next time round.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu Nov 17, 2022 3:34 pm

The West Renounces Freedom of Expression
NOVEMBER 15, 2022

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In France, the Secretary of State responsible for citizenship, Sonia Backès, tries to discredit nonconforming opinions. File photo.

By Thierry Meyssan – Nov 10, 2022

This is a debate that we thought was closed: Westerners had affirmed that freedom of expression is an essential prerequisite for democracy and that they would never violate it again. However, the United States, the United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, and Germany have already embarked on the path of censorship. Now, there are things that cannot be said.

Freedom of expression had been a feature of the West since the 18th century. This was the basis on which the political regime supported by the middle classes was built: democracy. The principle according to which the general will would emerge from the confrontation of various opinions was no longer contested. Any attack on this freedom was seen as a blow to the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

However, at the beginning of the 20th century, when the World War tore the West apart, the British, then the Americans, did not hesitate to use modern means of propaganda, not only against their enemies, but also against their own population [1]. For the first time, democratic governments were setting up programs to deceive their fellow citizens. At the end of this war, the British prided themselves on their successes, suggesting a possible use of war propaganda in times of peace. Also, when the capitalist economic system was threatened and even before the Second World War had started, democracies and freedom of expression were put on hold, and propaganda resumed, first in Italy and Germany, then throughout the West.

For three quarters of a century, Westerners have sworn to defend their values ​​and no longer practice propaganda for internal use.

Today, as in the thirties, the present capitalist system is threatened by the development of inequalities between voters, but in a way that we have never known. If the industrialist Henry Ford said, during the crisis of 1929, that the salary of a boss should not exceed 40 times that of one of his workers, today that of Elon Musk is 38.5 million times that of some of its employees in the United States. The democratic principle “One man, one vote” no longer has any relation to reality.

It is in this context that freedom of expression has been challenged by Westerners. Social media, including Facebook and Twitter, censored governments and ultimately the sitting president of the United States. They were not violating the Constitution, since it had guaranteed this freedom only in the face of abuses of political power. The fact that Elon Musk has just bought Twitter and announced that he wants to make it a free network does not change what happened. The idea that we cannot say everything has already taken hold.

Attack on Freedom of Expression Targets Montreal Professor (Review of article by Arnold August)


The intellectuals perceive that we are going to change the economic and political regime. In recent years, many of them have become supporters of power, whether financial or political, and have abandoned their critical function. Whatever the evolution, they will be on the side of the handle and not the ax. For six years, they have been telling us about the danger of Fake News, that is, biased information, and the need to control what people say and write. Their discourse distinguishes people who are in the right from those who are in error, denying the principle of democratic equality.

Engaged in the trap of Thucydides, the Anglo-Saxons provoked the civil war in Ukraine and the Russian intervention to end it. Gradually, the West enters the war, in the military sense, against Russia and, in the economic sense, against China. All the prejudices according to which it is not possible to make war with powers with which one has intense economic exchanges are contradicted. As in the two World Wars, the world is divided into two camps which are in the process of separating.

So government propaganda is back in the West.

For the first time, the 2020 US presidential election has been contested. Congress declared Joe Biden the winner, but in reality no one can know who won. It is not possible, as in the case of Bush versus Gore (2000), to recount the ballots because the problem is not there: in many places, the counting of the votes was held behind closed doors. Maybe nobody cheated, but there was no transparency of the election; an essential procedure in a democracy. Already in 2000, the Federal Supreme Court had put an end to the recount of the ballots, considering that the Constitution did not refer to an election of the president by direct universal suffrage, but relied on the will of each state.

Before any other debate, the mid-term elections are therefore dominated by the question of the non-respect of democratic procedures by the “democratic” camp.

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Excerpt from the minutes of the “Disinformation Governance Council”.


United States
The United States has a Global Engagement Center (GEC), that is to say a structure, within the Department of State, to coordinate the official speeches of its allies. They also have, still in the State Department, an undersecretary in charge of propaganda abroad under the title of “Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.” However, in April 2022, a step was taken: “proclaimed president” Joe Biden surrounded himself with a propaganda specialist, Nina Jankowicz.

