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Anti-Trump groups fund ‘trust indicators’ to combat ‘fake news’ on social media

RT | November 17, 2017

Under pressure to stop the spread of false information, Facebook, Google and Twitter have turned to the Trust Project to inform users of the credibility of news sources. But the supposed nonpartisan effort is funded by deep-pocketed anti-Trump forces.

On Thursday, Facebook, Google and Twitter announced their participation in the initial phase of implementing the Trust Project’s “trust indicators,” notes attached to news posts to let the reader know if the post is an advertisement or to provide background information on the author or sources, including a publisher’s ethics policy and funding arrangements.

The Associated Press, the Washington Post, the Economist, Vox.com, and the Globe and Mail, and other outlets are among the select few currently permitted to use the indicators. Search engines and social media feeds are being improved to gravitate toward, not just what their users want to see, but also sources deemed respectable, and that’s what the indicators seek to influence.

The Trust Project is based at Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, but is funded by craigslist.com founder and philanthropist Craig Newmark, as well as Google, the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Markkula Foundation.

Newmark, also a founder of the Trust Project, has poured millions of dollars into various vehicles aimed at restoring trust in the media. Earlier this year, he donated $1 million to ProPublica, saying, “As a news consumer, I won’t pay for news I can’t trust.”

The Trust Project, however, is not simply another way for Newmark to support news outlets with his own money. He has been looking to take stronger steps to boost the journalism he likes best since his favored candidate Hillary Clinton lost the presidential race to Donald Trump last year.

The 2016 election result stunned almost everyone, with many wondering if Americans had made a fully-informed choice. The influence of the internet had increased considerably since 2012 and 2008, just as trust in mass media declined to an all-time low. Gallup found that less than one-third of Americans held a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in mainstream news. Meanwhile, people’s enchantment with social media has seen both solid alternative reporting and “fake news” disseminated widely.

For Newmark, the added element of alleged Russian meddling made the issue of trust in media all the more urgent to address. In recent weeks, during and following testimony by Facebook, Google and Twitter representatives to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Newmark tweeted that it was “a huge deal” that the committee kept referring to the matter of “fake news” in terms of war.

Last week, Newmark tweeted a 1970 quote by Canadian media theorist, professor and philosopher Marshall McLuhan: “World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.”

Funding for the Trust Project also comes from the Democracy Fund, whose founder, Pierre Omidyar, also founded the online auction site eBay. Omidyar has contributed $1 million to the Clinton Foundation for HIV/AIDS treatment, but also donated $100,000 to the NeverTrump political action committee in April 2016.

Fact-checking news sources is not new to Omidyar. His Omidyar Network also funds projects of the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for journalism that owns the Tampa Bay Times, the home of Politifact, which has been criticized for having a left-leaning bias. Omidyar once went as far as comparing Trump to “the personal and political styles of early Adolf Hitler” in a tweet.

Joe Goldman, president of the purportedly bipartisan Democracy Fund, retweeted a video of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) during the November 1 Senate hearings with social media representatives on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The video showed the ranking committee member admonishing the tech companies for “not getting it.”

“We’re talking about the beginning of cyberwarfare,” Feinstein said. “We’re talking about a major foreign power with the sophistication and ability to involve themselves in a presidential election and sow conflict and discontent all over this country.”

“You’ve created these platforms, and now they are being misused,” she added, “and you have to be the ones to do something, or we will.”

Read more:

Google & Soros-backed ‘fact-checkers’ join forces to control news search results

Twitter, Google & Facebook grilled by Senate, try hard to find ‘Russian influence’

‘Zero collusion’: Trump says Russia probe a disgrace, many ads ‘bad’ for him

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Twitter no longer believes in “speaking truth to power” – updated rules

RT | November 6, 2017

Twitter no longer believes in “speaking truth to power,” according to its latest rules update in the midst of US lawmakers’ frantic hunt for “Russian meddling” in social media.

The microblogging site’s rules, under the section “Abusive Behavior,” currently state: “We believe in freedom of expression and open dialogue, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up.” On November 2, it read “We believe in freedom of expression and in speaking truth to power.”

Incidentally, on November 1, Twitter, along with Google and Facebook, was grilled by US lawmakers in an ongoing witch-hunt for “Russian influence” that may have led to interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In its testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this week, Twitter revealed it has used a vast array of tenuous criteria to define accounts as “Russia-linked,” and also admitted it had censored the hashtags #PodestaEmails and #DNCLeaks tweets during the 2016 US presidential election campaign in an effort to limit public exposure to leaked documents describing the Democratic National Committee’s efforts to boost Clinton as the Democratic Party’s preferred candidate during the primaries.

Twitter Associate General Counsel Sean Edgett claimed many of those tweets were “automated” and hidden by anti-spam systems. He also admitted that less than 4 percent of them came from potential “Russian-linked” accounts.

Last week, Twitter also announced it was banning all ads from RT and Sputnik, citing the same allegations of meddling in the 2016 US election. That, despite the company previously trying to engage RT in a special US election advertising package, which RT declined.

The changes to Twitter’s rules were apparently made as part of a November 3 attempt to “clarify” them.

In a statement, the company said that it wanted to make it clear that “context is crucial when evaluating abusive behavior and determining appropriate enforcement actions.”

A separate update will be issued on November 14 with more details on how the company reviews and enforces policies, according to Twitter.

