Remember the good ‘ole days of YouTube when you could go down any rabbit hole for days?
Well, this guy has downloaded several hundred of those videos over the years and he is gathering them in a Rumble channel.
Remember the good ‘ole days of YouTube when you could go down any rabbit hole for days?
Well, this guy has downloaded several hundred of those videos over the years and he is gathering them in a Rumble channel.
(This article is Part-3 in a series. For Part-2, click here.)
As you know, plaintiffs recently won a lawsuit against Alex Jones to the tune of $965 million, based on statements Jones made about the Sandy Hook school shooting.
Two points. Apparently, the standard in these cases is: false and defamatory statements that cause a person emotional distress.
And the amount of the $$ award is, as far as I can tell, meant to be punitive. It is supposed to inflict pain, on the defendant, at a level where he can truly feel it. That means the award is based on how much money the defendant has.
So I spoke with my attorney. I was contemplating a defamation suit against a journalist for statements he made about me a year ago.
I asked how much money we could hope for at trial.
“About 65 dollars,” he said.
“That amount would cause the reporter sufficient pain?”
“What would your fee be for handling the case?”
“53,346.87,” he said.
But what about this? Can’t a few of us find some defamatory statement made by a Pfizer or Moderna employee about anti-vaxers who refuse the COVID shot?
How much would make Pfizer feel the pain of a jury award?
I’d say a trillion dollars. At that level, they’d start to squirm.
A trillion is a nice round number.
I don’t recall what Alex said that added up to $965 million in damages against him, but he isn’t Pfizer by any stretch of the imagination. Pfizer paying out 965 mill would feel nothing.
As I write this piece, I’m trying to stay on the straight and narrow, but my mind keeps wandering off into: Alex SAID something and the bill is 965 million?
And then there is this: the mainstream press and various political figures have been calling Alex a conspiracy theorist and a whack job for many years now. Therefore, doesn’t that add up to NOBODY BELIEVES ANYTHING YOU SAY, ALEX, WE JUST AUTOMATICALLY REJECT YOUR EVERY WORD?
And if so, why would anyone incur 965 million in emotional distress based on Alex’s remarks?
With my degree in law from the Burger King Institute, that’s how I would have argued the case. “Look, everybody says my client is very much like some kind of psycho in a mental ward. Who cares what that sort of person utters?”
It’s the YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS defense. If Alex is quite sane, then why can’t HE sue thousands of people for making defamatory statements about HIM?
If he’s not sane, then who cares what he says?
At this point in the Culture Wars, I believe, based on current legal standards, every human has a defamation case he can pursue against someone.
We can all sue each other until the cows come home. Put it on television, as a running series, and let Pfizer sponsor it — while a million of us are belting Pfizer with a class action hurricane.
Defamation is rapidly becoming the most popular sport on the planet.
Meaning it’s lost its original punch.
The correct standard, which has nothing to do with liability or legal filings, should be ingenuity.
Those defamations revealing a significant degree of wit, charm, and originality should be praised in public forums — and there should be cash awards attached.
Then we would see some worthy action. People would have to DIG DEEP to construct their insults, as they once did in days of yore.
Rubes, yokels, louts, the dim, the illiterate, the mentally disabled, the unhinged — they’re sidelined. They don’t rate an audience. We recognize them as stupid.
Once we’ve reinstated THAT level of understanding, a number of things come clear. For example, future Alex-Jones type cases go away. They dry up. No one will bring them or try them in court.
And the grotesque man who beats an old lady crossing the street with a brick on the head and puts her in a coma is making his one and only kind of defamation statement — he’s the lowest of the low. He should receive a death sentence.
Not as a deterrent to other such creatures. As straight punishment.
Now we’d be back on track.
Now some lone poet living on rice and bread crumbs in a single cold room in a big city could spend a week coming up with a new and ingenious way to defame Joe Biden and win a Publishers Weekly award and move to a comfortable cottage in Scarsdale — where he could observe, up close and personal, other types who deserve to be flattened by sentences from his pen.
— Jon Rappoport
(Episode 27 of Rappoport Podcasts — “The War in the Ukraine; How It Came to This; Tracing the death of PEACE” — is now posted. It’s a blockbuster. To listen, click here. To learn more about This Episode of Rappoport Podcasts, click here.)
He is loud, annoying, brash, and obese, and he still is one of the best around.
If you’re skeptical of western power structures and you’ve ever engaged in online political debate for any length of time, the following has definitely happened to you.
You find yourself going back and forth with one of those high-confidence, low-information establishment types who’s promulgating a dubious mainstream narrative, whether that be about politics, war, Julian Assange, or whatever. At some point they make an assertion which you know to be false–publicly available information invalidates the claim they’re making.
“I’ve got them now!” you think to yourself, if you’re new to this sort of thing. Then you share a link to an article or video which makes a well-sourced, independently verifiable case for the point you are trying to make.
Then, the inevitable happens.
“LMAO! That outlet!” they scoff in response. “That outlet is propaganda/fake news/conspiracy theory trash!”
Or something to that effect. You’ll encounter this tactic over and over and over again if you continually engage in online political discourse with people who don’t agree with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re literally just linking to an interview featuring some public figure saying a thing you’d claimed they said. It doesn’t matter if you’re linking to a WikiLeaks publication of a verified authentic document. Unless you’re linking to CNN/Fox News (whichever fits the preferred ideology of the establishment loyalist you’re debating), they’ll bleat “fake news!” or “propaganda!” or “Russia!” as though that in and of itself magically invalidates the point you’re trying to make.
And of course it doesn’t. What they are doing is called attacking the source, also known as an ad hominem, and it’s a very basic logical fallacy.
Most people are familiar with the term “ad hominem”, but they usually think about it in terms of merely hurling verbal insults at people. What it actually means is attacking the source of the argument rather than attacking the argument itself in a way that avoids dealing with the question of whether or not the argument itself is true. It’s a logical fallacy because it’s used to deliberately obfuscate the goal of a logical conclusion to the debate.
“An ad hominem is more than just an insult,” explains David Ferrer for The Quad. “It’s an insult used as if it were an argument or evidence in support of a conclusion. Verbally attacking people proves nothing about the truth or falsity of their claims.”
This can take the form of saying “Claim X is false because the person making it is an idiot.” But it can also take the form of “Claim X is false because the person making it is a propagandist,” or “Claim X is false because the person making it is a conspiracy theorist.”
I don’t think @bellingcat knows what’s about to hit them now that @caitoz is on their case. Settle in for a few fun months as their entire bullshit narrative on #Syria chemical weapons comes tumbling down. Here’s her opening jab: https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/narrative-managers-faceplant-in-hilarious-opcw-scandal-spin-job-6710730cda01 …
Narrative Managers Faceplant In Hilarious OPCW Scandal Spin Job
Imperialist propaganda firm Bellingcat has published a response to the ever-expanding OPCW scandal, and it’s got to be seen to be believed.
Someone being an idiot, a propagandist or a conspiracy theorist is irrelevant to the question of whether or not what they’re saying is true. In my last article debunking a spin job on the OPCW scandal by the narrative management firm Bellingcat, I pointed out that Bellingcat is funded by imperialist regime change operations like the National Endowment for Democracy, which was worth highlighting because it shows the readers where that organization is coming from. But if I’d left my argument there it would still be an ad hominem attack, because it wouldn’t address whether or not what Bellingcat wrote about the OPCW scandal is true. It would be a logical fallacy; proving that they are propagandists doesn’t prove that what they are saying in this particular instance is false.
What I had to do in order to actually refute Bellingcat’s spin job was show that they were making a bad argument using bad logic, which I did by highlighting the way they used pedantic wordplay to make it seem as though the explosive leaks which have been emerging from the OPCW’s investigation of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria were insignificant. I had to show how Bellingcat actually never came anywhere close to addressing the actual concerns about a leaked internal OPCW email, such as extremely low chlorinated organic chemical levels on the scene and patients’ symptoms not matching up with chlorine gas poisoning, as well as the fact that the OPCW investigators plainly don’t feel as though their concerns were met since they’re blowing the whistle on the organisation now.
And, for the record, Bellingcat’s lead trainer/researcher guy responded to my arguments by saying I’m a conspiracy theorist. I personally count that as a win.
The correct response to someone who attacks the outlet or individual you’re citing instead of attacking the actual argument being made is, “You’re attacking the source instead of the argument. That’s a logical fallacy, and it’s only ever employed by people who can’t attack the argument.”
The demand that you only ever use mainstream establishment media when arguing against establishment narratives is itself an inherently contradictory position, because establishment media by their very nature do not report facts against the establishment. It’s saying “You’re only allowed to criticise establishment power using outlets which never criticize establishment power.”
2/2 No principle is worth nuclear war. This honest reporter, @caitoz, beholden to no ideology or special interest, calls it as it is, not as the #MSM wants to see — https://consortiumnews.com/2019/11/19/25-times-trump-has-been-dangerously-hawkish-on-russia/ …
25 Times Trump Has Been Dangerously Hawkish On Russia
Caitlin Johnstone discredits a CNN listicle on Trump’s “softness” towards Moscow. In fact, she writes, the U.S. president has actually been consistently reckless towards Moscow, with zero resistance…
Good luck finding a compilation of Trump’s dangerous escalations against Moscow like the one I wrote the other day anywhere in the mainstream media, for example. Neither mainstream liberals nor mainstream conservatives are interested in promoting that narrative, so it simply doesn’t exist in the mainstream information bubble. Every item I listed in that article is independently verifiable and sourced from separate mainstream media reports, yet if you share that article in a debate with an establishment loyalist and they know who I am, nine times out of ten they’ll say something like “LOL Caitlin Johnstone?? She’s nuts!” With “nuts” of course meaning “Says things my TV doesn’t say”.
It’s possible to just click on all the hyperlinks in my article and share them separately to make your point, but you can also simply point out that they are committing a logical fallacy, and that they are doing so because they can’t actually attack the argument.
This will make them very upset, because for the last few years establishment loyalists have been told that it is perfectly normal and acceptable to attack the source instead of the argument. The mass hysteria about “fake news” and “Russian propaganda” has left consumers of mainstream media with the unquestioned assumption that if they ever so much as glance at an RT article their faces will begin to melt like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. They’ve been trained to believe that it’s perfectly logical and acceptable to simply shriek “propaganda!” at a rational argument or well-sourced article which invalidates their position, or even to proactively go around calling people Russian agents who dissent from mainstream western power-serving narratives.
But it isn’t logical, and it isn’t acceptable. The best way to oppose their favorite logically fallacious tactic is to call it like it is, and let them deal with the cognitive dissonance that that brings up for them.
Me: This link proves my claim.
Empire loyalist: Eww, THAT outlet? They publish criticisms of western imperialism!
Me: Yeah. That’s why I’m linking to them.
Empire loyalist: No. You can only criticize western imperialism linking to outlets that never criticize western imperialism.
Of course some nuance is needed here. Remember that alternative media is just like anything else: there’s good and bad, even within the same outlet, so make sure what you’re sharing is solid and not just some schmuck making a baseless claim. You can’t just post a link to some Youtuber making an unsubstantiated assertion and then accuse the person you’re debating of attacking the source when they dismiss it. That which has been presented without evidence may be dismissed without evidence, and if the link you’re citing consists of nothing other than unproven assertions by someone they’ve got no reason to take at their word, they can rightly dismiss it.
