FreeSpeech and Censorship: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Thu Nov 3 16:13:25 PDT 2022

Meet The Consortium Imposing The Growing Censorship Regime

Glenn Greenwald
The Consortium Imposing the Growing Censorship Regime -- and Our New
Live, Prime-Time Rumble Program
We are launching a new live, one-hour, prime-time news broadcast.
Armed with cable-sized budgets, it will be part of a network that
Russell Brand has already debuted.
Glenn Greenwald
Oct 28

Clockwise from top left: UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced
Technology speaks during the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Forum in
Dubai, on March 28, 2022 (Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images);
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Photo by Salwan Georges/The
Washington Post via Getty Images); Google headquarters (Photo by
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images); The Comcast/NBC
Universal building in Los Angeles, CA (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles
Times via Getty Images);

The rapid escalation of online censorship, and increasingly offline
censorship, cannot be overstated. The silencing tactic that has most
commonly provoked attention and debate is the banning of particular
posts or individuals by specific social media platforms. But the
censorship regime that has been developed, and which is now rapidly
escalating, extends far beyond those relatively limited punishments.
The Consortium of State and Corporate Power

There has been some reporting — by me and others — on the new and
utterly fraudulent “disinformation” industry. This newly minted,
self-proclaimed expertise, grounded in little more than crude
political ideology, claims the right to officially decree what is
“true” and "false” for purposes of, among other things, justifying
state and corporate censorship of what its “experts” decree to be
"disinformation.” The industry is funded by a consortium of a small
handful of neoliberal billionaires (George Soros and Pierre Omidyar)
along with U.S., British and EU intelligence agencies. These
government-and-billionaire-funded “anti-disinformation” groups often
masquerade under benign-sounding names: The Institute for Strategic
Dialogue, The Atlantic Council's Digital Forensics Research Lab,
Bellingcat, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. They
are designed to cast the appearance of apolitical scholarship, but
their only real purpose is to provide a justifying framework to
stigmatize, repress and censor any thoughts, views and ideas that
dissent from neoliberal establishment orthodoxy. It exists, in other
words, to make censorship and other forms of repression appear
scientific rather than ideological.

That these groups are funded by the West's security state, Big Tech,
and other assorted politically active billionaires is not speculation
or some fevered conspiracy theory. For various legal reasons, they are
required to disclose their funders, and these facts about who finances
them are therefore based on their own public admissions. So often the
financing is funneled through well-established front groups for CIA,
the State Department and the U.S. National Security State, such as
“National Endowment for Democracy.”

As has always happened with censor-happy tyrants throughout history,
the more centers of power inject themselves with the intoxicating rush
of silencing their adversaries, the more intense the next hit has to
be. Every movement that has wielded censorship as a political weapon
tells itself the same story to justify it. In ordinary times, they
will casually recite, free speech is a vital value. But these are no
ordinary times in which we are living. Our enemies and their ideas are
different. They are uniquely hateful, false, inflammatory, and
dangerous. The ideas they espouse will destabilize society, cause
direct harm to others, deceive people, and incite violence against
institutions of authority and their followers. Thus, they reason, we
are actually not censoring at all. We are simply preventing evil
people from doing harm to society, the government, and to citizens.

Look to any government or society in which censorship prevailed —
either today or throughout history. This narrative about why
censorship is not just justified but morally necessary is always
present. Nobody wants to think of themselves as a censorship
supporter. They need to be supplied with a story about why they are
something different, or at least why the censorship they are led to
support is uniquely justified.

And it works because, in the most warped sense possible, it appeals to
reason. If one really believes, as millions of American liberals do,
that the U.S. faces two and only two choices — either (1) elect
Democrats and ensure they rule or (2) live under a white nationalist
fascist dictatorship — then of course such people will believe that
media disinformation campaigns, censorship, and other forms of
authoritarianism are necessary to ensure Democrats win and their
opponents are vanquished. Once that self-glorifying rationale is
embraced — our adversaries do not merely disagree with us but cause
harm with the expression of their views — then the more suppression,
the better. And that is exactly what is happening now.
Banishment From the Financial System

One of the latest, and perhaps most disturbing, new frontiers of
censorship is the escalating means of excluding citizens from the
financial system as extra-judicial punishment for expressing views or
engaging in political activism disapproved of by establishment power.
In one sense, this is not new.

