FreeSpeech and Censorship: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Thu Nov 3 22:56:24 PDT 2022

All the warnings, coming true...

Destroying Western Values To Defend Western Values 1984

So it turns out the US intelligence cartel has been working intimately
with online platforms to regulate the “cognitive infrastructure” of
the population.

This is according to a new investigative report by The Intercept,
based on documents obtained through leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, on
the “retooling” of the Department of Homeland Security from an agency
focused on counterterrorism to one increasingly focused on fighting
“misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation” online.

While the DHS’s hotly controversial “Disinformation Governance Board”
was shut down in response to public outcry, the Intercept report
reveals what authors Lee Fang and Ken Klippenstein describe as “an
expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms” in order
to “curb speech it considers dangerous”:

    According to a draft copy of DHS’s Quadrennial Homeland Security
Review, DHS’s capstone report outlining the department’s strategy and
priorities in the coming years, the department plans to target
“inaccurate information” on a wide range of topics, including “the
origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19
vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the
nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”

    Docs show Facebook and Twitter closely collaborating w/ Dept of
Homeland Security, FBI to police “disinfo.” Plans to expand censorship
on topics like withdrawal from Afghanistan, origins of COVID, info
that undermines trust in financial institutions.
    — Lee Fang (@lhfang) October 31, 2022

The report reveals pervasive efforts on the part of the DHS and its
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with
the FBI, to push massive online platforms like Facebook, Instagram and
Twitter to censor content in order to suppress “threats” as broad as
fomenting distrust in the US government and US financial institutions.

    “There is also a formalized process for government officials to
directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be
throttled or suppressed through a special Facebook portal that
requires a government or law enforcement email to use,” The Intercept

    “Emails between DHS officials, Twitter, and the Center for
Internet Security outline the process for such takedown requests
during the period leading up to November 2020,” says The Intercept.
“Meeting notes show that the tech platforms would be called upon to
‘process reports and provide timely responses, to include the removal
of reported misinformation from the platform where possible.’”

While these government agencies contend that they are not technically
forcing these tech platforms to remove content, The Intercept argues
that its investigation shows “CISA’s goal is to make platforms more
responsive to their suggestions,” while critics argue that
“suggestions” from immensely powerful institutions will never be taken
as mere suggestions.

“When the government suggests things, it’s not too hard to pull off
the velvet glove, and you get the mail fist,” Michigan State
University’s Adam Candeub tells The Intercept. “And I would consider
such actions, especially when it’s bureaucratized, as essentially
state action and government collusion with the platforms.”

    This is absolutely wild. The government is secretly transforming
"national security" agencies into a new Narrative Police.

    “If a foreign government sent these messages,” said the former
ACLU president, “there is no doubt we would call it censorship.”

    Read the story:
    — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 31, 2022

The current CISA chief is seen justifying this aggressive government
thought policing by creepily referring to the means people use to
gather information and form thoughts about the world as “our cognitive

    Jen Easterly, Biden’s appointed director of CISA, swiftly made it
clear that she would continue to shift resources in the agency to
combat the spread of dangerous forms of information on social media.
“One could argue we’re in the business of critical infrastructure, and
the most critical infrastructure is our cognitive infrastructure, so
building that resilience to misinformation and disinformation, I
think, is incredibly important,” said Easterly, speaking at a
conference in November 2021.

Another CISA official is seen suggesting the agency launder its
manipulations through third party nonprofits “to avoid the appearance
of government propaganda”:

    To accomplish these broad goals, the report said, CISA should
invest in external research to evaluate the “efficacy of
interventions,” specifically with research looking at how alleged
disinformation can be countered and how quickly messages spread. Geoff
Hale, the director of the Election Security Initiative at CISA,
recommended the use of third-party information-sharing nonprofits as a
“clearing house for trust information to avoid the appearance of
government propaganda.”

But as a former ACLU president tells The Intercept, if this were
happening in any government the US doesn’t like there’d be no qualms
about calling it what it is:

    “If a foreign authoritarian government sent these messages,” noted
Nadine Strossen, the former president of the American Civil Liberties
Union, “there is no doubt we would call it censorship.”

Indeed, this report is just another example of the way western powers
are behaving more and more like the autocracies they claim to despise,
all in the name of preserving the values the west purports to uphold.
As The Intercept reminds us, this business of the US government
assigning itself the responsibility of regulating America’s “cognitive
infrastructure” originated with the “allegation that Russian agents
had seeded disinformation on Facebook that tipped the 2016 election
toward Donald Trump.” To this day that agenda continues to expand into
things like plots to censor speech about the war in Ukraine.


    Hundreds of former agents of a notorious Israeli spying
organization are now working in key positions at the world’s biggest
tech/comms corporations, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

    My new investigation for @MintPressNews:
    — Alan MacLeod (@AlanRMacLeod) October 31, 2022

Other examples of this trend coming out at the same time include Alan
MacLeod’s new report with Mintpress News that hundreds of former
agents from the notorious Israeli spying organization Unit 8200 are
now working in positions of influence at major tech companies like
Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon (just the latest in MacLeod’s
ongoing documentation of the way intelligence insiders have been
increasingly populating the ranks of Silicon Valley platforms), and
the revelation that The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté were
barred from participating in a Web Summit conference due to pressure
from the Ukrainian government.

We’re destroying western values to defend western values. To win its
much-touted struggle of “democracies vs autocracies”, western
civilization is becoming more and more autocratic. Censoring more.
Trolling more. Propagandizing more. Jailing journalists. Becoming less
and less transparent. Manipulating information and people’s
understanding of truth.

We’re told we need to defeat Russia in Ukraine in order to preserve
western values of freedom and democracy, and in order to facilitate
that aim we’re getting less and less free speech. Less and less free
thought. Less and less free press. Less and less democracy.

I keep thinking of the (fictional) story where during World War II
Winston Churchill is advised to cut funding for the arts to boost
military funding, and he responds, “Then what are we fighting for?” If
we need to sacrifice everything we claim to value in order to fight
for those values, what are we fighting for?

Dissent is becoming less and less tolerated. Public discourse is being
more and more aggressively disrupted by the powerful. We’re being
shaped into the exact sort of homogeneous, power-serving, tyrannized,
propagandized population that our leaders criticize other nations for

    Any journalists or press freedom advocates out there care about a
US gov’t ally, Ukraine, pressuring a media conference to cancel two
    — Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) October 31, 2022

If the powerful are becoming more tyrannical in order to fight
tyranny, what’s probably actually happening is that they are just
tyrants making up excuses to do the thing they’ve always wanted to do.

As westerners in “liberal democracies” we are told that our society
holds free speech, free thought and accountability for the powerful as

Our leaders are showing us that this is a lie.

The problem with “western values” is that the west doesn’t value them.

In reality, those who best exemplify “western values” as advertised
are the ones who are being most aggressively silenced and marginalized
by western powers. The real journalists. The dissidents. The skeptics.
The free thinkers. The peace activists. Those who refuse to bow down
to their rulers.

Our ongoing descent into tyranny in the name of opposing tyrants calls
forth a very simple question: if defeating autocracy requires becoming
an autocracy, what’s the point of defeating autocracy?

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