If however the claims in the link you’re citing are logically coherent arguments or well-documented facts presented in a way that people can independently fact-check, it doesn’t matter if you’re citing CNN or Sputnik. The only advantage to using CNN when possible would be that it allows you to skip the part where they perform the online equivalent of putting their fingers in their ears and humming.
Don’t allow those who are still sleeping bully those who are not into silence. Insist on facts, evidence, and intellectually honest arguments, and if they refuse to provide them call it what it is: an admission that they have lost the debate.
Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either Youtube, soundcloud, Apple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.
An investigation by the Wall Street Journal has confirmed many of the central allegations made by the World Socialist Web Site in 2017 regarding Google’s censorship of the internet.
In an extensive article published Friday, the Journal concludes that, contrary to Google’s repeated assertions, the company maintains blacklists of individual websites and intervenes directly to manipulate individual search results.
On July 27, 2017, the World Socialist Web Site reported that changes to Google’s search algorithm, internally dubbed “Project Owl,” had drastically reduced search traffic to left-wing, antiwar and progressive websites.
The WSWS based its assertions on Google’s public declarations that it was seeking to “surface more authoritative content” and demote “alternative viewpoint[s],” as well as detailed data from the WSWS’s analytics systems and data provided by other websites and publicly available web and search traffic estimators.
Based on these data points, the WSWS concluded that Google was operating a blacklist of opposition news outlets, the primary impact of which was to restrict access to left-wing and antiwar websites.
The WSWS was a central target of this initiative. As we explained: “Google has severed links between the World Socialist Web Site and the 45 most popular search terms that previously directed readers to the WSWS. The physical censorship implemented by Google is so extensive that of the top 150 search terms that, as late as April 2017, connected the WSWS with readers, 145 no longer do so.”
On August 25, 2017, David North, the chairperson of the WSWS International Editorial Board, published an open letter to Google asserting:
Censorship on this scale is political blacklisting. The obvious intent of Google’s censorship algorithm is to block news that your company does not want reported and to suppress opinions with which you do not agree. Political blacklisting is not a legitimate exercise of whatever may be Google’s prerogatives as a commercial enterprise. It is a gross abuse of monopolistic power. What you are doing is an attack on freedom of speech.
These assertions have been dramatically confirmed by the Wall Street Journal investigation. Its report concludes:
Despite publicly denying doing so, Google keeps blacklists to remove certain sites or prevent others from surfacing in certain types of results. These moves are separate from those that block sites as required by US or foreign law, such as those featuring child abuse or with copyright infringement, and from changes designed to demote spam sites, which attempt to game the system to appear higher in results.
The report went on to substantiate its claim that the company’s actions were in contradiction to its public statements:
Google has said in congressional testimony it doesn’t use blacklists. Asked in a 2018 hearing whether Google had ever blacklisted a “company, group, individual or outlet … for political reasons,” Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of public policy, responded: “No, ma’am, we don’t use blacklists/whitelists to influence our search results,” according to the transcript.
But the newspaper’s investigation concluded that Google takes “what the company calls ‘manual actions’ against specific websites,” adding, “The company could also blacklist a website, or remove it altogether.”
The Journal report argues that Ben Gomes, “one of Google’s early search executives,” was an early advocate of direct, manual intervention into search terms. It was Gomes who announced what would later be known as “Project Owl” in an April 25, 2017 blog post under the title, “Our latest quality improvements for Search.”
In that blog post, Google claimed that its efforts to promote “authoritative” news sources were an extension of its attempts to combat efforts to “’game’ our systems in order to appear higher in search results.” But the investigation by the Wall Street Journal reveals this to be a total fraud.
“There’s this idea that the search algorithm is all neutral and goes out and combs the web and comes back and shows what it found, and that’s total BS,” the newspaper cites an unnamed former executive as saying. “Google deals with special cases all the time.”
The report documents how the company maintains its blacklists:
Engineers known as “maintainers” are authorized to make and approve changes to blacklists. It takes at least two people to do this; one person makes the change, while a second approves it, according to the person familiar with the matter.
The Journal reviewed a draft policy document from August 2018 that outlines how Google employees should implement an “anti-misinformation” blacklist aimed at blocking certain publishers from appearing in Google News and other search products.
Its report continues:
Google’s culture of publicly resisting demands to change results has diminished, current and former employees said. A few years ago, the company dismantled a global team focused on free-speech issues that, among other things, publicized the company’s legal battles to fight changes to search results, in part because Google had lost several of those battles in court, according to a person familiar with the change… “Free expression was no longer a winner,” the person said.
The investigation by the Wall Street Journal raises serious questions about the coverage of Google’s censorship in the New York Times. After publishing a report on September 27, 2017 on the front page of its business section concerning the WSWS’s open letter opposing Google’s censorship, including an interview with David North, the Times went on to attempt to discredit accusations that Google was carrying out political censorship.
In a follow-up article, Daisuke Wakabayashi, who conducted the interview with North, sought to whitewash Google’s censorship regime, echoing the company’s self-serving denials without any serious examination of the facts. Wakabayashi wrote: “Google said political ideology was not a factor in any aspect of its search results. Google said that whether a user is conservative or liberal is not part of the information collected by the company, and that it didn’t categorize web pages by political leanings.”
This, too, was a fraud. Google’s decision about which sites were “authoritative” was clearly political in nature.
In 2018, Google set up a “news initiative” to “Clean Up False News,” as the New York Times reported. Among its partners are the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, all of which circulated false statements by the Bush administration regarding so-called “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, among countless other lies.
Google’s statements about promoting “authoritative” news outlets is code for promoting news outlets that support US foreign policy and the lies that underpin it, because, as the Journal writes, “search is a zero-sum game: A change that helps lift one result inevitably pushes down another.”
Aside from the initial report in the New York Times and a report by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, the vast majority of corporate news outlets simply ignored the WSWS’s reporting.
But notably, before he was gagged and arrested, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange penned a letter to an online event organized by the WSWS warning about the dangers of internet censorship. It stated:
While the internet has brought about a revolution in people’s ability to educate themselves and others, the resulting democratic phenomena has shaken existing establishments to their core. Google, Facebook and their Chinese equivalents, who are socially, logistically and financially integrated with existing elites, have moved to re-establish discourse control… I commend WSWS for drawing attention to this phenomenon.
In the three years since Google announced its efforts to bury “alternative viewpoint[s],” the censorship drive by major technology corporations has only intensified. In multiple mass deletions, Facebook and Twitter have removed left-wing accounts and pages with millions of followers.
Last month, Twitter announced that it would ban all political advertisements on its platform, while Facebook, despite the declarations by Mark Zuckerberg that it will not carry out political censorship, announced that it would remove any posts that include the name of the alleged CIA “whistleblower” in the Trump impeachment inquiry.
The motivation for the relentless efforts at political censorship promoted by all factions of the political establishment is their fear of the growth of working-class opposition all over the world, which is bound up with the growing audience for socialism.
The SWAT-style raid on the home of government critic and journalist Max Blumenthal signals a new level of escalation in the US government’s war on dissent.
Max Blumenthal, the editor of independent media outlet The Grayzone, was secretly arrested on October 25 in a “SWAT-style” morning raid on his Washington D.C. home. He was held in D.C. Central Detention Facility for two days incommunicado, without the ability to communicate to the outside world, having been refused a phone call. He claims to have been shackled by his hands and ankles for some time and kept in a series of cages and cells. Blumenthal was arrested on a five-month-old assault charge stemming from an incident that took place during the D.C. Venezuelan Embassy siege.
A Venezuelan opposition supporter, Naylet Pacheco, claims that Blumenthal kicked her in the stomach several times during a conflict between the embassy protectors and supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaído, who proclaimed himself President of Venezuela in January. At the time of the incident, The Grayzone was publishing a series of investigative reports and news updates that contradicted the Trump administration’s narrative, noting how much of the supposedly grassroots uprising, was, in fact, funded by Washington and exposing the corruption and violent tactics of opposition members. The warrant for the charge had initially been rejected. It was, however, revived later without Blumenthal’s knowledge.
“If the government had at least told me I had a warrant I could have voluntarily surrendered and appeared at my own arrangement. I have nothing to fear because I’m completely innocent of this bogus charge,” he said. “Instead, the federal government essentially enlisted the DC police to SWAT me, ensuring that I would be subjected to an early morning raid and then languish in prison for days without even the ability to call an attorney.”
When asked for comment, political comedian and TV show host Lee Camp told MintPress News that this was the latest example of the government trying to silence dissenting opinion and controlling the media:
“This is the continued descent into a fascist state. When the US government is arresting journalists in dramatic fashion clearly because their reporting is threatening to the power elite, then what else can one call it?”
Corporate media largely applauded U.S.-backed regime change efforts in Venezuela, refusing to even call them a “coup” and instead preferring to frame them as a people’s “uprising,” taking the same line as the Trump administration that they claim to “resist.” Many of those same media outlets have also begun to partner with the government in a stated effort to fight fake news. The primary consequence of which has been to undermine and reduce the reach of alternative media, a vital counterweight to the corporate message. In response to a call to arms in the Washington Post, algorithm changes to Facebook, Google, YouTube, Bing, and others have led to independent news sites being de-ranked, disincentivized, and sometimes, deleted.
Despite his ordeal, Blumenthal has still been treated better than others who ran afoul of the U.S. government. Chelsea Manning is still held in prison, Edward Snowden is in exile, while Julian Assange, whose condition in solitary confinement is deteriorating, faces a highly uncertain future. On Assange, mainstream media largely applauded his April arrest, describing it as a “long overdue” (Washington Post) and “satisfying” (Saturday Night Live) detention of an “anti-American” (National Review) “narcissistic” (Washington Post) “Internet Troll” with an “outsized view of his own importance” (the Times) leaving his “voluntary confinement” (the Daily Beast) to finally “face justice” (Daily Mail) for his “indisputable crime” (New York Times).
The Trump administration refused to recognize the results of the May 2018 elections that awarded Nicolás Maduro another term in office. Instead, it announced its support for self-appointed President Juan Guaído as the rightful head of Venezuela. This, despite the fact that Guaído has never stood for the office and that over 80 percent of the country didn’t even know who he was. Following Guaído’s self-declaration of his presidency, the Trump administration demanded that all Venezuelan diplomats leave the United States, so those in Venezuela’s Washington D.C. embassy formally invited peace activists to enter and protect the integrity of the building.
Just as Guaído attempted to take the presidential palace in a coup attempt in April, supporters of the far-right anti-President tried to storm the Venezuelan embassy in D.C., an event closely covered by The Grayzone, and by MintPress News’ Alex Rubenstein, who was amongst those invited to protect the building. Rubenstein detailed how the attackers attempted siege and intimidation tactics to the embassy protectors out and enjoyed the tacit support of the local security services, who refused to protect the embassy’s territorial integrity, a serious diplomatic violation.
The dramatic story of a SWAT team bursting into a dissident journalist’s home, bundling him into a car and holding him incommunicado for days appears not to have interested either corporate media or professional press freedom groups like Reporters Without Borders or the Committee to Protect Journalists. When pushed for comment, the US Press Freedom Tracker excluded this case on a technicality, stating:
Someone let me know when or if U.S. Press Freedom Tracker or Committee to Protect Journalists say anything about @MaxBlumenthal’s arrest. @uspresstracker @pressfreedom
We are aware of Blumenthal’s arrest and based on the information available it does not meet the threshold for categorization on our site because he was not in the course of reporting when it happened.