In 2012, I co-founded the group Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF)
— along with the Oscar-winning CitizenFour director Laura Poitras,
Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others. The creation
of that group was in response to the 2010 demands made by then-Sen.
Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), in his capacity as Chairman of the Senate
Homeland Security Committee, along with other war hawks in both
parties, that financial services companies such as the online payment
processor PayPal, credit card companies MasterCard and Visa, and the
Bank of America all terminated the accounts of WikiLeaks as punishment
for the group's publication of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs: a
trove of documents which proved systemic war crimes and lying by the
U.S. Security State and its allies. Watching U.S. national security
state officials pressure and coerce private companies over which they
exert regulatory control to destroy their journalistic critics is
exactly what is done in the tyrannies we are all conditioned to

All of those corporations obeyed, thus preventing WikiLeaks from
collecting donations from the public even though the group had never
been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes. Amazon then
booted WikiLeaks off of its hosting platform, removing the group from
the internet for weeks. This was nothing less than extra-legal
banishment of WikiLeaks from the financial system. We created FPF in
order to circumvent that ban by collecting donations for WikiLeaks and
then passing those funds to the group. When I announced the group's
creation in a 2012 Guardian article, and while reporting on these
pressure campaigns against WikiLeaks in a separate Guardian article, I
explained how dangerous it would be if the U.S. Government could
simply prohibit any journalistic groups it dislikes from participating
in the financial system without even charging them with a crime:

    So this was a case where the US government - through affirmative
steps and/or approving acquiescence to criminal, sophisticated
cyber-attacks - all but destroyed the ability of an adversarial group,
convicted of no crime, to function on the internet. Who would possibly
consider that power anything other than extremely disturbing? What
possible political value can the internet serve, or journalism
generally, if the US government, outside the confines of law, is
empowered - as it did here - to cripple the operating abilities of any
group which meaningfully challenges its policies and exposes its
wrongdoing?. . . In sum, [by forming FPF], will render impotent the
government's efforts to use its coercive pressure over corporations to
suffocate not only WikiLeaks but any other group it may similarly
target in the future.

Last week — in response to numerous reports this year of PayPal's
expanding use of expulsion from the financial system as punishment for
what it deems “extremist” political views and activities — the tech
investor Stephen Cole recalled this then-unprecedented 2010 silencing
campaign against WikiLeaks that was led by PayPal. Cole wrote: “I was
an engineer at eBay/PayPal when PayPal censored donations to Wikileaks
in 2010. That’s the first time I remember wondering… are we sure we’re
the good guys?”
Twitter avatar for @sthenc
Stephen Cole @sthenc
I was an engineer at eBay/PayPal when PP censored donations to
Wikileaks in 2010. That’s the first time I remember wondering… “are we
sure we’re the good guys?” 🤔
9:39 PM ∙ Oct 8, 2022

Back in 2010, this ominous tactic was depicted as just a one-time
exception, an isolated case for a particularly threatening group
(WikiLeaks). But in the last year, there is no question that exclusion
from the financial system is becoming the tool of choice for Western
censors in both the public and private sector, who work together —
just as Big Tech and the U.S. Security State do — to identify and
punish dissidents too dangerous to be permitted to speak.

The most alarming harbinger of this tactic came in February of this
year when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued an emergency
decree granting himself the power to freeze the bank accounts of any
Canadian citizen who he determined, in his sole discretion, was
participating in or otherwise supporting the truckers’ protest against
vaccine mandates and passports. As a result of Trudeau's extraordinary
seizure of unchecked power, “Canadian banks froze about $7.8 million
(US $6.1 million) in just over 200 accounts under emergency powers
meant to end protests in Ottawa and at key border crossings.” The BBC
called this tactic “unprecedented,” as it empowers the Prime Minister
to freeze the personal bank accounts of anyone “linked with the
protests …. with no need for court orders.” If it is not considered
"despotic” for a political leader to wield the power to unilaterally
seize the personal funds of citizens as punishment for peaceful
protests against the government's policies, then nothing is.

But this tactic worked to end the peaceful protest which Trudeau
opposed — people cannot survive if they cannot access their funds or
participate in the financial system — and it is thus now being
aggressively expanded. Perhaps the leading weaponizer is PayPal. Last
year, PayPal announced a new partnership with the Anti-Defamation
League (ADL), a once-respected group that battled anti-Semitism and
defended universal civil liberties, before becoming yet another
standard liberal Democratic Party activist group devoted to censoring
adversaries of neoliberal orthodoxy (the ADL has, just as one example,
repeatedly demanded the firing of America's most-watched host on cable
news, Fox News's Tucker Carlson). The stated purpose of this
PayPal/ADL partnership was “to investigate how extremist and hate
movements in the United States take advantage of financial platforms
to fund their criminal activities,” with the ultimate goal of
“uncovering and disrupting the financial flows supporting [what the
ADL claims are] white supremacist and anti-government organizations.”