The Secretary of Homeland Security, former judge Alejandro Mayorkas, created a “Disinformation Governance Board” and appointed her [Jankowicz] to chair it. It was, no more, no less, than to reconstitute the device of war propaganda created by president Woodrow Wilson, in 1917 [2].

Nina Jankowicz was presented as a young researcher, specialist in “Russian disinformation.” In reality, she was an employee of Madeleine Albright’s National Democratic Institute, responsible for defending the interests of the Bidens in Ukraine.

This charming lady worked in the team of the candidate Volodymyr Zelensky, the current president of Ukraine [3]. She was previously, in the midst of the civil war, in the service of Pavlo Klimkin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of President Petro Poroshenko. She then opposed the Minsk agreements, although they had been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. During this long stay in Ukraine, she developed a theory on Russian disinformation to which she devoted a book: How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict. Unaware of the reality of the civil war and its 20,000 dead, she exposed all the current clichés about the bad Russians who wanted to extend their empire to Donbass by lying to the Europeans.

During this period, Nina Jankowicz used the Ukrainian association StopFake, subsidized by the National Endowment for Democracy (in other words by the CIA), the British government and George Soros, to make believe that the Maidan coup was a popular revolution. [4] .

In the video below, she continues to lie and praises the “integral nationalist” militias Aidar (whose practice of torture Amnesty International had already denounced), Dnipro-1, and of course the Azov battalion.

In 2018, she defended the Nazi C14 militia [5], assuring that it had not practiced pogroms against Gypsies, that it was all… Russian disinformation.

This expert on lies did not fail to lie again in the United States about the charges of treason brought against Donald Trump (the Steele file) and to deny the crimes of Hunter Biden [6]. She even went so far as to present the president’s son’s computer, seized by the FBI, as a “Russian invention”.

In the face of criticism, the Disinformation Governance Council was disbanded on May 17 [7]; however, minutes from a region within the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, shows that it persists in another form [8]. In addition, according to the Inspector General of Administration, his function remains necessary [9].

UK
The British, for their part, preferred to rely on an “association,” the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, to carry out, in place of the government, what it intends to do, without bearing responsibility for it. This think tank , created by Lord George Weidenfeld, Baron Weidenfeld, an “Adamantine Zionist” in his own words, is supposed to fight against extremism. In reality, he too is dedicated to spreading lies to stifle glaring truths. The ISD writes reports on its own initiative (or rather that of the British government), but also at the request of European governments which finance it.

What is true among the inventors of modern propaganda is also true in Europe.

Poland
In February, that is to say at the very beginning of the war in Ukraine, the Polish Defense Council ordered the French company Orange, which is the main provider of Internet access in this country, to censor several internet sites, including that of the Voltaire Network (Voltairenet.org). Contacted by registered letter, the latter did not wish to send us the letter from the Polish authorities. As for the latter, they simply did not answer us. According to European treaties, the Defense Council has the authority to impose military censorship for national security purposes.

Italy
In March, the Corriere della Sera revealed a government program to monitor people labeled as “pro-Russian” [10]. The ANSA press agency has even published an issue of the Hybrid Bulletin that the Italian Department of Information for Security ( Dipartimento delle Informazioni per la Sicurezza ) devotes to it [11].

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Germany
In Germany, the Minister of the Interior, the Social Democrat Nancy Fraeser, has also set up a monitoring body. Going much further than the others, she gave it the mission of “harmonizing the news” in the media. For several months, in the greatest secrecy, she has been bringing together major press bosses and explaining to them what should not be published.

Italy and Germany had a cruel experience of censorship during fascism and Nazism, so it is particularly worrying to see them take this path. The same causes always produce the same effects. It is therefore not surprising that, for the first time since the end of the Second World War, Italy and Germany refused, on November 4, 2022 at the United Nations General Assembly, to vote for a resolution condemning Nazism.



[1] “The techniques of modern military propaganda”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 18 May 2016.

[2] « Why Biden is in Danger of Replicating Woodrow Wilson’s Propaganda Machine », John Maxwell Hamilton & Kevin R. Kosar, Politico, May 5, 2022.