There has been exactly zero mainstream coverage or commentary of the government’s arrest of a prominent critic, meaning that for those relying on corporate media to inform and shape their worldview, the event did not happen. This is all the more remarkable considering Blumenthal is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author, comes from a well-connected family of elite former White House insiders (his father was a senior aide to President Clinton), and boasts a huge following on social media.
The silence from the mainstream press contrasts the considerable attention that the event has received in alternative media and the outpouring of support from independent journalists. His colleagues at The Grayzone immediately came to his defense; Aaron Maté stated:
.@MaxBlumenthal was just arrested on a ridiculous charge stemming from delivering food to besieged activists in Venezuela’s DC embassy *FIVE* months ago. Max has done incredible work exposing US-backed coup in Venezuela & this is a bid to intimidate him. https://thegrayzone.com/2019/10/28/this-charge-is-one-hundred-percent-false-grayzone-editor-max-blumenthal-arrested-months-after-reporting-on-venezuelan-opposition-violence/ …
‘This charge is 100% false’: Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal arrested months after reporting on…
The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal has been arrested on false charges after reporting on Venezuelan opposition violence outside the DC embassy. He describes the manufactured case as part of a wider…
Meanwhile, Anya Parmpil (another embassy protector) noted that she was assaulted in broad daylight by Guaído supporters and in front of the secret services, who did nothing to protect her.
Many saw the action as part of a wider government campaign aimed at silencing dissenting opinions. “The establishment has declared war on anti-imperialist journalists,” declared Kerry-Anne Mendoza, Editor-in-Chief of The Canary, “There should be global outrage.” Middle East specialist Jonathan Cook agreed, claiming it was “the latest example of the growing crackdown on independent journalism.” Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah offered his support to Blumenthal, decrying the U.S. government’s “clear retaliation and intimidation” tactics.
✔@AliAbunimahThe shocking raid and arrest of @MaxBlumenthal on a false charge is clear retaliation and intimidation for the essential and truthful reporting he and @GrayzoneProject are doing. Full solidarity. https://thegrayzone.com/2019/10/28/this-charge-is-one-hundred-percent-false-grayzone-editor-max-blumenthal-arrested-months-after-reporting-on-venezuelan-opposition-violence/ …
‘This charge is 100% false’: Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal arrested months after reporting on…
The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal has been arrested on false charges after reporting on Venezuelan opposition violence outside the DC embassy. He describes the manufactured case as part of a wider…
Others criticized the mainstream press’ reaction to the arrest of a prominent critic of the U.S. government. Mark Ames, the founder of the Moscow-based outlet the eXile, noted that Blumenthal’s treatment reminded him of “the worst of Russia”, except for the fact when opposition journalists like Ivan Golunov were arrested, even the Putin-friendly press decried it. Meanwhile, journalist and filmmaker Abby Martin offered a thought experiment, tweeting:
Max was arrested on a total fabrication concocted by the Venezuelan opposition to punish him for exposing them. Cops continue to do the bidding of rightwing provocateurs––If this happened in Venezuela to a critical journalist, they would be crying about Maduro’s authoritarianism. https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1188933829387534338 …
I was arrested on Friday on a COMPLETELY FALSE charge manufactured by the Venezuelan opposition related to their siege of the embassy in DC. I spent 2 days in jail, was shackled for extended periods & was denied my right to call a lawyer. Here’s the facts: https://thegrayzone.com/2019/10/28/this-charge-is-one-hundred-percent-false-grayzone-editor-max-blumenthal-arrested-months-after-reporting-on-venezuelan-opposition-violence/ …
In fact, a similar event did happen in Venezuela; earlier this year freelance American journalist Cody Weddle was detained and deported by Venezuelan authorities. The incident made worldwide headlines, for example, in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Reuters and the Guardian, and drew immediate condemnation from Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists, highlighting the selective outrage of the corporate press and the human rights industry.
Blumenthal is uncompromising in his position regarding the accusation: “This charge is a 100 percent false, fabricated, bogus, untrue, and malicious lie,” he declared. “It is clearly part of a campaign of political persecution designed to silence me and The Grayzone for our factual journalism exposing the deceptions, corruption and violence of the far-right Venezuelan opposition.”
Far from the wholesome image they enjoy in much of the press, the Venezuelan opposition has a long and exceptionally violent history of attacking political opponents, including journalists. Their many campaigns to oust President Maduro from power have included beheading innocent passers-by and roasting Afro-Venezuelans alive in the street in an attempt to terrorize the population into surrender.
After reporting on this violence in 2017, journalists Abby Martin and Mike Prysner were the subject of a viral fake news campaign that claimed they were informants gathering information on the opposition for the secret police. They received dozens of death threats as part of a campaign in Venezuela to find and lynch them. The two escaped unharmed but others were not so lucky. TeleSur’s Adriana Sivori was shot in the back by the same opposition movement while wearing a bulletproof vest and helmet marked “press.” Meanwhile, journalists for the Globovisión network were covered with gasoline by far-right protestors who attempted to set them on fire. This “warm welcome” is extended to those in the press who the U.S.-backed opposition feel will not present them as positively as corporate media does.
These incidents were not mentioned, let alone condemned, by human rights or press freedom groups, indicating, as does the Blumenthal arrest, that some consider the right to free speech as dependent on who is doing the talking and what they are saying.
Filmmaker Dan Cohen described Blumenthal’s treatment as a “blatant attempt to stifle and suppress” The Grayzone’s reporting on the U.S.’ attempts to overthrow the Venezuelan government, adding, “Everyone who cares about press freedom in the US should speak out against this.”
Judging by their silence, very few in the mainstream media do.
Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera
Alan MacLeod is a MintPress contributor as well as an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.
On October 11, I was one of the hundreds of individuals and pages “unperson-ed” from some of the biggest social media platforms in the world.
Poof. Disappeared. Deleted.
The news organization I work for was “unpublished,” along with its more than two million Facebook followers. Hours later, it was also wiped from Twitter. So was my personal Twitter account, along with the accounts of our Twitter handler and our chief creative executive. The double-pronged purge, which was far more extensive on Facebook, created the appearance of at least some level of coordination between the two sites, neither of which had ever suspended or unpublished us before.
“Specifically for?” you might be wondering. Specifically for: nothing, at least according to Twitter.
More than a month later, Twitter responded to my appeal for my personal account (not my news outlet), vaguely suggesting I had engaged in behavior intended to artificially amply or suppress information or manipulate or disrupt Twitter users’ experiences on the platform. I never did that, and if I did, I was unaware of it and received no warning. However, because Twitter provided no examples of this alleged behavior and advised me not to contact them again, I am indefinitely suspended from the platform without any substantive explanation. So is my company.
I started writing for the Anti-Media in September 2014, after one of their journalists interviewed me about a YouTube video I made where I blow-torched my old Obama shirt after coming to terms with the reality that his “hope and change” rhetoric amounted to nothing more than brilliant political doublespeak for “maintaining the status quo.”
Our two founders, Nick Bernabe and Scott Gibson, were, like me, drawn to activism after discovering the Ron Paul revolution. As members of the millennial generation, which came of age in the post-9/11 era, we felt we had good reason to push back against the ever-encroaching political system that has heavily indebted us and increasingly infringed on our rights while expanding its reach and power.
We have spent the last four-plus years growing Anti-Media and working to awaken people from their passive subservience to big government and corporatism. We have done so by offering information that runs counter to the often pro-government narratives of traditional media outlets. I think it’s safe to say people want that information considering the number of followers we amassed before our removal. At our height in 2016 (before our reach began to rapidly decline amid algorithm changes following the election), we were reaching tens of millions of people per week.
Because we have built a dedication to factual reporting without sensationalism into our founding principles—we believe the confirmable truth is bad enough—I assumed we’d be safe from social media bans even when it became clear in August, when controversial commentator Alex Jones was purged, that crackdowns were likely coming. We don’t promote “hate speech,” nor do we spread disinformation, which is why, on the morning of October 11 when Nick first notified me the page had been unpublished, I assumed it was a glitch. (Facebook tends to have a lot of those.)
I didn’t start to worry until I read a couple of reports from mainstream outlets.
Unsurprisingly, the same media we often critique hardly reported on the purge of more than 800 Facebook accounts. Media that did cover it mostly repeated the official statement from the company’s press release, explaining that Facebook had simply taken action to remove “spam” and “fake accounts” that targeted users with the intent of misleading them with “inauthentic” behavior and driving them to ad farms to profit. But we didn’t do any of that, and many other pages, which are political in nature like ours, are also denying they employed such practices.
Along with Anti-Media, where we have been outspoken critics of President Trump and publish articles focused almost exclusively on government corruption, surveillance, the warfare state, police accountability, the failed war on drugs, and market solutions to government-created problems, dozens of pro-freedom libertarian pages were deleted. Pages like “Police the Police,” “Hemp,” and the popular libertarian news page The Free Thought Project, which boasted more than three million followers, were all taken down without warning. A few hours later, the Anti-Media was removed from Twitter, and so was I. It seemed apparent that the reason for my removal was my association with the Anti-Media.
To be fair, left-wing pages and pro-Trump pages were also removed, at least according to reporting from the likes of the LA Times. But as Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, who investigated the recent developments in the December 2018 issue of the magazine, observed on Twitter, one common thread seemed less about ideology and more about themes:
Of course, Facebook denies removing any accounts over their content, and it’s safe to presume that at least some of the banned accounts were violating their policies. While the Anti-Media maintains we did not violate those standards with “spam” or by tricking users into visiting ad farms, many pages that have employed similar social media strategies to ours—but more or less toe the mainstream line, like the popular left-wing establishment page Occupy Democrats—remain intact.
According to founder Nick Bernabe, the main administrator of our Facebook page:
Groups within Facebook’s realm of acceptable opinion have long used similar “inauthentic” tactics that the Anti-Media used, namely Occupy Democrats and their consortium of partner pages, which all drove traffic to their website, washingtonpress.com, a liberal clickbait site. Since the October 11 purge, it appears they have discontinued these practices, but their Facebook page, which has 7.5 million followers, is still active.
It’s also worth noting that later in October, Facebook removed the libertarian page Liberty Memes, which had more than half a million followers, this time asserting their content violated community standards. They swiftly removed Liberty Memes 2.0, the page administrators’ attempts to relaunch.
If Anti-Media was engaging in activities that violated their policies, no one told us, and you’d think they probably would have, considering that in July, Facebook assigned us a representative as part of their “Publisher Solutions” program. Through that program, they gave us $500 in free ad credit to help us promote our work. It’s hard to imagine they would do that for an organization in violation of their standards.
In another instance of potentially ill-advised business practices, in the same swath of removals Facebook unpublished Right Wing News, whose administrator claims he had invested $300,000 in advertisements on the platform. It’s worth noting that Right Wing News has been accused of circulating fake news. Anti-Media, however, has not been hit with such allegations—aside from a shoddy piece of journalism published by the Washington Post shortly after the 2016 election, which journalists such as Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi and The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald quickly debunked, leading the outlet to issue a clarification.
It has been over four months since Anti-Media was banned, and all we can do is wait for Facebook and Twitter to address our appeals, which we filed the day we were removed. However, my personal Twitter account and Scott’s multiple personal Twitter accounts have been confirmed as indefinitely suspended. The justification? One account, @AntiMediaRadio, was allegedly “violating [Twitter] rules against evading permanent suspension,” but it had been inactive for several years (this account was Anti-Media’s original Twitter, but Gibson changed the handle to represent our radio show and made zero tweets following that switch). The other account, @AntiMediaUK, was permanently removed over claims it violated “Twitter Rules against managing multiple Twitter accounts for abusive purposes.”