But predictably — indeed, by design — this “partnership” was nothing
more than an ennobling disguise to enable PayPal to begin terminating
all sorts of accounts of people and businesses who expressed political
views disliked by its executives. Over the past year, a wide range of
individuals have had their PayPal accounts canceled due solely to
disapproved political views and activism.

The lesbian activist Jaimee Michell was notified by PayPal last month
that the account of her activist group, Gays Against Groomers, was
being immediately canceled due to unspecified rules violations.
Moments later, the group — created by gay men and lesbians to oppose
attempts by trans activists to teach trans dogma and highly
controversial gender ideology to young schoolchildren — was notified
that their account with PayPal's subsidiary, Venmo, was also canceled
immediately, leaving them with few options to continue to collect
donations. Around the same time, the British anti-woke and right-wing
commentator Toby Young, who had created a group called the Free Speech
Union to oppose speech-based cancellations of accounts, was notified
by PayPal that the group's account, used to accept donations, was also
being cancelled; though PayPal refused to notify Young of the reason
for the cancellation, it told The Daily Mail "it was trying to balance
‘protecting the ideals of tolerance, diversity and respect’ with the
values of free expression.”

At the time of his PayPal expulsion, Young had become a vocal opponent
of the U.K. Government's escalating involvement in the war in Ukraine.
Two of the sites on which this long-time right-wing figure relied for
his opposition to NATO involvement in Ukraine were MintPress and
Consortium News, two populist left-wing sites long devoted to anti-war
and anti-imperialism policies. Several months earlier, those two
anti-establishment left-wing sites were notified by PayPal that their
accounts were being immediately closed, and that the balances in their
account would be seized and may never be returned. PayPal refused to
tell either news site, or Coinbase, which reported on the account
closures, what its reasons were. It was just an arbitrary decree by
unseen authorities who not only closed their accounts but threatened
to seize their donations without bothering to provide a reason. Now
that is real tyrannical power. MintPress writer Alan MacLeod said that
“this is a warning shot fired at anyone even remotely
antiestablishment,” adding that “alternative media operations run on
shoestring budgets and rely on enormous corporations like PayPal to
operate correctly. If they can do this to us, they can do it to you.”

Earlier this month, PayPal announced that it would fine account
holders $2,500 if, in PayPal's sole discretion, it was determined that
those users were guilty of “promoting misinformation.” In other words,
PayPal would just steal their own users’ funds from their account as
extra-judicial punishment for the expression of views that PayPal —
presumably working in conjunction with liberal activists groups such
as ADL and billionaire-funded “disinformation experts” — decrees to be
false or otherwise unacceptable. When this new policy provoked far
more anger than PayPal evidently anticipated, they claimed it was all
just a big mistake — as if some PayPal computer on its own
accidentally manufactured a policy advising users about this seizure
of funds. Regardless of whether PayPal returns to this policy — and
there are, as Forbes noted, some unconfirmed reports that it is
starting to do so — the intent is clear, because it is so consistent
with so many other new frameworks: fortifying a multi-faceted regime
of state and corporate power to silence and punish dissent.
Union of Big Tech, U.S. Security State and Corporate Media Giants

In May, the Department of Homeland Security's attempted appointment of
a clearly deranged partisan fanatic, Nina Jankowicz, to effectively
serve as “disinformation czar” sparked intense backlash. But liberal
media corporations — always the first to jump to the defense of the
U.S. Security State — in unison maligned the resulting anger over this
audacious appointment as “itself disinformation,” without ever
identifying anything false that was alleged about Jankowicz or the DHS

Though anger over this classically Orwellian program was obviously
merited — it was, after all, an attempt to assign to the U.S. National
Security State the power to issue official decrees about truth and
falsity — that anger sometimes obscured the real purpose of the
creation of this government program. This was not some aberrational
attempt by the Biden administration to arrogate unto itself a wholly
new and unprecedented power. It instead was just the latest puzzle
piece in the multi-pronged scheme — created by a union of U.S.
Security State agencies, Democratic Party politicians, liberal
billionaires, and liberal media corporations — to construct and
implement a permanent and enduring system to control the flow of
information to Western populations. As importantly, these tools will
empower them to forcibly silence and otherwise punish anyone who
expresses dissent to their orthodoxies or meaningful opposition to
their institutional interests.