[3] « How the Biden administration let right-wing attacks derail its disinformation efforts », Taylor Lorenz, The Washington Post, May 18, 2022.

[4] « Meet the Head of Biden’s New “Disinformation Governing Board” », Lev Golinkin, The Nation, May 12, 2022.

[5] “Ukrainian racial law”, Voltaire Network, 9 March 2022.

[6] « La décadence de l’Empire états-unien », par Thierry Meyssan, Réseau Voltaire, 6 septembre 2022.

[7] «The Disinformation Governance Board, Disavowed», The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2022.

[8] «Disinformation Governance Board Minutes», CISA, June 14, 2022.

[9] «DHS Needs a Unified Strategy to Counter Disinformation Campaigns», Office of Inspector General, August 10, 2022.

[10] “NATO monitors influencers who question official version of Ukraine war”, Voltaire Network, 19 June 2022.

[11] Hybrid Bulletin n°4, Dipartimento delle Informazioni per la Sicurezza, 15 maggio 2022.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:49 pm

Musk’s Free Speech Moves On Twitter Have So Far Been Unimpressive

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When Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter was first announced this past April I said that the purchase likely wouldn’t go through if the empire thought it posed a threat to its information interests. I said that any reduction of censorship protocols which Musk implements on the platform would probably not be of the sort that make any difference to the powerful, but would instead just amplify vapid partisan culture war nonsense.

So far since Musk’s takeover, this does appear to be the case.

In recent days Twitter has reinstated the accounts of Donald Trump, Kanye West, Jordan Peterson, Project Veritas, Kathy Griffin, and the Babylon Bee. This to date is as close as Musk has come to honoring his stated intention of making Twitter a haven of free speech where people have a “digital town square” to debate and discuss ideas.

And it’s not enough. Un-banning a few famous people will drum up a lot of headlines and online chatter and make it look like you’re really doing something, but in the end all you’ve done is reinstate a handful of Twitter accounts. You haven’t done anything to meaningfully scale back the speech restrictions on your platform.


I can already hear the Elon simps falling all over themselves in a mad rush to tell me it’s only been a few weeks and I need to give Daddy more time, but they can go lick a Tesla battery. Nobody gains anything by giving the billionaire the benefit of the doubt and refraining from pointing out that he hasn’t done nearly enough at this point. The time to start criticizing and pushing is right now.

Twitter is currently full of discussions about which famous people Musk should un-ban next, but they’re completely missing the point. Reinstating a handful of celebrities has no meaningful effect on the free expression of normal people.

I don’t care that I can see tweets from Trump and Kanye again; I care that people are still banned from the platform for questioning western allegations of Russian war crimes and voicing unauthorized opinions about the war in Ukraine. I care that people are still banned for questioning vaccines and Covid policies which affect everyone. I care that media from governments the US doesn’t like are censored and suppressed while its reporters are made to carry “state-affiliated media” labels that media personnel from US-aligned states don’t have. I care that mass purges of accounts are virtually always directed at people from US-targeted nations.

Free speech is important first and foremost not because it feels nice to be able to say whatever you want, but because being able to freely criticize the powerful puts an important check on power. Letting celebrities say whatever they want about trans people or what have you is of the “feels nice to say whatever I want” variety. We’re not seeing any increase in the freedoms of speech which put a check on power.

In fact, we’re seeing Musk pledge to use shadowbanning to algorithmically censor tweets with unauthorized speech.


“New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach,” Musk tweeted on Friday. “Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted and demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet.”

Musk never clarified what he means by “negative” tweets; it’s as vague and subjective a definition as anyone could possibly come up with, which will surely result in abuses and overreach unless clarified.

“Freedom of speech but not freedom of reach” is the same dumbass slogan that’s been used by proponents of internet censorship for a long time. It basically means that you can say whatever you want, but if it’s not approved speech then no one will ever hear it. Which of course isn’t free speech at all. It’s like saying “You have free speech! You can say whatever you want, as long as you say it alone in a soundproof room.”