Our former Twitter handler, Patti Beers, had her suspended account reinstated the same day the LA Times wrote an article about her experience.
When it comes down it, Facebook and Twitter are private companies, and they have every right to curate their users and content as they see fit. They can also partner with whatever organizations they choose.
For example, in May, Facebook announced a partnership with the Atlantic Council, a NATO-linked think tank, with the express purpose of combating threats to elections and democracy that have apparently emerged as a result of activity on social media. Some members of the independent news circuit have expressed near-certainty that the new partnership is the reason behind our October bans, but this is impossible to prove. While the optics of a powerful group linked to an international governing body conspiring with massive platforms to censor anti-government content may make for a sensational, attention-grabbing narrative, there is no direct evidence that this is the case. If anything, it appears Facebook has partnered with the Council in an effort to add authoritative legitimacy to its post-2016 election efforts to clean up the platform.
Matt Taibbi noted the “official” influence on social media in his recent piece on the October purge (he interviewed me over the phone while working on this investigation):
Facebook recently began working with a comical cross section of shadowy officialdom: meeting with the Foreign Influence Task Force at the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security; partnering with the Atlantic Council, a NATO-connected organization featuring at least six former CIA heads on its board; and working with a pair of nonprofits associated with the major political parties, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute.
Often described by critics as the unofficial lobby group of NATO, the council is a bipartisan rogues’ gallery of senior military leaders, neocons and ex-spies. Former heads of the CIA on its board include Michael Hayden, R. James Woolsey, Leon Panetta and Michael Morell, who was in line to be Hillary Clinton’s CIA chief.
The council is backed financially by weapons-makers like Raytheon, energy titans like Exxon-Mobil and banks like JPMorgan Chase. It also accepts funds from multiple foreign countries, some of them with less-than-sterling reputations for human rights and — notably — press freedoms.
Asked about “the apparent contradiction of advising Facebook on press practices when it is funded by numerous speech-squelching foreign governments,” the council told Rolling Stone that “donors must submit in writing to strict terms.”
Their statement read:
[The] Atlantic Council is accepting the contribution on condition that the Atlantic Council retains intellectual independence and control over any content funded in whole or in part by the contribution.
Taibbi also noted that Facebook recently became one of the Atlantic Council’s biggest donors around the same time it announced their partnership in May. “The social media behemoth could easily have funded its own team of ex-spooks and media experts for the fake-news project,” Taibbi observed.
But Facebook employees have whispered to reporters that the council was brought in so that Facebook could “outsource many of the most sensitive political decisions.” In other words, Facebook wanted someone else to take the political hit for removing pages.
While there is no evidence Facebook is working directly with the board of directors, the company boasted that the Council’s “network of leaders is uniquely situated to help all of us think through the challenges we will face in the near and long-term.” More directly, Facebook is working with the organization’s Digital Forensic Research Lab to “help prevent abuse while also ensuring people have a voice during elections.”
Twitter, too, has partnered with the Digital Forensic Research Lab, as well as the National Democratic Institute, another think tank. This one is chaired by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and funded by the US government and numerous foreign governments.
But connections cannot be conflated with causation, and despite social media companies’ cooperation not only with government-linked organizations but also government agencies themselves, I have no way to prove we were removed for our anti-government views.
Even if we were removed for our views, which is not confirmable, again, Facebook and Twitter are private companies, and private companies didn’t create the problem we’re currently facing. Their behavior is a reflection of a society plagued with an increasingly pervasive mentality of political intolerance, suppression, and authoritarianism.
Facebook and Twitter are unfortunately responding to market demand.
In the wake of the “fake news” and “Russian bot” narratives that emerged after the 2016 election, ‘Democracy is at risk’ emerged as the rallying cry in favor of suppressing and regulating information on these platforms.
Facebook and Twitter have been removing accounts and posts for months, citing political reasons and the need to maintain the integrity of elections. In one example, Facebook removed 32 accounts at the end of July, citing “inauthentic” and “misleading” behavior largely revolving around political discussion. They shared their findings with Congress, the Atlantic Council, and US law enforcement agencies, affirming the growing precedent for government involvement. As Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said:
Today’s disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation… I also expect Facebook, along with other platform companies, will continue to identify Russian troll activity and to work with Congress…
In another example of the intersection of social media and government influence, Facebook’s partnership with the Atlantic Council was announced after Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress and took a national flogging for his alleged role in handing the presidency to Trump. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, too, testified before Congress. Considering the relentless media narrative claiming that the Russians, exploiting social media, elected Trump, it’s not a stretch to consider the possibility that their purges have been attempts to avoid extensive government intervention.
This is another example of big government’s influence over these platforms’ recent behavior; because of much of the political establishment’s refusal to accept Donald Trump as president, calls for government intervention have grown louder, and Facebook and Twitter’s shifts toward working with government are quite conceivably attempts to show good will toward those in power.
This threat of government crackdowns is very real. Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island recently tweeted that “Facebook cannot be trusted to regulate itself,” also claiming “it is long past time for us to take action.” Given this chronic, looming threat, it is unsurprising these social media platforms feel compelled to take preemptive action to avoid more stringent government control in the future.
In another example of the current political paradigm affecting Facebook and Twitter’s evolving policies, it is worth noting the personal political ideologies of those in charge of Facebook and Twitter. Zuckerberg has historically donated campaign funds to Democrats, as has Sheryl Sandberg. Facebook’s COO. Facebook’s head of cybersecurity is none other than Nathaniel Gleichner, former Director for Cybersecurity Policy on the National Security Council in President Obama’s White House. As a company, Twitter harbors left-wing sentiments to the point where, by some accounts, conservative employees feel intimidated, and CEO Jack Dorsey admitted in September that his platform’s algorithm ‘unfairly filtered 600,000 accounts.’
In yet another disturbing move demonstrating the power of the current big government paradigm, Twitter recently decided to ban users who host hacked materials on the platform, and Facebook may follow suit. For an idea of what might constitute “hacked” materials, think of Wikileaks’ releases of emails from Clinton and her campaign staff that flooded the news cycle in 2016. These leaks have been accused of throwing the election to Trump, and Twitter’s decision to ban users hosting such content shows not only a reaction to Clinton’s loss but also submission to the notion that government authority should never be defied—that the people do not have a right to know what their government does behind closed doors.
Though some of the purged pages have been quick to blame their dissenting points of view as cause for their removal, at this point it is impossible to prove. As our production of original articles remains suspended in light of decreased revenue (independent media as a whole has long been heavily dependent on Facebook for traffic), I’m still hoping against hope that we were accidentally caught up in a well-intended operation and will have our page restored.
What is clear either way, however, is that the actions stem from an overarching influence of government and politics in our day-to-day lives, as well as the population’s fading commitment to free expression.
When the loathed Alex Jones was removed from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms in early August, many cheered because of his use of “hate speech,” which companies should obviously be free to remove. But the lack of foresight and the extreme enthusiasm with which proponents of his purge celebrated the bans were disturbing. Unsurprisingly, there was little outrage surrounding the October 11 purge. On the other side, a recent poll showed nearly half of Republicans believe the president should have the right to shut down news organizations for “bad behavior.” This is hardly in the spirit of America’s founding principles.
“To preserve the freedom of the human mind then and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1799, “for as long as we may think as we will, and speak as we think, the condition of man will proceed in improvement.”
Today, on both sides of the political spectrum, many seem more concerned with securing power (for themselves or their favored political faction) than advocating the free flow of information.
At the time of Jones’ removal, I suggested that Americans’ mounting intolerance for differing opinions in their snowballing craving for control of the government would lead to wider purges. I just didn’t think I’d be part of them.
However, considering that suppression of free speech rarely stops with expressions deemed “bad,” the recent imposition of censorship is unsurprising. Though the recent trend of censorship started with Alex Jones, who is undeniably fringe and on many counts detestable, the lack of public resistance indicated there would be tolerance for further bans.
Sure enough, alternative media has become the next target in the expanding wave of silencing speech. Martin Niemöller, a former German soldier who spent seven years in a concentration camp after his support for the Nazi regime turned to opposition, famously recalled his refusal to speak up for victimized groups. “First they came for the socialists—and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist,” he said, going on to reference trade unionists and Jews. “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me,” he concluded. A variation of that sentiment has emerged amid the recent bouts of censorship: “First they came for the journalists. We don’t know what happened after that.”
While these private companies may be working with government-linked organizations in their increasingly systemic removals of political content, the deeper problem is not ‘private companies imposing censorship’ but the far-reaching effects that the public’s adherence to the current political paradigm has on creating demand for such censorship. It’s not just the government and government-linked groups—it’s the people who believe in them.
As platforms like Twitter and Facebook continue to respond to the Russia narrative, which is ultimately a product of intolerance of Trump and the Republicans’ current control over political system (in favor, of course, of the Left’s control of the system), it becomes ever more apparent that they are simply responding to the political climate—not the other way around.
As Bernabe said, “If these actions go unchecked, we’ll be ushering in a new era of privatized censorship by companies fearing political backlash in an effort to protect the state.”
It is evident that the recent behavior of these private companies cannot be separated from our current political climate. Facebook and Twitter may be private companies that can do what they like, but in the free market, consumers are also free to express their preferences, and I’m hoping that some may choose to disapprove of the recent purges.
By Carey Wedler / Creative Commons / FEE.org
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation. Wikipedia
Morris Dees, founder and director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an element of the Israel Lobby that smears and demeans truth-tellers, was fired. The article reporting Dees’ removal speculates that he was fired for sexual harassment. More likely he was fired for having to pay out $60 million of the SPLC’s $500,000,000 endowment to settle defamation lawsuits.
Ask yourself how is it that an organization committed to smearing people has an endowment of a half billion dollars and not the Institute for Political Economy that focuses on providing truthful information that is contrary to official explanations. Clearly, there is far more money available for “hitman” organizations dedicated to destroying truth tellers than there is for the targets of such organizations.
If truth tellers criticize Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, the truth tellers are branded “anti-Semites.”
If truth tellers question official government explanations such as 9/11, they are branded “conspiracy theorists.”
If truth tellers correct the official lies that portray Russia as a dire threat to the United States and Russia’s President Putin as the “New Hitler,” they are branded “Russian agents,” and “Putin dupes.”
$500,000,000 is a huge endowment for a reputation-smearing organization operating in Montgomery, Alabama. Where did that money come from?
Why, in contrast, are organizations struggling to present facts and rational analysis operating on shoe strings?
The philanthropic foundations, which once supported information independent of government and private agendas, have been taken into the propaganda Matrix that has blinded Americans to the demise of their liberties. Every day another piece of America withers away. Soon there will be nothing left.
Readers need to understand that there is an infinite number of people worldwide who are devoid of all morality and all integrity. Their only concern is money, and they will do anything to get it. Many are paid to smear truth tellers on Internet sites that have comment sections and on Facebook and other social media. Entire websites, such as ProporNot, have been created in order to discredit truth-tellers. Government agencies and special interests employ agents to spread propaganda via social media in order to create public support for overthrowing targeted governments such as Venezuela, Cuba, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Iran.
It is very expensive for a person to exercise the right of free speech for the purpose of telling the truth. But if you attack truth, you get a half billion dollar endowment.