That these state and corporate entities collaborate to control the
internet is now so well-established that it barely requires proof. One
of the first and most consequential revelations from the Snowden
reporting was that the leading Big Tech companies — including Google,
Apple and Facebook — were turning over massive amounts of data about
their users to the National Security Agency (NSA) without so much as a
warrant under the state/corporate program called PRISM. A newly
obtained document by Revolver News’ Darren Beattie reveals that
Jankowicz has worked since 2015 on programs to control
“disinformation” on the internet in conjunction with a horde of
national security state officials, billionaire-funded NGOs, and the
nation's largest media corporations. Ample reporting, including here,
has revealed that many of Big Tech's most controversial censorship
policies were implemented at the behest of the U.S. Government and the
Democratic-controlled Congress that openly threatens regulatory and
legal reprisals for failure to comply.
Wall Street Journal Editorial, Sept. 9, 2022

Every newly declared crisis — genuine or contrived — is immediately
seized upon to justify all new levels and types of online censorship,
and increasingly more and more offline punishment. One of the core
precepts of the Russiagate hysteria was that Trump won with the help
of Russia because there were insufficient controls in place over what
kind of information could be heard by the public, leading to new
groups devoted to "monitoring” what they deem disinformation and new
policies from media outlets to censor reporting of the type that
WikiLeaks provided about the DNC and Clinton campaign in 2016. This
censorship frenzy culminated in the still-shocking decision by Twitter
and Facebook to censor The New York Post's reporting on Joe Biden's
activities in China and Ukraine based on documents from Hunter Biden's
laptop that most media outlets now acknowledge were entirely authentic
— all justified by a CIA lie, ratified by media outlets, that these
documents were “Russian disinformation.”

The riot at the Capitol on January 6 was used in similar ways, though
this time not merely to un-person dissidents from the internet but
also to use Big Tech's monopoly power to destroy the then-most-popular
app in the country (Parler) followed by the banning of the sitting
elected President himself, an act so ominous that even governments
hostile to Trump — in France, Germany, Mexico and beyond — warned of
how threatening it was to democracy to allow private monopolies to ban
even elected leaders from the internet. Liberal outlets such as The
New Yorker began openly advocating for internet censorship under
headlines such as “The National-Security Case for Fixing Social

The COVID pandemic ushered in still greater amounts of censorship.
Anyone who urged people to use masks at the start of the pandemic was
accused of spreading dangerous disinformation because Dr. Anthony
Fauci and the WHO insisted at the time that masks were useless or
worse. When Fauci and WHO decided masks were an imperative, anyone
questioning that decree by insisting that cloth masks were ineffective
— the exact view of Fauci and WHO just weeks earlier — was banned from
Big Tech platforms for spreading disinformation; such bans by Google
included sitting U.S. Senators who themselves are medical doctors.
>From the start of the pandemic, it was prohibited to question whether
the COVID virus may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan — until the Biden
administration itself asked that question and ordered an investigation
to find out, at which point Facebook and other platforms reversed
themselves and announced that it was now permissible to ask this
question since the U.S. Government itself was doing so.

In sum, government agencies and Big Tech monopolies exploited the
two-year COVID pandemic to train Western populations to accept as
normal the rule that the only views permitted to be heard were those
which fully aligned with the views expressed by institutions of state
authority. Conversely, anyone dissenting from or even questioning such
institutional decrees stood accused of spreading "disinformation” and
was deemed unfit to be heard on the internet. As a result, blatant
errors and clear lies stood unchallenged for months because people
were conditioned that any challenging of official views would result
in punishment.

We are now at the point where every crisis is seized upon to usher in
all-new forms of censorship. The war in Ukraine has resulted in
escalations of censorship tactics that would have been unimaginable
even a year or two ago. The EU enacted legislation legally prohibiting
any European company or individual from broadcasting Russian
state-owned broadcasters (including RT and Sputnik). While such legal
coercion would (for now) almost certainly be banned in the U.S. as a
violation of the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech and free
press rights, non-EU companies that decided in the name of open debate
to allow RT to be heard — such as Rumble — have faced a torrent of
threats, pressure campaigns, media attacks and various forms of

One of the easiest and surest ways to be banned these days from Big
Tech platforms is to reject the core pieties of the CIA/NATO/EU view
of the war in Ukraine, even if that dissent entails simply affirming
the very views which Western media outlets spent a decade itself
endorsing, until completely changing course at the start of the war —
such as the fact that the Ukrainian military is dominated by neo-Nazi
battalions such as Azov, especially in the Eastern part of the
country. Regardless of one's views on the Biden administration's
involvement in this war, surely it requires little effort to see how
dangerous it is to try to impose a full-scale blackout on challenges
to U.S. war policy, especially given the warning by Biden himself that
this war has brought the world closer to nuclear armageddon than at
any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

It cannot be overstated how closely aligned Big Tech censorship is
with the agenda of the U.S. Security State. And it is not hard to
understand why. Google and Amazon receive billions in contracts from
the CIA, NSA and Pentagon, and, as we reported here in April, the most
vocal lobbyists working to preserve Big Tech monopoly power are former
Security State operatives. Illustrating this alignment, Facebook — at
the start of the war in Ukraine — implemented an exception to its rule
banning praise for Nazi groups by exempting the Azov Battalion and
other neo-Nazi Ukrainian militias.