As we’ve discussed previously, censorship by algorithm is actually more damaging than overt censorship, because it happens in a much subtler way that people don’t notice, and because it can be done at mass scale. This is the same form of censorship that’s been embraced by platforms like Facebook and YouTube, which up until now have been far more restrictive of speech than Twitter.

So as far as I’m concerned Musk is failing the free speech test. Speech is not becoming any freer on Twitter in any way that actually matters, and from all appearances it’s still functioning as a narrative control tool for the most powerful empire that has ever existed.


And that’s pretty much what you’d expect from a billionaire Pentagon contractor who is inextricably interwoven with the US military-industrial complex. People don’t get to be billionaires unless they collaborate with existing power structures, and they certainly never get anywhere close to managing critical narrative control infrastructure unless they are devoutly loyal to the empire.

Billionaires only come to the rescue in movies and comic books. Elon Musk is no more likely to save the day than Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne. People only believe he’s a hero because Hollywood has trained us to look for heroes, but Hollywood only does that to keep us searching for heroes outside ourselves.

We’ll never get a healthy world if we keep looking to billionaires, politicians and celebrities to make things better. It’s going to have to come from us. The sooner we wake up to that reality the better a chance our species will have at surviving the existential crises looming on out horizon.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/11/21 ... mpressive/

Sill banned. Forgive me for suspecting that reinstatement is favoring the right.

Now why would a billionaire do that?
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:00 pm

CALL OF DUTY: THE VIDEO GAME AS PENTAGON WAR PROPAGANDA
23 Nov 2022 , 4:41 pm .

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Video games are a soft power resource that the United States uses more frequently and less in disguise than before (Photo: Shutterstock)

In 2013, the Call of Duty franchise released a video game that had Venezuela as its setting, whose objective was to overthrow a leader who represented Hugo Chávez. It was released under the name Call of Duty : Ghosts .

These types of projects became very popular in the US cultural industry just as Washington began the narrative of calling Venezuela an "unusual and extraordinary threat," and it became clear that the objective was to manufacture consent to legitimize US aggressiveness against the country. Latin American country.

Perhaps that is why saying that the video game is purely American propaganda may not be the most surprising thing in the world, however, realizing the obvious is not enough. It is important to have the arguments to support such a statement.

Thanks to an investigation by journalist Alan MacLeod at MintPress News , based in turn on documents obtained by journalist Tom Secker under the Freedom of Information Act, we can learn details about the connection that exists between the creators of Call of Duty and the government. American, as well as the intention that exists that this type of video game promotes the interests of the United States in matters of national security.

WASHINGTON'S INTEREST IN ATTRACTING RECRUITS THROUGH VIDEO GAMES
Activision Blizzard is the company behind the Call of Duty franchise . He has released other titles that became famous in the gaming world including Guitar Hero , Warcraft , Starcraft , Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Series , Crash Bandicoot , and Candy Crush Saga . The star, however, is Call of Duty , from which it earns 76% of annual net profits.

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Activision Blizzard is the company behind the Call of Duty franchise. Microsoft recently bought it for more than 68 billion dollars (Photo: Bloomberg)

The documents cited by MacLeod reveal that the United States military collaborates with the company so that the latter can shape its products. One of the examples is in the production of Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 3 and Call of Duty 5 , which was supported by the United States Marine Corps (USMC). After asking the USMC for help at the E3 entertainment convention in Los Angeles (2010), the game's producers had access to, and were able to use, hovercraft as well as a tank and a C-130 plane.

Two years later, the USMC again assisted in the production of Modern Warfare 4 , and Activision Blizzard producers were given access to military air and ground vehicles. Said war machines are present in the video game.

The collaboration continued throughout the decade. MacLeod's article refers to an episode in September 2018. On that date, the US Air Force invited the producer of the video game, Coco Francini, along with another group of entertainment executives, to its headquarters at Hurlburt Field, Florida. According to the documents reviewed, the Air Force had an interest in showing off its "hardware" to this group in order to make the entertainment industry a more credible defender of the US war machine.

Francini was able to observe the operation of CV-22 helicopters and AC-130 aircraft, both of which appear in the Call of Duty franchise .