In the United States, the only hope for truth lies in the pocketbook of ordinary people. If they do not support the alternative media websites that are dedicated to truth, the truth will wither away with the country.
Support IPE: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/donate/
“A report by journalist Whitney Webb for MintPress News details how NewsGuard is working to hide and demonetize alternative media outlets like MintPress, marketing itself directly to tech companies, social media platforms, libraries and schools. NewsGuard is led by some of the most virulently pro-imperialist individuals in America, and its agenda to shore up narrative control for the ruling power establishment is clear.”
Source: Narrative Control Firm Targeting Alternative Media
Jan 19, 2019
The frenzied, hysterical Russia narrative being promoted day in and day out by Western mass media has had two of its major stories ripped to shreds in the last three days.
A report seeded throughout the mainstream media by anonymous intelligence officials back in September claimed that U.S. government workers in Cuba had suffered concussion-like brain damage after hearing strange noises in homes and hotels with the most likely culprit being “sophisticated microwaves or another type of electromagnetic weapon” from Russia. A recording of one such highly sophisticated attack was analyzed by scientists and turned out to be the mating call of the male indies short-tailed cricket. Neurologists and other brain specialists have challenged the claim that any U.S. government workers suffered any neurological damage of any kind, saying test results on the alleged victims were misinterpreted. The actual story, when stripped of hyperventilating Russia panic, is that some government workers heard some crickets in Cuba.
Another report which dominated news for a day recently claimed that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (the same Paul Manafort who the Guardian falsely claimed met with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy) had shared polling data with a Russian associate and asked him to pass it along to Oleg Deripaska, who is often labeled a “Russian oligarch” by western media. The polling data was mostly public already, and the rest was just more polling information shared in the spring of 2016, but Deripaska’s involvement had Russiagaters burning the midnight oil with breathless excitement. Talking Points Memo‘s Josh Marshall went so far as to publish an article titled “The ‘Collusion’ Debate Ended Last Night,” substantiating his click-generating headline with the claim that “What’s crystal clear is that the transfer to Kilimnik came with explicit instructions to give the information to Deripaska. And that’s enough.”
Except Manafort didn’t give any explicit instructions to share the polling data with Deripaska, but with two Ukrainian oligarchs (who are denying it). The New York Times was forced to print this embarrassing correction to the story it broke, adding in the process that Manafort’s motivation was likely not collusion, but money.
These are just the latest debacles as reporters eager to demonstrate their fealty to the U.S.-centralized empire fall all over themselves to report any story that makes Russia look bad without practicing due diligence. The only voices who have been questioning the establishment Russia narrative that is being fed to mass media outlets by secretive government agencies have been those which the mass media refuses to platform. Alternative media outlets are the only major platforms for dissent from the authorized narratives of the plutocrat-owned political/media class.
Imagine, then, how disastrous it would be if these last strongholds of skepticism and holding power to account were removed from the media landscape. Well, that’s exactly what a shady organization called NewsGuard is trying to do, with some success already.
A report by journalist Whitney Webb for MintPress News details how NewsGuard is working to hide and demonetize alternative media outlets like MintPress, marketing itself directly to tech companies, social media platforms, libraries and schools. NewsGuard is led by some of the most virulently pro-imperialist individuals in America, and its agenda to shore up narrative control for the ruling power establishment is clear.
No. 1 The company has created a service called BrandGuard, billed as a “brand safety tool aimed at helping advertisers keep their brands off of unreliable news and information sites while giving them the assurance they need to support thousands of Green-rated [i.e., Newsguard-approved] news and information sites, big and small.” Popularizing the use of this service will attack the advertising revenue of unapproved alternative media outlets which run ads. NewsGuard is aggressively marketing this service to “ad tech firms, leading agencies, and major advertisers”.No. 2 NewsGuard’s advisory board reads like the fellowships list of a neocon think tank, and indeed one of its CEOs, Louis Gordon Crovitz, is a Council on Foreign Relations member who has worked with the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation. Members of the advisory board include George W Bush’s Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, deep intelligence community insider Michael Hayden, and the Obama administration’s Richard Stengel, who once publicly supported propaganda in the U.S. (see the Tweet below for a direct quote.) All of these men have appeared in influential think tanks geared toward putting a public smiley face on sociopathic warmongering agendas.
No. 3 Despite one of its criteria for trustworthy sources being whether or not they are transparent about their funding, the specifics of NewsGuard’s financing is kept secret.
No. 4 NewsGuard is also planning to get its news-ranking system integrated into social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, pursuing a partnership which will make pro-establishment media consumption a part of your experience at those sites regardless of whether or not you download a NewsGuard app or plugin.
No. 5 NewsGuard markets itself to state governments in order to get its plugin installed in all of that state’s public schools and libraries to keep internet users from consuming unauthorized narratives. It has already succeeded in accomplishing this in the state of Hawaii, with all of its library branches now running the NewsGuard plugin.
I believe that the older generation the article speaks about knows about fake news, but have decided to use that information as an ideological weapon to propagate their agenda.
“It’s “important to be clear about how rare this behavior is on social platforms,” researchers say.”
Source: The ‘Fake News’ Epidemic Was…Fake News – Hit & Run : Reason.com
Most social media users still know bullshit when they see it, a new study suggests. In a study of social media behavior during the 2016 election, more than 90 percent of their sample “shared no stories from fake news domains,” a trio of researchers reports in Science Advances.
The study has been getting a good deal of media attention, mainly for the parts that confirm people’s biases. “Conservatives were more likely to share articles from fake news domains,” states the study abstract. And “on average, users over 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news domains as the youngest age group.”
The conservative bit comes with a caveat: In 2016, fake news domains “were largely pro-Trump in orientation.” So it’s not necessarily that conservatives are more susceptible than moderates or liberals to propaganda; it could just be that there was more propaganda aimed at them.
The research team—Andrew Guess of Princeton, Jonathan Nagler of New York University, and Joshua Tucker of New York University—considered the possibility that older people were more likely to be Trump fans. But they found “the age effect remains statistically significant when controlling for ideology and other demographic attributes.” Older liberals shared a lot of fake news too.
A common denominator in many visits to hoax articles was scrolling through Facebook. That network appears “to be much more common than other platforms before visits to fake news articles,” the study found.
With permission from
September 20, 2018
The death of Robert Parry earlier this year felt like a farewell to the age of the reporter. Parry was “a trailblazer for independent journalism”, wrote Seymour Hersh, with whom he shared much in common.
Hersh revealed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia, Parry exposed Iran-Contra, a drugs and gun-running conspiracy that led to the White House. In 2016, they separately produced compelling evidence that the Assad government in Syria had not used chemical weapons. They were not forgiven.
Driven from the “mainstream”, Hersh must publish his work outside the United States. Parry set up his own independent news website Consortium News, where, in a final piece following a stroke, he referred to journalism’s veneration of “approved opinions” while “unapproved evidence is brushed aside or disparaged regardless of its quality.”
Although journalism was always a loose extension of establishment power, something has changed in recent years. Dissent tolerated when I joined a national newspaper in Britain in the 1960s has regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves towards a form of corporate dictatorship. This is a seismic shift, with journalists policing the new “groupthink”, as Parry called it, dispensing its myths and distractions, pursuing its enemies.
Witness the witch-hunts against refugees and immigrants, the willful abandonment by the “MeToo” zealots of our oldest freedom, presumption of innocence, the anti-Russia racism and anti-Brexit hysteria, the growing anti-China campaign and the suppression of a warning of world war.
With many if not most independent journalists barred or ejected from the “mainstream”, a corner of the Internet has become a vital source of disclosure and evidence-based analysis: true journalism. Sites such as Wikileaks, Consortium News, WSWS.org, Truthdig,, Global Research, CounterPunch and Information Clearinghouse are required reading for those trying to make sense of a world in which science and technology advance wondrously while political and economic life in the fearful “democracies” regress behind a media facade of narcissistic spectacle.
In Britain, just one website offers consistently independent media criticism. This is the remarkable Media Lens — remarkable partly because its founders and editors as well as its only writers, David Edwards and David Cromwell, since 2001 have concentrated their gaze not on the usual suspects, the Tory press, but the paragons of reputable liberal journalism: the BBC, the Guardian, Channel 4 News.
Their method is simple. Meticulous in their research, they are respectful and polite when they ask why a journalist why he or she produced such a one-sided report, or failed to disclose essential facts or promoted discredited myths.
The replies they receive are often defensive, at times abusive; some are hysterical, as if they have pushed back a screen on a protected species.
I would say Media Lens has shattered a silence about corporate journalism. Like Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in Manufacturing Consent, they represent a Fifth Estate that deconstructs and demystifies the media’s power.
What is especially interesting about them is that neither is a journalist. David Edwards is a former teacher, David Cromwell is an oceanographer. Yet, their understanding of the morality of journalism — a term rarely used; let’s call it true objectivity — is a bracing quality of their online Media Lens dispatches.
I think their work is heroic and I would place a copy of their just published book, Propaganda Blitz, in every journalism school that services the corporate system, as they all do.
Take the chapter, Dismantling the National Health Service, in which Edwards and Cromwell describe the critical part played by journalists in the crisis facing Britain’s pioneering health service.
The NHS crisis is the product of a political and media construct known as “austerity”, with its deceitful, weasel language of “efficiency savings” (the BBC term for slashing public expenditure) and “hard choices” (the willful destruction of the premises of civilised life in modern Britain).
“Austerity” is an invention. Britain is a rich country with a debt owed by its crooked banks, not its people. The resources that would comfortably fund the National Health Service have been stolen in broad daylight by the few allowed to avoid and evade billions in taxes.
Using a vocabulary of corporate euphemisms, the publicly-funded Health Service is being deliberately run down by free market fanatics, to justify its selling-off . The Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn may appear to oppose this, but is it? The answer is very likely no. Little of any of this is alluded to in the media, let alone explained.
Edwards and Cromwell have dissected the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, whose innocuous title belies its dire consequences. Unknown to most of the population, the Act ends the legal obligation of British governments to provide universal free health care: the bedrock on which the NHS was set up following the Second World War. Private companies can now insinuate themselves into the NHS, piece by piece.
Where, asks Edwards and Cromwell, was the BBC while this momentous Bill was making its way through Parliament? With a statutory commitment to “providing a breadth of view” and to properly inform the public of “matters of public policy”, the BBC never spelt out the threat posed to one of the nation’s most cherished institutions. A BBC headline said: “Bill which gives power to GPs passes.” This was pure state propaganda.
There is a striking similarity with the BBC’s coverage of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s lawless invasion of Iraq in 2003, which left a million dead and many more dispossessed. A study by the University of Wales, Cardiff, found that the BBC reflected the government line “overwhelmingly” while relegating reports of civilian suffering. A Media Tenor study placed the BBC at the bottom of a league of western broadcasters in the time they gave to opponents of the invasion. The corporation’s much-vaunted “principle” of impartiality was never a consideration.
One of the most telling chapters in Propaganda Blitz describes the smear campaigns mounted by journalists against dissenters, political mavericks and whistleblowers. The Guardian’s campaign against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is the most disturbing.
Assange, whose epic WikiLeaks disclosures brought fame, journalism prizes and largesse to the Guardian, was abandoned when he was no longer useful. He was then subjected to a vituperative – and cowardly — onslaught of a kind I have rarely known.
With not a penny going to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous”. They also disclosed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables.
With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh”.
The Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore wrote, “I bet Assange is stuffing himself full of flattened guinea pigs. He really is the most massive turd.”