This regime of censorship is anything but arbitrary. Its core function
is to shield propaganda that emanates from ruling class centers of
power from critique, challenge and opposition. It is designed to
ensure that Western populations hear only the assertions and
proclamations of state and corporate elites, while their adversaries
and critics are at best marginalized (with warnings labels and other
indicia of discredit) or banned outright.
Pro-Censorship Corporate “Journalists”

No discussion of this growing and limitlessly dangerous censorship
regime would be complete without noting that central role played by
the West's largest media corporations and their largely-millennial,
censorship-obsessed liberal employees who bear the deceitful corporate
Human Resources job title of “journalist.” The most beloved
journalists of modern-day American liberalism are not those who
divulge the secret crimes of CIA, or the chronic lies that emanate
from the Pentagon and other arms of the U.S.'s endless war machine, or
monopolistic abuses of Big Tech. Indeed, journalists who do that work
— challenging and exposing the secrets of actual power centers — are
the ones most hated by liberals in light of their adoration for those
institutions. That is what explains their support for Julian Assange's
ongoing imprisonment and Edward Snowden's ongoing exile as the only
way to avoid the same fate as Assange is suffering.

Today's journalistic icons of American liberalism are not those who
confront establishment power but rather serve it: by relentlessly
attacking ordinary citizens as punishment for expressing views
declared off-limits by these journalists' establishment masters. As I
have previously reported, there is a horde of corporate employees at
media behemoths with the classic mindset of servants of petty tyrants,
whose only function — and passion — is to troll the internet searching
for upsetting dissent, and then agitate for its removal by centers of
corporate powers: NBC News’ disinformation unit employees Ben Collins
and Brandy Zadrozny; The Washington Post's “online culture” columnist
Taylor Lorenz; and the New York Times’ tech reporters (Mike Isaac,
Ryan Mac and countless others). At the time I first reported on what
they are assigned to do, I dubbed this “tattletale journalism": the
fixation with demanding the immediate cessation of “unfettered
conversations” and the constant attempt to confront and expose
ordinary citizens for the crime of expressing prohibited views
Clockwise from top left: censorship advocates Brandy Zadrozny (NBC
News’ "disinformation unit”); Taylor Lorenz (The Washington Post); Ben
Collins (NBC News’ "disinformation unit”); and Ryan Mac (The New York
Times tech unit)

.In September, Matthew Price, CEO of Cloudflare — a major tech company
that provides services constituting the backbone of the internet,
including security protections — refused to capitulate to the pressure
campaign to cancel the site called KiwiFarms. The cancellation demands
were based in the claim that the forum was allowing "harassment” and
doxing of a Twitch streamer named "Keffals,” whom Lorenz in The
Washington Post — under the headline “The trans Twitch star delivering
news to a legion of LGBTQ teens” — had months earlier christened the
Patron Saint of Trans Victimhood. Price, the CEO, warned that because
Cloudflare is a security company and a hosting service, not a social
media site, it would be extremely dangerous for them to start closing
accounts based on public dislike of the content that appears on those
sites. This is how he explains the company's steadfast refusal to
capitulate to censorship demands — such cancellations, he explained,
would be akin to demanding that AT&T refuse telephone service to
right-wing commentators by arguing that they use their telephones to
spread harmful views:

    Some argue that we should terminate these services to content we
find reprehensible so that others can launch attacks to knock it
offline. That is the equivalent argument in the physical world that
the fire department shouldn't respond to fires in the homes of people
who do not possess sufficient moral character. Both in the physical
world and online, that is a dangerous precedent, and one that is over
the long term most likely to disproportionately harm vulnerable and
marginalized communities.

    Today, more than 20 percent of the web uses Cloudflare's security
services. When considering our policies we need to be mindful of the
impact we have and precedent we set for the Internet as a whole.
Terminating security services for content that our team personally
feels is disgusting and immoral would be the popular choice. But, in
the long term, such choices make it more difficult to protect content
that supports oppressed and marginalized voices against attacks.