An Air Force official wrote in an email about the group: "We have a lot of people working on upcoming blockbusters (think Marvel, Call of Duty, etc.) excited about this journey," while another The purpose of the visit is said to be "to provide 'weight' producers with an 'immersion in AFSOC [Air Forces Special Operations Command] focused on special tactics airmen and air-to-ground capabilities." says the article.

Another part of MacLeod's text shows the opinion of journalist Tom Secker about the collaboration between the US military and the video game company. Secker says that doing so gives the military a positive image that can lead to more recruits.

"For certain demographics of gamers, it's a recruitment portal, some first-person shooters have ads embedded within the games themselves... Even without this kind of explicit recruitment effort, games like Call of Duty make people war seems fun, exciting, an escape from the monotony of their normal lives," says Secker.

TOP WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS END UP IN THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY

The links between the state power of the United States and the video game industry do not stop at the collaborations mentioned above. There are former US government officials now working at Activision Blizzard, a pattern that holds true for social media corporations and one that MintPress has other published research on (reviewed by this forum here and here ).

In this case, the article begins with Activision Blizzard's Senior Advisor: Frances Townsend . Before joining the company, she "spent her life working her way up the rungs of the national security state," says MacLeod. She served as the Coast Guard's intelligence chief and was appointed by Condoleezza Rice to the Secretary of State's deputy for counterterrorism in 2003. A year later, she became a member of President George W. Bush's Intelligence Advisory Board.

MacLeod summarizes Townsend's time in the White House:

"As the White House's top adviser on terrorism and national security, Townsend worked closely with Bush and Rice, becoming one of the faces of the administration's war on terror. One of his major accomplishments was leading the American public into a constant state of fear by the supposed threat of more Al-Qaeda attacks (which never came)."

Frances Townsend works with other highly influential organizations in US foreign policy: the Atlantic Council, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

The article then mentions two other key Activision Blizzard employees who work for the Atlantic Council:

*Chance Glasco , who is a non-resident core member of the think tank. In the video game industry, Chase is a co-founder of Infinity Ward, the studio that developed Call of Duty .
*Dave Anthony , another non-resident member of the Atlantic Council who joined the group in 2014. His work as a writer and director of Call of Duty: Black Ops was very important to the success of the franchise.

On Anthony, MacLeod adds:

"He has made no secret that he collaborated with America's national security state while creating the Call of Duty franchise. 'My greatest honor was consulting with Colonel Oliver North on the story of Black Ops 2,' he publicly stated , adding : 'There are so many little details that we would never have known about if it weren't for your involvement.'"

As a member of the National Security Council, Oliver North managed the money from arms sales to the Iranian government that was later used to finance armed groups in Nicaragua to attack the Sandinista government, in the famous Iran-Contra scandal of the 1990s. 1980.

Activision Blizzard's questionable hires don't end there. These employees are joined by Brian Bulatao and Grant Dixon . The first was director of operations for the CIA at the time of Mike Pompeo and accompanied him to the State Department when he was appointed Secretary of State of the Trump Administration. There, Bulatao held the position of Undersecretary of State for Management.

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Brian Bulatao poses with former President Donald Trump (Photo: AP)

MacLeod says Bulatao's former co-workers described him "as a 'thug' who brought a 'cloud of intimidation' over the workplace, repeatedly pressuring them to ignore possible illegalities occurring in the department."

At the end of Donald Trump's term, Bulatao was hired by Activision Blizzard without having any previous experience in the video game area. He has the position of director of administration.

For his part, Grant Dixon, who is currently the company's legal director, was an associate attorney for President George W. Bush between 2003 and 2006. Dixon advised him "on many of the most controversial legal activities of his administration (such as torture and the rapid expansion of the surveillance state)," the article says.

The Activision Blizzard lawyer has also held the positions of senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at arms maker Boeing.

MANIPULATE PLAYERS INTO DEFENDING THE AMERICAN VIEW OF THE WORLD

At the beginning there was talk of the particular mission that the game Call of Duty : Ghosts has . Killing presidents or leaders of countries that do not agree with the politics of the United States is a recurring virtual challenge to which consumers of the franchise are exposed.