Moore, who describes herself as a feminist, later complained that, after attacking Assange, she had suffered “vile abuse”. Edwards and Cromwell wrote to her: “That’s a real shame, sorry to hear that. But how would you describe calling someone ‘the most massive turd’? Vile abuse?”
Moore replied that no, she would not, adding, “I would advise you to stop being so bloody patronising.”
Her former Guardian colleague James Ball wrote, “It’s difficult to imagine what Ecuador’s London embassy smells like more than five and a half years after Julian Assange moved in.”
Such slow-witted viciousness appeared in a newspaper described by its editor, Katharine Viner, as “thoughtful and progressive”. What is the root of this vindictiveness? Is it jealousy, a perverse recognition that Assange has achieved more journalistic firsts than his snipers can claim in a lifetime? Is it that he refuses to be “one of us” and shames those who have long sold out the independence of journalism?
Journalism students should study this to understand that the source of “fake news” is not only trollism, or the likes of Fox news, or Donald Trump, but a journalism self-anointed with a false respectability: a liberal journalism that claims to challenge corrupt state power but, in reality, courts and protects it, and colludes with it. The amorality of the years of Tony Blair, whom the Guardian has failed to rehabilitate, is its echo.
“[It is] an age in which people yearn for new ideas and fresh alternatives,” wrote Katharine Viner. Her political writer Jonathan Freedland dismissed the yearning of young people who supported the modest policies of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as “a form of narcissism”.
“How did this man ….,” brayed the Guardian’s Zoe Williams, “get on the ballot in the first place?” A choir of the paper’s precocious windbags joined in, thereafter queuing to fall on their blunt swords when Corbyn came close to winning the 2017 general election in spite of the media.
Complex stories are reported to a cult-like formula of bias, hearsay and omission: Brexit, Venezuela, Russia, Syria. On Syria, only the investigations of a group of independent journalists have countered this, revealing the network of Anglo-American backing of jihadists in Syria, including those related to ISIS.
Supported by a “psyops” campaign funded by the British Foreign Office and the US Agency of International Aid, the aim is to hoodwink the Western public and speed the overthrow the government in Damascus, regardless of the medieval alternative and the risk of war with Russia.
The Syria Campaign, set up by a New York PR agency, Purpose, funds a group known as the White Helmets, who claim falsely to be “Syria Civil Defence” and are seen uncritically on TV news and social media, apparently rescuing the victims of bombing, which they film and edit themselves, though viewers are unlikely to be told this. George Clooney is a fan.
The White Helmets are appendages to the jihadists with whom they share addresses. Their media-smart uniforms and equipment are supplied by their Western paymasters. That their exploits are not questioned by major news organisations is an indication of how deep the influence of state-backed PR now runs in the media. As Robert Fisk noted recently, no “mainstream” reporter reports Syria, from Syria.
In what is known as a hatchet job, a Guardian reporter based in San Francisco, Olivia Solon, who has never visited Syria, was allowed to smear the substantiated investigative work of journalists Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett on the White Helmets as “propagated online by a network of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government”.
This abuse was published without permitting a single correction, let alone a right-of-reply. The Guardian Comment page was blocked, as Edwards and Cromwell document. I saw the list of questions Solon sent to Beeley, which reads like a McCarthyite charge sheet — “Have you ever been invited to North Korea?”
So much of the mainstream has descended to this level. Subjectivism is all; slogans and outrage are proof enough. What matters is the “perception”.
When he was US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus declared what he called “a war of perception… conducted continuously using the news media”. What really mattered was not the facts but the way the story played in the United States. The undeclared enemy was, as always, an informed and critical public at home.
Nothing has changed. In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s film-maker, whose propaganda mesmerised the German public.
She told me the “messages” of her films were dependent not on “orders from above”, but on the “submissive void” of an uninformed public.
“Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked.
“Everyone,” she said. “Propaganda always wins, if you allow it.”
Starting in June of 2018, Facebook began deleting pages with up to 40 million followers in an unprecedented assault on independent media outlets using the platform.
Jake Passi, the founder of the popular Facebook page Collectively Conscious and victim of the purge called the effort a “deleting rampage” and “a crime against humanity.”
A website known as Swapd which allows for the buying and selling of Facebook pages issued a statement confirming that the pages were in fact being taken down by Facebook.
After days of new reports coming in, we’re 100% sure Facebook is cleaning the house, hard. They are taking no hostages and deleting millions of fans without any hesitation. It doesn’t matter if your page is 50k or 40m, they’re all at risk. – Swapd.co
Several commenters claimed to have had their pages taken down as well, including one user who claimed to run 10 pages about “dogs, machines, trucks, [and] farming.”
It is unclear why legitimate pages are being removed, but according to a message sent to Swapd from one of their “clients,” Facebook is targeting “accounts partaking in ‘manufactured sharing behavior’ and any accounts linked to such behavior.”
They speculate that legitimate pages are being taken down as “collateral damage.”
In a post on the alternative social media site Minds.com, Jake listed almost 80 independent pages which were deleted by Facebook in June alone.
“Did you know that Facebook went on an alternative media page deleting rampage last month? In June they deleted (or unpublished indefinitely) 79 alternative media pages owned by my friends in the alternative media community. 80 including my own, Collectively Conscious.
Here’s a list of all the pages I know of which have been deleted or unpublished indefinitely:
1.Collectively Conscious (915K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
2.Natural Cures Not Medicine (2.3M followers) – Deleted on June 11th, 2018.
3.I Want to Be 100% Organic (700K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
4.Viral Alternative News (500K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
5.Organic Health (230K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
6.Natural Cures From Food (120K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
7.Heart Centered Rebalancing (3.9M followers) – Deleted a few years ago.
8.Awareness Act (1.1M followers) – Deleted in mid-2017.
9.Conscious Life News (1.1M follower) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
10.Wake The Fuck Up (550K followers) – Deleted about a year ago.
11.Living Traditionally (570K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
12.Organic Wellness (600K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
13.Chocolate Socrates (608K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
14.Earth We Are One (1.7M followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
15.Meditation Masters (2.3M followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
16.People’s Awakening (3.6M followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
17.Nikola Tesla (1.7M followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
18.Interesting Stories (1.5M followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
19.The Warrior (1.7M followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
20.Natural Health Warriors (140K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
21.Tech Explorers (270K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
22.Universe Explorers (1.5M followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
23.Area 51 (1.5M followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
24.The Global Meditation (70K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
25.Video Explorers (780K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
26.Spiritualer. Com (80K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
27.Flower of Life (670K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
28.EWAO (30K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
29.Global Freedom Movement (27K followers) – Deleted on June 19th, 2018.
30.Health & Alternative Medicine (550K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
31.Pure Nature (1.7M followers) – Deleted on June 3rd, 2018.
32.Nature Gallery (654K followers) – Deleted on June 3rd, 2018.
33.Mesmerizing Nature (912K followers) – Deleted on June 3rd, 2018.
34.Nature’s Touch (150K followers) – Deleted on June 3rd, 2018.
35.We Really Like Animals (544K) – Deleted on June 20th, 2018.
36.Nature’s Majesty (191K followers) – Deleted on June 20th, 2018.
37.Nature Magic (33K followers) – Deleted on June 20th, 2018.
38.Floral Photobook (160K followers) – Deleted on June 20th, 2018.
39.My Own Little World (1.5M followers) – Deleted on June 20th, 2018.
40.Brighten Your Soul (100K followers) – Deleted on June 20th, 2018.
41.Essence of Spirit (12K followers) – Deleted on June 20th, 2018.
42.Jesse Ventura Fan Page (750K followers) – Deleted a few years ago.
43.Exposing the Truth (800K followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
44.Learning the Truth (1M followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
45.Latruth (7M followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
46.Healthy Life Box (1.8M followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
47.Healthy Food House (3.4M followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
48.Health Awareness (2.5M followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
49.Healthy Life And Food (350K followers) – Deleted on May 23rd, 2018.
50.Check These Things (80K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
51.Health Care Above All (90K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
52.Health and Healthy Living (450K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
53.Health & Alternative Medicine (550K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
54.Healthy Living Motivation (644K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
55.Alternative Health Universe (420K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
56.Natural Medicine Corner (411K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
57.Organic Health Team (490K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
58.Global Health Care (130K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
59.Healthy Alternative Medicine (140K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
60.Natural Healthy Team (190K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
61.Organic Food Medicine (30K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
62.Love, Health and Happiness (10K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
63.Healthy Organic Life (25K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
64.Healthy Lifestyle (55K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
65.Guardian of Health (160K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
66.Daily Health Keeper (190K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
67.Health & Love Page (720K followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
68.Diabetes Health Page (180K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
69.The Beauty of Power (170K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
70.Nutrition Facts and Analysis (170K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
71.Deeper Perspectives (32K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
72.Healthy Living (1.8M followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
73.Organic Planner (1.5M followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
74.Healthy Lifestyle (1.4M followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
75.Just Natural Medicine (1M followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
76.Great Remedies – Great Health (650K followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
77.Nature is Beautiful (1.1M followers) – Deleted on June 3rd, 2018.
78.Amazing World (872K followers) – Deleted on June 6th, 2018.
79.Pure Nature (425K followers) – Deleted on June 6th, 2018.
80.Photography World (1.4M followers) – Deleted on June 20th, 2018.
81.World Magazine (845K followers) – Deleted on June 20th, 2018.
82.Nikola Tesla Fans (140K followers) – Deleted on June 18th, 2018.
83.Positive Reminders (781K followers) – Deleted on June 28th, 2018.
84.Sarcasm (40M followers) – Deleted on June 7th, 2018.
Look at all those health and wellness pages!
This is a crime against humanity as far as I’m concerned. – Jake Passi
Most of the pages affected by the purge appear to be natural health and conspiracy oriented. However, this isn’t stopping the alternative media as the growing popularity of alt-tech sites like Minds are opening the door to less censored distribution of news and commentary.
Several prominent figures, including Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, warned the EU Parliament that its proposed censorship measure would begin transforming the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.
MINNEAPOLIS – For much of the year, independent media has felt the sting of increased social media censorship, as the “revolving door” between U.S. intelligence agencies and social-media companies has manifested in a crackdown on news that challenges official government narratives. With many notable independent news websites having shut down since then as a result, those that remain afloat are being censored like never before, with social media traffic from Facebook and Twitter completely cut off in some cases. Among such websites, social media censorship by the most popular social networks is now widely regarded to be the worst it has ever been – a chilling reality for any who seek fact-based perspectives on major world events that differ from those to be found on well-known corporate-media outlets that consistently toe the government line.
Last August, MintPress reported that a new Google algorithm targeting “fake news” had quashed traffic to many independent news and advocacy sites, with sites such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Democracy Now, and WikiLeaks, seeing their returns from Google searches experience massive drops. The World Socialist Website, one of the affected pages, reported a 67 percent decrease in Google returns while MintPress experienced an even larger decrease of 76 percent in Google search returns. The new algorithm targeted online publications on both sides of the political spectrum critical of U.S. imperialism, foreign wars, and other long-standing government policies.
Now, less than a year later, the situation has become even more dire. Several independent media pages have reported that their social media traffic has sharply declined since March and – in some cases – stopped almost entirely since June began. For instance, independent media website Antimedia – a page with over 2 million likes and follows – saw its traffic drop from around 150,000 page views per day earlier this month to around 12,000 as of this week. As a reference, this time last year Antimedia’s traffic stood at nearly 300,000 a day.