But Cloudflare's refusal to capitulate to censorship advocates
infuriated NBC News’ Ben Collins — whose primary purpose in life is to
agitate for greater and more repressive control over the internet to
stifle views that deviate from establishment liberalism — and, along
with his NBC colleague and fellow censorship advocate Kat Tenbarge,
used the massive corporate platform of NBC News to pressure Cloudflare
to obey, claiming Cloudflare's refusal to censor on command endangers
trans people. Within less than 24 hours of the publication of Collins’
article — blasted to millions of people across the various platforms
owned by NBC and Collins’ corporate owner, the Comcast Corp. — the CEO
of this powerful company reversed himself, groveling before the
media's censorship advocates and vowing that this would be a one-time
exception. “This is an extraordinary decision for us to make and,
given Cloudflare's role as an Internet infrastructure provider, a
dangerous one that we are not comfortable with,” he wrote, as he
announced that he would do it anyway (it will, needless to say, be the
opposite of a one-time exception, since any millennial censor at The
Huffington Post or Vox can now easily force Cloudflare to keep
censoring by exploiting this new precedent with new articles about
their censorship target using the “worse-than-Kiwifarms” formulation).

And thus did this corporate "journalist” once again usher in a brand
new escalation in the strengthening censorship regime: tinkering with
the infrastructure of the internet to expel sites and people anathema
to liberal pieties. As usual, not just liberals but also the left
cheered this forced capitulation, as they are somehow convinced that
the world will be a better place when the power to silence voices and
ideas is in the collective hands of the U.S. Security State, their
oligarchical partners who own Big Tech, and their servants who
masquerade as "journalists” deep within the bowels of the West's
largest media corporations. Polls leave no doubt that Democrats are
vastly more supportive of internet censorship not only by large
corporations but also by the state, and that is the mindset that
asserts itself over and over to cheer these censorship schemes by the
West's most powerful institutional actors.

This is the regime of censorship whose tentacles grow each month and
whose power expands inexorably. Like all censors, the consortium that
controls and funds this regime recognizes that whoever controls the
flow of information will wield unchallenged power, and that few powers
are more potent and tyrannical than the ability to relegate one's
critics to the most distant fringes or to silence them altogether.
Our New Nightly Live Program on Rumble

Any article that simply reports on these vital developments with free
speech and systemic censorship is, by itself, journalistically
worthwhile, even necessary. With so many Western corporate journalists
supportive of or (at best) indifferent to the grave dangers this
system imposes, the truth behind this censorship regime — who is
constructing it and for what purposes — is far too rarely revealed.
Any news article reporting on the component parts of this escalating
regime would be inherently valuable.

But when it comes to this sinister regime of information control, I
long ago ceased believing it sufficient merely to report on it. I
regard the need to fight against this regime of censorship, to
destabilize and subvert it, and ultimately to defeat it as a paramount
cause, the journalistic and political cause I prioritize above all
others. Little is possible, including meaningful journalism, if we are
prevented from being heard, if our discourse is strictly controlled
and policed by the very power centers our rights allow and encourage
us to challenge. Few other values can be defended, and few other
injustices exposed and combated, if ruling class elites continue to
acquire the defining tyrannical power of information control and
silencing of dissent.

Action, not just words, is required. That is why I have been devoting
myself to supporting only those sites and companies genuinely
determined to resist pressures and other forms of coercion to censor
on behalf of Western establishment institutions, and instead to
preserve and fortify spaces for free speech and free inquiry online,
with the ability to reach large numbers of people. It does nobody any
good — other than one's adversaries — if one willingly ghettoizes
oneself into fringe and marginalized precincts. What is required is a
cause-driven commitment to free speech along with the strategic
ability to attract large audiences — and that, to me, means doing my
journalism only on platforms with a demonstrated commitment to these
values and an demonstrated ability to reach large numbers of people.

For this reason, the platforms with which I have worked over the past
two years are ones that have proven not just a willingness but an
eagerness to express defiant contempt for these censorship pressures
and an impressive commitment to ensuring free expression: Substack for
written journalism, Callin for podcasts, and Rumble for video
journalism. Each has been the target of pressure campaigns of the type
that caused the Cloudflare CEO so pathetically to reverse his own
refusal to obey censorship orders after less than a day. Each of these
platforms has refused to accede to these demands in the way that
Cloudflare and so many others before it have done. That is precisely
what is needed to subvert the growing censorship regime: people and
companies that simply refuse to obey.

Rumble in particular has been the target of intense attacks — in part
because it agreed to allow RT to broadcast on its platform in order to
protest the EU's outlawing of that network and thus incurred the wrath
of the Russia-obsessed corporate media, but also because it has
experienced massive growth largely as the result of growing anger
toward Big Tech censorship. Rumble has begun attracting not only
political commentators banished in unison by Big Tech — such as the
recent banning Andrew Tate, who promptly moved his large audience to
Rumble — but also cultural commentators and Gen Z personalities
increasingly angry at the repressive climate imposed by Google on its
YouTube platform. This is driving more and more growth to the
platform, which in turn is causing establishment media corporations to
devote more and more energy to disparaging it.
Crickey, Aug. 29, 2022

Rumble's lawsuit against Google for antitrust violations — alleging
that Google is using its market dominance of search engines to hide
Rumble videos in order to protect Google's YouTube — created a
significant win for Rumble, as we reported here in August, as the
judge refused Google's request to dismiss the lawsuit. That ruling
allows Rumble to obtain invasive discovery about how Google
manipulates its search engine algorithms, and for whose benefit.