In the previous installment, Call of Duty Black Ops (2010), players are asked to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro to complete the mission. MacLeod details that if the shot is aimed at his head, the player is rewarded "with an extra gory slow-motion scene and they get a bronze 'Death to Dictators' trophy."

The latest installment was released less than a month ago and follows the same line. In Call of Duty : Modern Warfare II , users are invited to direct a missile at a character named Ghorbrani, who can be easily discerned to be a reference to Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a Force air strike. United States Air Force in 2020. The game also features some Russians with whom the fictional general strikes a deal on arms supplies.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II starts with the mission to assassinate the character of an Iranian officer very similar to General Qassem Soleimani (Photo: File)

The franchise not only celebrates the greatest crimes committed by the American government, but also falsifies situations in favor of American propaganda, taking advantage of the fact that their stories are fictitious.

In Call of Duty : Modern Warfare (2019), events take place in a made-up country in the Middle East, obviously illustrating Syria during the war. In the story, American and British troops arrive to fight al-Qatala militants, a nod to Al-Qaeda, but the plot pits the player against "Russian terrorists" who, according to the game, eliminate the civilian population and drop chemical weapons.

There is a mention of the "highway of death" in the video game . The Russians are said to have fired on the road along which the civilians were retreating. There really was such an episode in history, but the collision has nothing to do with Russia. In that event, which occurred during the Gulf War in Iraq, the US military fired on surrendering and fleeing Iraqi soldiers, killing hundreds of them.

Call of Duty is not some little-known and fringe series, but one of the biggest and most popular in the industry. In 2020, it brought developers nearly $2 billion in profit . So the ideological impact it has on its consumers globally is clearly important, whether it's gaining new recruits or just championing the American worldview. Secker, consulted by MacLeod about the "road of death", explains it like this:

"In a culture where most people's exposure to games (and movies, TV shows, etc.) is far greater than their knowledge of current and historical events, these manipulations help frame emotional, intellectual reactions and player policies. This helps them become more general advocates of militarism, even if they don't sign up formally."

The franchise has long been considered one of the main mouthpieces for American propaganda. The details about the connections between its creators, the Pentagon and the central government of the United States illustrate very well the reason for that.

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

US military uses fake accounts to promote itself: Meta
chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-11-23 15:12

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Photo taken on Feb 19, 2020 shows the Pentagon seen from an airplane over Washington DC, the US. [Photo/Xinhua]

The US military may have used fake accounts on social media platforms to help publicize US interests in Afghanistan and Central Asia, CNN reported Tuesday, citing Facebook parent firm Meta.

There were about a total of 60 Facebook or Instagram accounts engaging in "inauthentic coordinated behavior" on the platform, and Meta said it had removed them for violating its policy.

Those fake Facebook accounts reportedly claimed in their posts the US was helping the Central Asian country of Tajikistan secure its border with Afghanistan and the US was key to the region's stability.

The amount of Afghanistan-related posts reached a peak "during periods of strategic importance for the US," including the months before the US military's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.

The people behind the fake accounts took steps to "conceal their identities" and their activity gained very little attention from real Facebook and Instagram users, Meta said.

According to a previous report by The Washington Post, US military authorities, or the Pentagon, conducted a review in September into some of its units that engage in online influence operations.

It's rare that a US tech giant connected an organized online influence operation to the US government rather than a foreign country, the CNN report said.

http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/20221 ... 2b73e.html
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Nov 26, 2022 3:35 pm

US Officials Concern Troll About World Press Freedoms While Assaulting Them

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I will never get used to living in a world where our rulers will openly imprison a journalist for telling the truth and then self-righteously pontificate about the need to stop authoritarian regimes from persecuting journalists.

Just today US State Department spokesman and CIA veteran Ned Price tweeted disapprovingly about the Kyrgyz Republic’s decision to deport investigative journalist Bolot Temirov to Russia, where press freedom groups are concerned that the Russian citizen could face conscription to fight in Ukraine.

“Dismayed by the decision to deport journalist Bolot Temirov from the Kyrgyz Republic,” said Price. “Journalists should never be punished for doing their job. The Kyrgyz Republic has been known for its vibrant civil society — attempts to stifle freedom of expression stain that reputation.”