Other pages, such as the Free Thought Project, have been flagged as “fake news” by Facebook “fact checking” partner organizations, like the Associated Press and Snopes. In one recent case, a story published by the Free Thought Project was flagged as “false” by the Associated Press. That story, which detailed the documented case of Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) being forcibly removed from a DHS migrant detention center that had once been a Walmart, was marked false because the Associated Press asserted that the article made the claim that Walmart was housing immigrants for DHS. However, the article does not make the claim, instead accurately noting that the facility used to be a Walmart.
In a troubling turn of events, pages that shared that very story are now being punished by Facebook for helping disseminate “false news.” The Mind Unleashed, which has 8.8 million likes and follows, was warned that it would have its reach reduced for this “offense,” and that the reduction in the page’s reach would only increase with the number of offenses after it shared the Free Thought Project story on the detention center.
At MintPress News, the story is similar. While the MintPress Facebook and Twitter pages remain up and no notices warning of their imminent deletion have yet been received, traffic from social media has reached an all-time low, as the site’s average traffic of around 70,000 unique visitors last January has now dropped to around 4,000 – a decrease of around 94 percent. On Tuesday, social media traffic to MintPress stopped entirely, as it did for several other independent media sites like Antimedia.
Given what has been experienced by several independent media sites in recent months, it seems that several known initiatives aimed at censoring content on social media have now taken full effect after being announced earlier this year.
Those initiatives — particularly those being implemented by Facebook, Twitter and Google — first came to light during a Senate hearing held earlier this year in January. During their testimony, representatives from Facebook detailed that it would employ a team of 20,000 new employees by the end of the year who would “assess potentially violating content” and “fake news” uploaded by the platform’s users. Monika Bickert, head of Global Policy Management at Facebook, told lawmakers at the time that “former intelligence and law-enforcement officials and prosecutors who worked in the area of counterterrorism” are among the members of that new “team” at Facebook.
In the months since, Facebook’s censorship of independent content has continued to spin out of control, with the site prioritizing “trustworthy” sites even though Facebook has not stated how a site’s “trustworthiness” is determined. The site’s censorship efforts, however, reached a crescendo when it was announced last month that the social media giant would team up with the war-loving, Washington-based think tank, The Atlantic Council, in order to “combat election-related propaganda and misinformation from proliferating” on the social media site.
The Atlantic Council is funded by the country’s top weapons manufacturers – Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing – as well as by NATO and the United Arab Emirates, currently responsible for an offensive on a port in Yemen, slammed by the UN and human rights groups, that threatens to lead to the death of some 18.5 million civilians in the war-torn country. The Atlantic Council’s conflicts of interest with companies, organizations, and countries that benefit from war have raised concern among anti-war news sites that the think tank’s partnership with Facebook will negatively affect their own presence on social media.
While many thought that social media censorship on the most commonly used platforms could not get much worse after Facebook’s partnership with the Atlantic Council, the upcoming vote by the European Union on the controversial measure known as Article 13 could soon change that. The proposed law, if approved, would require platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and others to scan user-uploaded content before it is shown online and take down material that “could be stolen” or infringe on existing copyrights.
Several prominent figures, including World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, warned the EU Parliament that the measure would be “an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”
The current censorship of social media is undeniably the worst it has ever been. However, it is unlikely that this troubling trend will get better anytime soon. Instead, it likely to get much worse. If you value fact-based news content that challenges the powerful and scrutinizes official narratives, now is the time to sign up for mailing lists, Steemit and other alternatives that will allow you to continue to receive the content you enjoy amid the increasingly bleak future of news shared via social media.
Submitted by Erik Sandberg of NewsVoice
The mainstream media deflects attention from where power resides: corporations, not with the leaders of the free world. The arguments posed by Chris Hedges, that the U.S. is neither a democracy nor a republic but a totalitarian state that can now assassinate its citizens at will, are pertinent ones. Scary ones. Especially as consecutive governments seem equally as impotent to invoke any real change for the States. If the media won’t stand up to the marionettes who pull the strings of the conglomerates causing deep, indelible polarisation in the world abound; then so we must act. Together.
Listen to the full interview in our weekly Newsvoice Think podcast.
We were delighted to have Chris Hedges on an episode of the Newsvoice Think podcast as we seek to broadcast perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum. Right, left, red, blue and purple.
In our interview with Chris, we discussed a range of topics facing the U.S. today as the Trump administration looks back at a year in power, and forward to the November ’18 midterms where Democrats will be looking to make gains. Chris was scathing of that party describing them as a “creature of Wall Street, which is choreographed and ceased to be a proper party a long time ago.”
As a columnist with Truthdig, and a big advocate of independent media. Chris Hedges was the perfect interviewee for us to draw on the benefits of crowd-sourced journalism and the challenges facing sites at the mercy of Facebook, Google and Twitter algorithms.
Chris’s ire against the corporate interest of Facebook et al didn’t let up saying dissident voices were being shut down and that corporate oligarchs were only too happy to let them. The neutralisation of the media platforms that seek to provide independent opinion on U.S. current affairs is in full pelt.
North Korea was the hot topic in 2017. Commentators said it was like a return to the days of the Cold War. But Hedges pointed that we need to remember what happened during the Korean War — how the North was flattened by U.S. bombs — and that as a result they, as a nation, suffer from an almost psychosis as a result. Trump, he said, is an imbecile and only deals in bombast, threats and rhetoric.
Not surprisingly, Trump got it hard from Hedges. Describing his administration as a “kleptocracy” who will seek to attack immigrants and up the xenophobia stakes as it distracts and covers for the unadulterated theft of U.S. natural resources.
As young people look to estimable journalists, activists and politicians in the States to help give them a voice, Hedges sees the democratic system as utterly futile. Encouraging mass civil disobedience instead, the ex-NY Times foreign correspondent states that railroads should be blocked and shutting down corporate buildings, for example, is the only way forward.
The perennial argument between Republicans and Democrats is just that; is the U.S. a Republic or a Democracy? Hedges thinks neither. He told Newsvoice that the States is an inverted totalitarian country where the government regards the public as “irrelevant”.
Unlike Ben Wizner from the ACLU who sees hope in delaying Net Neutrality, at least until a new administration is in power, Chris feels it is hopeless — that it is a dead duck, and as Net Neutrality slows down independent media platforms, the public will be at the behest of corporate social media sites such as Facebook who’ll increasingly deem what you do and don’t read or see.
You can read more of Chris’ work at Truthdig where he has a weekly column every Monday.
From the right-wing lunatic fringe. Not the first part, the second part whereby REAL.video, the platform set to replace YouTube, will not tolerate “Libtards” by banning the videos of “communists, fascists, Marxists, left-wing lunatics and other who are unsafe to the community. This way, you won’t encounter fascist libtards on REAL.video.”
Way to go Mike Adams, you just became a right-wing ‘tard’ yourself!
By Mike Adams
April 11, 2018
YouTube, an authoritarian techno-cult run by deranged lunatic Leftists who despise free speech, has restored the Health Ranger video channel without explanation. Upon restoration, almost 100,000 subscribers were stripped from the channel as yet another “F##k You” from YouTube to content creators like me.
The message from YouTube is clear: We can ban you at any time, for any reason, without explanation, with no recourse, and even when we decide to turn your channel back on, we can just delete a third of all your followers, or do anything else we want to screw with your content and silence your voice. (Read YouTubeCensorship.com for more details on YouTube’s outrageous censorship of important voices.)
Like Facebook, Google and Twitter, YouTube has devolved into a left-wing echo chamber where rationality, logic and reason are no longer tolerated. In order to maintain a voice on any of these platforms, you must obediently kow-tow to whatever latest irrational delusion is being pushed by the Left Cult. Those who dare say rational, logical things — such as “there are only two genders” — risk having their accounts terminated and their followers scrubbed. Even the idea of pointing out that men and women have different neurology — a self-evident truth supported by exhaustive scientific study — is not allowed on these left-wing platforms run by the “Left Cult.”
Understand: Logic, science and biological reality are considered “offensive” by the deranged, lunatic Left. And they will ban you for uttering obvious truths such as “children are born as males or females, not ‘undecided’ genders to be ‘assigned’ by doctors at birth.”
If YouTube is trying to win back favor among the tens of millions of users who are being silenced and terminated, they’re too late: The video platform has already lost all credibility.
Even if YouTube reverses its outrageous banning of conservative and libertarian accounts, the world already knows that YouTube can never be trusted again. They can ban your channel at any time, without justification, without explanation and without recourse. YouTube represents true authoritarian evil on the ‘net, and people are fleeing the left-wing platform in droves.
That’s why I’ve announced REAL.video, an alternative to YouTube that protects the free speech of pro-liberty voices. This upcoming video community launches July 4th, and already more than 16,000 people have requested content channels on REAL.video. (Go there now to request yours.)
Almost every day, I’m hearing from people who are being banned by YouTube. They’re telling me, “PLEASE launch REAL.video sooner than July 4th.” Building a massive video community isn’t something that can be done overnight, unfortunately, so it’s going to take a few months to do this right. But the wait will be worth it! REAL.video is being built to:
This is sort of obvious at this point, but none of us can trust YouTube, Google, Facebook or Twitter as “neutral” platforms anymore. We must actively seek out alternatives such as GAB.ai, REAL.video and MeWe.
Even then, we have to be certain that the people who launch and operate these alternative platforms are committed to liberty and freedom, or else they will be easily bought out, compromised or overrun by the left-wing cult that has zero tolerance for actual free speech.
That’s why people are flocking to REAL.video to request content channels there. They know how I’ve been personally attacked, censored, smeared, vilified and death-threated by the Left Cult, and they know how deeply I’m committed to the First Amendment, Second Amendment and individual liberty.
No corporation can compete with the power of sheer passion and personal commitment. While YouTube devolves into a cesspool of left-wing lunacy run by unimaginably stupid libtards who despise real speech, REAL.video will be the new home for genuine free speech on the internet. (That’s also why it will be viciously attacked, DDoS-bombed, smeared and blocked in every way imaginable, just like GAB.ai.)
Request a content channel now at REAL.video. Most importantly, save all your video files so you can begin uploading as we start approving accounts in June.
Bottom line? F##k YouTube. They have no relevance whatsoever for the future of freedom. Every intelligent person should be “re-platforming” right now to get off YouTube, Google, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. New alternatives are being launched this year. Stop feeding evil with your participation. Make a choice to stand for online freedom.
by: JD Heyes
March 12, 2018
In recent weeks independent and alternative media outlets and their content creators have been sounding the alarm over censorship actions undertaken by Left-leaning social media giants like Facebook, YouTube, Google, Twitter, and others.
In many instances, the social media sites weren’t just censoring content, they were taking down entire channels and with them removing complete video and content libraries that often contained hundreds or thousands of programs — all under the guise of ‘combating hate speech’ and ‘fake news.’
Targets of this censorship included Natural News Network founder/editor Mike Adams, whose Health Ranger channel on YouTube has been completely eradicated. Also included was Alex Jones, creator of InfoWars.com.
Their warnings were met with criticism, doubt, and derision in many media quarters, but as it turns out, they were not only right, they were just the tip of the censorship iceberg. As noted by investigative journalist Ben Swann via All News Pipeline, there is indeed a concerted effort by the Alt-Left social media giants to deep-six conservative, independent voices of liberty as part of an overall effort to silence their voices. (Related: Health Ranger announces Real.Video as “the answer to YouTube censorship” … bypass tyranny and censorship with p2p file sharing.)