As a result of what appeared to be the genuine commitment of Rumble's
founders to the cause of free speech and anti-censorship efforts, I
was part of a group last year — that included former Congresswoman
Tulsi Gabbard and frequent Joe Rogan guest Bridget Phetasy — which
agreed to create video journalism exclusively for that platform. Our
show, called System Update, was a great success, surpassing all of my
expectations. Several of our video broadcasts — with little
promotional budget or regularly scheduled programming — exceeded
750,000 viewers, while our shows routinely exceeded 200,000 views.
Pursuant to our agreement, we uploaded each video to YouTube several
hours after they debuted on Rumble, and with the exception of one or
two videos, the Rumble videos performed significantly better.

(Notably, The Washington Post article announcing our move attempted to
disparage Rumble as a toxic sewer of disinformation. To do so, it
cited one of those benign-sounding groups — what The Post heralded as
“the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a counter-extremism think tank
in London” — to call Rumble “one of the main platforms for conspiracy
communities and far-right communities in the U.S. and around the
world.” As I documented in a detailed video report on Rumble, that
“Institute” cited by the Post as its disinformation expert is one
funded by and serves as a partner to the U.S. and UK Security states
as well as Big Tech itself. In other words, the Post unwittingly
illustrated how this sham "disinformation” industry is weaponized by
institutions of establishment power to deceive the public into
believing that their decrees are apolitical proclamations based in
science rather than what they are: extremely politicized schemes on
behalf of Western power centers designed to make crude censorship
appear enlightened and scientific.)

This stunning success over the past year — with audience sizes that
would make many cable programs envious — has led us and Rumble to now
enter into a far more sweeping, ambitious and exciting commitment. As
part of a new live network of news shows that Rumble will host on its
platform, we will be very imminently launching a new and radically
expanded version of “System Update.” Our broadcast now will be a
one-hour, nightly news and commentary show that will air live,
exclusively on Rumble's platform, from Monday to Friday at 7:00 pm ET.
At the end of each program on Rumble, I will move to my dedicated
community page on Locals — the platform recently purchased by Rumble
that is designed to build communities of content and commentary (more
about that later) — where I will continue the live broadcast for
subscribers only, for roughly 20-30 minutes, by answering questions
about the show, engaging critiques and suggestions, and otherwise
directly interacting with our audience.

Anyone who is a paid subscriber here on Substack will have the
automatic right to also become a subscriber to our Locals community,
free of cost or charge. In other words, if you already purchased a
yearly subscription here at Substack, you will continue to have full
access to all of my written journalism here, and will also have full
access to everything we do at Locals, including the after-show that is
exclusively for audience interaction with our subscribers. However
much time you have left on your Substack subscription — for instance,
those who purchased a one-year Substack subscription in June and thus
have eight months remaining on their Substack subscription — will
automatically receive eight months of free subscription to our Locals
community. Anyone here who purchases their Substack subscription on a
monthly basis will be able to do the same on Locals.

The new network of live one-hour shows on Rumble already launched when
Russell Brand debuted his new live show, "Stay Free,” on Rumble on
September 28. Many of his shows, after less than a month, are already
attracting an audience size of 250,000 views or more (I was one of the
guests on his debut show, starting at 41:00, where we discussed the
purpose and goal of these new shows). Rumble will shortly be unveiling
other hosts who have similarly heterodox and independent views. On
September 8, The Wall Street Journal broke the story of the new
network of shows Rumble is committing to, and it includes many details
about our new upcoming program.

Our new live program was originally scheduled to launch on September
10, but was delayed due to the ongoing health crisis in my family
which I have discussed several times here. That health crisis has
unfortunately not yet resolved itself, and that makes it quite
difficult for me to commit to a concrete launch date for the show
because, to be honest, there are days when I am simply not equipped to
work, and I do not want to launch the show until I am confident I can
produce five nights of high-quality live programming.

We are, however, extremely excited by the new show. Rumble — knowing
that we need to produce very high-quality shows if we want people to
turn off CNN and other corporate television networks and watch our
shows instead — has provided very sizable production budgets. That has
allowed us to build a new state-of-the-art studio where our show will
be hosted, and to hire a large studio team to produce the show with
the same technical quality that one would expect to find on any other
prime-time television show.