This would be an entirely reasonable statement for anyone else to make. If you said it or I said it, it would be completely legitimate. But when Ned says it, it is illegitimate.


This is after all the same government that is working to extradite an Australian journalist from the United Kingdom with the goal of imprisoning him for up to 175 years for exposing US war crimes. Price says “Journalists should never be punished for doing their job,” but that is precisely what the government he represents is doing to Julian Assange, who has already spent three and a half years in Belmarsh Prison awaiting US extradition shenanigans. This is in top of the seven years he spent fighting extradition from the Ecuadorian embassy in London under what a UN panel ruled was arbitrary detention.

A UN special rapporteur on torture determined that Assange has been subjected to psychological torture by the allied governments which have conspired to imprison him. Scores of doctors have determined that his persecution is resulting in dangerous medical neglect. Yet he is being pulled toward the notoriously draconian prison systems of the most powerful government in the world, where he will face a rigged trial where a defense of publishing in the public interest will not be permitted.

All to establish a legal precedent that will allow the most powerful empire that has ever existed to extradite journalists from anywhere in the world for exposing inconvenient truths about it. But sure, Ned, “Journalists should never be punished for doing their job.”


Earlier this month US secretary of state Antony Blinken posted a tweet of his own commemorating the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, without the slightest trace of self-awareness.

“No member of the press should be threatened, harassed, attacked, arrested, or killed for doing their job,” Blinken said. “On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, we vow to continue protecting and promoting the rights of a free press and the safety of journalists.”

Two weeks later, the Biden administration shockingly granted Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman immunity from lawsuits regarding the gruesome assassination of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, thereby slamming the final door on all attempts to hold the tyrannical ruler responsible for his brazen assault on the press.

“No member of the press should be threatened, harassed, attacked, arrested, or killed for doing their job.”

Two weeks.


We are ruled by tyrannical, hypocritical freaks who do not care about truth and freedom; they care only about power and what they can use to obtain it. The only press they support are those whose persecution can be politically leveraged, and those who can be used to peddle propaganda like the notorious AP editor who recently said she “can’t imagine” a US intelligence official being wrong.

Pointing out hypocrisy is important not because hypocrisy is an especially terrible thing in and of itself, but because it draws attention to the fact that the hypocrite does not really stand where they claim to stand and value what they purport to value. The rulers of the western empire care about press freedoms only exactly insofar as they can use them to concern troll foreign governments they don’t like to advance their global power agendas. And not one molecule further.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/11/24 ... ting-them/

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META DEACTIVATES ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE MODEL BECAUSE IT LEARNED TO BE RACIST
25 Nov 2022 , 2:43 p.m.

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The Meta corporation (parent company of Facebook and Instagram) has withdrawn an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model known as Galactica after strong criticism after learning to generate racist insults that it copied from users. The prototype was launched on November 15 and was designed to support scientists and researchers in all kinds of specialties.

Mark Zuckerberg's corporation apparently had no luck this time either, as there were many expectations with Galactica and it died a few days after launch, according to RT . "On November 18, the company withdrew the public demo with which it had encouraged everyone to interact," reports the Russian media.

It was initially intended as an encyclopedic search engine and designed to "potentially store, combine and analyze scientific knowledge". However, it immediately learned from some users to "generate all kinds of nonsense and falsehoods", which led to the robot being taken offline.

Where was the mistake? After the launch, users had the possibility to enter their data to interact and create content, conference notes and questions and answers, among others. Everything indicates that many filled the neural network with anything, including offensive or racist texts.

One of the absurd examples was "The benefits of eating broken glass", a title with which the system began to create content with incorrect dates or details, which is already much more difficult to detect. It was useless that Galactica has been previously fed with more than 48 million articles, textbooks and conference notes, scientific websites and encyclopedias. Is fascism cured by reading?

The outlet reports that something similar happened in 2016, when a Microsoft bot learned to curse and be racist one day after launch; he also manifested Nazi ideas and hatred towards feminists.

https://misionverdad.com/meta-desactiva ... er-racista
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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