“Is there an Internet purge of conservative voices or voices of dissension online?” Swann begins in a recent “Reality Check” report on the issue. “Some say yes, and the purge is being pushed by YouTube, owned by Google, by Facebook, and by Twitter.”
Swann then went on to note that, in Jones’ case, he set up an alternative YouTube channel after his original channel was shut down for the third time in one week by the site’s regulators — only to have the far-Left Southern Poverty Law Center demand that the new one be shut down as well.
The Reality Check host said YouTube did confirm that some advertisers asked not to be included on Jones’ channel, but that “at present” there were no plans to pull it offline.
“Of course, all of this comes after YouTube announced in December that it would hire some 10,000 new moderators to flag content,” Swann reported. “And those moderators have been flagging at a stunning rate.”
He noted further that in several cases the moderators were pulling entire channels “without any advance warning” whatsoever, and that most of those channels were deemed “either pro-gun or conservative.”
Swann quoted a report from The Verge which said:
YouTube indicated that as the platform ramps up human-powered moderation efforts, new moderators may have mistakenly removed or flagged right-wing videos and channels. Bloomberg reported the news…quoting a YouTube spokesperson saying that “as we work to hire rapidly and ramp up our policy enforcement teams throughout 2018, newer members may misapply some of our policies resulting in mistaken removals.” The spokesperson said that YouTube’s policies had not changed, and that “we’ll reinstate any videos removed in error.”
To date, the original Alex Jones and Health Ranger/Natural News channels on YouTube remain offline, leading rational people to believe that suddenly the content on those channels are a violation of “YouTube policies” — otherwise they’d have been reinstated by now.
“Ah, so it’s not a conspiracy,” Swann reported. “There is no question that, in fact, human moderators were pulling down ‘right-wing’ or conservative content. The question is why.”
Swann then recounted that a 30-second video of an actual Antifa protest — where demonstrators were calling for armed action against opponents — posted by fellow investigative journalist Mike Cernovich was also removed as a “violation” of “community policies.”
“No, YouTube, that’s news,” Swann said, before noting that Adams’ and Jones’ channels have also been removed.
Swann’s investigation found evidence of a coordinated effort by Alt-Left groups SPLC and Media Matters for America to silence conservative voices — to ban them from the public area of ideas — just like the Nazis once burned books and Stalin purged his country of intellectuals who could challenge his authority.
There is a sustained purge taking place, and it has become obvious.
Help us fight social media censorship — bookmark Censored.news today and never miss an important story!
J.D. Heyes is editor of The National Sentinel and a senior writer for Natural News and News Target.
It has begun, the exodus from the censored sites. It will take time but we must encourage it. As most of you know, I take quite a few stories from antimedia and will follow them on steemit. I am opening an account right after this post. Hopefully, this might replace the social media monopolies we are infected with.
March 7, 2018
is rapidly increasing, as Google-owned YouTube has been carrying out a censorship blitz to strike many long-standing, hugely popular channels from its platform. Alphabet-Google-YouTube is a giant corporation, and corporations are run for one purpose (profit), so from one perspective, this censorship spree seems self-defeating, since they are deleting many popular channels. Some of these had huge followings of between 100,000 and 500,000 (or more), which may cost YouTube money in the short term. However, to understand this censorship purge you need to understand that the Hidden Hand or the dark force which controls the New World Order also controls Alphabet-Google-Youtube, and is clearly using its reach and power to suppress alternative thought.
At first glance, it may seem fair that social media giants like YouTube get to censor people, because they are private companies not public/government companies, right? It’s their platform, right? Not exactly. These social media companies are more like private-public partnerships. They would never have gotten off the ground were it not for the government’s seed money, especially through MIC agencies like DARPA and the CIA. Additionally, these companies are given massive tax breaks every year. Alphabet-Google in particular has a very close relationship with the US Government. Is it fair for these companies to take so much public help and support, then turn around and disregard the right to free speech as enshrined in the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution and elsewhere?
Make no mistake about their actions; this is censorship, pure and simple. The censored YouTube channels were all given fake pretexts and false reasons, but the pattern of censorship is undeniable. Alphabet-Google-YouTube found ways to delete entire channels on the basis that they were breaking YouTube’s nebulous “community guidelines”, or that they were in breach of copyright (relying on allegations of accusers). For some or many of these, YouTube even went back 3+ years to find some piece of supposedly incriminating evidence in a video that had previously been perfectly fine. Any excuse will do.
In a similar vein, the Facebook account of David Icke (with 700,000+ followers) mysteriously disappeared and was taken down for over a week before being magically reinstated. Facebook later said it was a “mistake.” Sure it was. Everyone in the Alternative Media / Independent Media is now fully aware that if they haven’t already been censored, they are about to be. It’s only a matter of time as the Establishment, via its Establishment platforms, purges any anti-Establishment view.
Every crisis has an opportunity, and although this censorship purge will affect the Independent Media in the short term, there are good things to come from it. Firstly, it will force alternative content creators to migrate away from the giant corporate platforms to other places where their views, writing, speech, art and content will never be censored. Many great platforms already exist which are trying to find ways to reward content creators, such as Minds and Steemit. Secondly, as we shall see below, the NWO censors are overplaying their hand by purging so much; the list of censored YouTube channels reveals a pattern of content. So now we can see what they don’t want us to know …
Thanks to Reddit, we have this list of censored YouTube channels that was posted on March 1st, 2018. Since then, other YouTube channels have been deleted (such as Natural News / Mike Adams). Some of the channels have been reinstated, but the writing is on the wall; it’s only a matter of time before they get permanently scrapped. Here is the list:
As soon as I saw this list, I immediately recognized many of these channels as superb content providers. The owners of these channels are undoubtedly free thinkers willing to push the boundary of what is known and question everything.
Some very interesting themes emerge. Apparently, these are the topics that the NWO manipulators would rather you didn’t think about:
– False Flag shootings, including False Flag Hoaxes (Free Radio Revolution Revived, Peekay, Peekay Boston, The Paulstaul Service)
– Flat Earth (Eric Dubai, aplaintruth)
– Nanotechnology/Bioweapons, Directed Energy Weapons (aplaintruth)
– Gematria (Gematrianator)
– Space fakery / Moon as a Hologram (Crow777 [whom I interviewed here], Russian vids)
– Various Aspects of the Global Conspiracy, e.g. Zionism, Geopolitics, Extraterrestrials and the Hidden History of Humanity (Jim Marrs, Richie Allen show, MLordandGod, Destroying the Illusion)
– Fake News (FAKE NEWS REPORT)
– Satanism, Hollywood, Pedophilia (Jay Myers, who process quality conspiracy analysis)
Yes, Alphabet-Google-YouTube has a distinct leftwing bias, due to its own ideology (as exposed in the incident where Google fired James Damore), and has been employing the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center, Rothschild connected) to purge rightwing channels. However, this censorship blitz is far beyond left vs. right. It’s all about limiting the possible range of human thought to keep the Control System in place.
Let’s use this purge of censored YouTube channels to find better platforms that decentralize power, reward content creators and pledge to support free speech no matter what. There is no reason we have to let the unlimited diversity of the internet – and the unlimited diversity of humanity – be stymied and controlled, or funneled into giant megalithic platforms that only seek to serve the Establishment.
Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news site The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com, writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwide conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance.
by: Mike Adams
Saturday, March 03, 2018
(Natural News) In the latest gross violation of free speech committed by radical left-wing tech giants, YouTube has now deleted the entire Health Ranger video channel, wiping out over 1,700 videos covering everything from nutrition, natural medicine, history, science and current events.
Over the last two weeks, YouTube has been on a censorship rampage that’s apparently run by the SPLC, a radical left-wing hate group that despises Christianity, the Second Amendment and patriots in particular. Hundreds of prominent conservative video channels have been targeted for termination by YouTube, leading many independent media leaders like myself to call for government regulation of YouTube to protect free speech and end the tyranny.
“It’s just so ironic because our videos are getting flagged for harassment and bullying… That’s the excuse they use to take them down, and eventually take the channel down,” explained Paul Joseph Watson in a Breitbart News Daily interview.
“Conservatives across the internet – including Christian and pro-Second Amendment groups – are being banned by the anti-free speech authoritarians at Google, YouTube, and Facebook in a concerted effort to shut down points of view they don’t agree with,” warns InfoWars, which was also banned at nearly the same time as the Health Ranger account. UPDATE: Alex Jones has posted a new video today, detailing that the official InfoWars channel has received three strikes and has been “frozen.” He believes the complete termination of the channel by YouTube is imminent:
What you need to understand about what’s happening is that this is the opening salvo of an actual war that the Left will soon take kinetic. First, they silence all the pro-America voices across the ‘net. Then they stage another mass shooting false flag and use it to abolish the Second Amendment. At this point, you have no First Amendment rights left, and you have no Second Amendment ability to defend yourself against left-wing tyrants. From here, they then fabricate fake accusations against their political targets and call for their arrest, knowing that people who have been silenced have no way to defend themselves against false accusations, as they’ve all been silenced by decree.
The evil Left won’t stop at merely silencing their political opponents, of course. They won’t even stop at taking away all your firearms. What they ultimately want is to steal your country out from under you and turn America into a left-wing totalitarian regime… a police state where all dissenting views are criminalized and oppressed.
The Orwellian “thought control” police state is here NOW, as demonstrated by YouTube’s take down of the entire Health Ranger channel for no justifiable reason whatsoever. Yet the Health Ranger account is just one of hundreds (or thousands) that have been terminated in the last two weeks by YouTube totalitarians. This means something much bigger is coming, and they want to make sure the independent media is silenced and unable to speak… (my prediction is that a massive false flag attack is being planned that will double down on the call to abolish the Second Amendment).
Help us fight back against YouTube censorship and totalitarian oppression. Here are some actions you can take:
1) Tweet @YouTube and @TeamYouTube to denounce their censorship. Let them know how much you appreciate the Health Ranger channel.
2) Call on your members of Congress to launch a civil rights investigation into YouTube, Facebook, Google and other tech giants. Their tyranny needs to be called out, and YouTube needs to be regulated to halt their out-of-control censorship.
3) Download and install the Natural News App that brings you videos, articles and podcasts, bypassing Google / YouTube censorship.
3) Help support our YouTube alternative website, which will be announced next week on the Alex Jones show. We are building a video community where the free speech of patriots is protected and honored. Ultimately, this video project can help make YouTube increasingly obsolete.
4) Help support us financially by shopping at HealthRangerStore.com which offers over 600+ lab-verified products for healthy living and self-reliance. We will need your funding support to fund attorneys as part of our legal effort against YouTube and other techno-totalitarians that have now declared total war on free speech.
Most of all, realize that you are now living in a content police state where the techno-giants are literally “memory holing” all the content channels they don’t like. This is not happening by sheer coincidence… it’s all part of a plan to silence conservatives, commit election fraud at the mid-terms, steal the election, impeach Trump and repeal the Second Amendment. Once all that’s accomplished, the call for the mass arrest or mass killing of conservatives will be unleashed by the deranged Left which has been driven into a mindless, seething anger by the propaganda puppet masters.
The war for America has begun, and YouTube has chosen to side of tyranny. We need you to join us in standing for truth, freedom and the ability to think for yourself. Share this post everywhere.