Until we can commit to a definitive launch date — meaning when our
family is whole again and I am not spending significant parts of my
days speaking with teams of doctors and ICU nurses — we are instead
going to produce a “soft launch” of the show. To do that, we will very
shortly — within the next couple of weeks — begin broadcasting our
live show not yet on Rumble but on our Locals page. In other words,
for the first couple of weeks, as we work out the kinks in the show
and do the kind of test run we would do in any event, we will produce
our show for the first couple of weeks exclusively for our Substack
and Locals subscriber base. That will enable you to be part of the
process as we develop the show, to provide feedback on how to make it
better, and to begin watching what we believe and expect from the
start will be very high-quality news, reporting and commentary. I
would not put anything on the air, even as part of a “soft launch,”
that I did not have pride and belief in.

In so many ways, this show is a new and significant challenge for me.
We have committed to producing a one-hour live program five nights a
week. The show will begin with an in-depth monologue (up to twenty
minutes) that is similar in kind to the evidence-heavy presentations
we have been producing as part of our periodic System Update programs
on Rumble now. The second segment will entail an in-depth interview of
roughly twelve to fifteen minutes with a political official, a
journalist, or someone who otherwise has something original and
informative to say. The third segment will be devoted to covering the
top two or three new stories of the day — including with live
on-the-scene reporters — but we will cover these stories in a much
different way, with a different voice and perspective, than what you
would expect to see by turning on your television to watch corporate
news. And the last part of the show will consist of a regular,
rotating series of topics and segments as we transition into the live,
audience-participation after-show on Locals.

Written journalism has always been the foundation of how I participate
in our discourse and that will continue. But this new live program
will enable me to reach entirely new audiences (many people now,
especially but not only younger people, will only consume news through
video), and to do reporting and construct analyses using the most
potent technological tools. I am convinced it will do nothing but
expand the reach and impact of the journalism I already do here.

While the show will be part of a new network of shows hosted on
Rumble's platform, it is not a Rumble show. By that, I mean that —
unlike other programs that appear on television — we will not exist
within or report to any corporate management or corporate structure.
Rumble has no interest in producing news and political programming,
only in providing an ideologically-neutral and content-neutral free
speech platform that enables everyone to speak and be heard freely.
Rumble thus does not have any editorial managers or any other
executives who can be or want to be in a position of overseeing
anyone's content. Our contract provides that we have full, complete
and unlimited editorial freedom and journalistic independence; Rumble
has no desire and no ability to review any of our shows; and our
contract is guaranteed and cannot be terminated due to the
disagreement with or objections to any of our viewpoints, content or

Ultimately, no contract in the world can really guarantee one's
editorial freedom (as I learned when The Intercept brazenly violated
the contractual right I enjoyed since I co-founded the site in 2013 to
publish my reporting directly to the internet without any editorial
interference or control, editorial censorship which led me to quit and
come to Substack almost two yeas ago to this day). These kinds of
relationships require trust, and I have absolute trust in the
commitment of the founders and managers of Rumble to devote the site
to values of free speech. Even if they were not genuinely committed to
these values as a cause — and they are — they know that Rumble's
self-interest requires the fulfillment of its commitments to free
speech since the reason for Rumble's success is precisely that it is
becoming the free speech alternative to Google's YouTube.

Once we have our date for the soft-launch of our show on Locals, we
will notify all subscribers here. All one needs to access our Locals
community — and thus have exclusive viewing rights to the first couple
of weeks for our debut as well as the right to watch and participate
in the after-show on Locals — is a current Substack subscription.
Those of you who are already paid subscribers here will not need to do
anything other than opt-in to your new free Locals subscription when
we send that email announcing our launch date. But the show itself —
once it debuts in its nightly form on Rumble — will be freely
available to the public at large: no subscription required. Our
primary goal — after producing high-quality journalism and broadcast
programming — is to reach as large an audience as possible. We do not
want to be paywalled and thus reduce the reach of our work.

Complaining about, denouncing and even protesting the escalating
censorship regime in the West will not stop it or even impede its
growth. What will do so is the creation and growth of platforms that
are committed to free speech and which are fully fortified in all ways
— ideologically, politically and technologically — to resist
encroachments into our most basic right: the right to freely express
ourselves, to freely communicate with one another, and to freely
challenge, question and dissent from the policy agendas, dictates and
decrees of institutions of authority. Free speech platforms like
Rumble, and our new live nightly "System Update” program on it are,
above all else, dedicated to advancing this central cause.

To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please
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Victor J. Saxon
Writes A Person Is Smart Oct 28

Glad that you are still alive, Glenn. You are needed now more than ever.
12 replies
Feral Finster
Oct 28

The ever growing establishment calls for censorship are a sure sign of
weakness and not of strength.
28 replies
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