RT has reached out to Twitter for comment on the change to the wording of its policy.

Read more:

Censoring #PodestaEmails, defining Russians, DNC advisers: Twitter & Google’s 2016 election tricks

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Facebook, Google could help US ‘retaliate’ against Russia, other nations – Senator McConnell

RT | November 5, 2017

Days after tech giants Facebook, Twitter, and Google were grilled on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested using the companies to attack other nations.

On Tuesday, senior executives from the trio of major tech firms went before the US Congress to discuss an alleged ‘disinformation’ campaign supposedly designed to influence the election.

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell has since suggested that social media and other internet services could provide the US with an opportunity to “retaliate” against adversaries such as Russia.

Speaking to MSNBC, McConnell expressed his disappointment that key figures like Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had not provided answers at Tuesday’s hearing.

He then mooted the idea of weaponizing their services. Big tech could be used, he said, to “retaliate” against Russia, whose government has repeatedly denied any allegations of attempts to influence US voters.

“What we ought to do with regard to the Russians is retaliate. Seriously retaliate against the Russians and these tech firms could be helpful in giving us a way to do that,” McConnell told MSNBC host Hugh Hewitt.

McConnell added that he wasn’t sure if it’s a good idea for a special committee to assess the relationship between US security agencies and tech companies. He said the challenge facing US authorities is balancing security with First Amendment rights, which he believes should not extend to “foreigners.”

“It certainly would help if the CEOs were willing to testify [at Congress]. But I think the big, big subject with a lot of national security implications… [is] trying to figure out how to balance national security versus the First Amendment.”

November 5, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Twitter: Speaking Russian, Having Russian IP Makes You a Kremlin Shill

Sputnik – 02.11.2017

During testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, a representative of Twitter admitted that his company discovered alleged Russian election interference on their platform by flagging every account with Russian text, email, phone, IP address and so on as a potential agent of the Kremlin.

It sounds like we’re making this up, but we aren’t. This statement came from the mouth of Twitter’s Acting General Counsel Sean Edgett as he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. “We’re looking at things like, whether they registered in Russia, do they have a Russian phone number, are they on a Russian mobile carrier, do they have a Russian email address, are they coming in from a Russian IP, have they ever… logged in at any time from Russia?” Edgett testified.

In other words, Russian shills include anyone who bought a phone in Russia, lives in Russia, used Twitter in Russia, does business in Russia or with Russians. You’re probably a Russian shill just for reading this article, according to Twitter.

Perhaps the most telling comment was in Edgett’s written testimony that was submitted to the Senate. It read that accounts with “Russian language or Cyrillic characters [that appear] in the account information or name” were also flagged as “Russia-linked.” (Emphasis ours.)

Although this should probably go without saying, speaking Russian does not make you Russian — and being Russian does not make you a servant of Vladimir Putin. Virtually every former Soviet Socialist Republic has a large percentage of Russian speakers among their population.

It isn’t just the former Soviet Union. There are 3 million speakers in Germany (a holdover from East Germany) and about 1 million in Israel (a result of the diaspora of Russian Jews after the Soviet Union collapsed.) Some 850,000 Americans have Russian as their primary household language. If any of them thought to type something Russian on Twitter, they are now Kremlin shills. Oops.

But wait, there’s more. Cyrillic is the alphabet used in the Russian language — as well as the national languages of countries such as Ukraine (a US ally) Bulgaria and Montenegro (NATO members alongside the US). It is the alphabet of the languages of dozens of ethnic groups in Central Asia, as well as the Dungan and Uyghur peoples of China.

It’s also the alphabet of the language of the Yupik people — the vast majority of whom live in reservations in Alaska, US of A. Truly, the network of Kremlin interference is frightening, that an entire ethnic group of American Indians have become their election-jacking puppets. There are, of course, already allegations that Russians somehow infiltrated or co-opted the Standing Rock Sioux protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline last year.

Twitter also admitted to censoring (or “taking action… to fight automation and spam on our platform,” in their parlance) hashtags that related to the WikiLeaks release of the private emails of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in October as well as emails from the Democratic National Committee in July. Twenty-five percent of all tweets tagged #PodestaEmails were automatically hidden, and 48 percent of tweets tagged #DNCLeak met the same fate.

Again, this is not a Pepe Silvia-esque conspiracy theory. These are statements taken directly from sworn testimony from Twitter’s official representative.

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Facespook! Social media giant becomes arm of US intel

By Finian Cunningham | RT | October 18, 2017

Facebook, the world’s top social media platform, is reportedly seeking to hire hundreds of employees with US national security clearance licenses.

Purportedly with the aim of weeding out “fake news” and “foreign meddling” in elections.

If that plan, reported by Bloomberg, sounds sinister, that’s because it is. For what it means is that people who share the same worldview as US intelligence agencies, the agencies who formulate classified information, will have a direct bearing on what millions of consumers on Facebook are permitted to access.

It’s as close to outright US government censorship on the internet as one can dare to imagine, and this on a nominally independent global communication network. Your fun-loving place “where friends meet.”

Welcome to Facespook!

As Bloomberg reports: “Workers with such [national security] clearances can access information classified by the US government. Facebook plans to use these people – and their ability to receive government information about potential threats – in the company’s attempt to search more proactively for questionable social media campaigns ahead of elections.”

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment, but the report sounds credible, especially given the context of anti-Russia hysteria.

Over the past year, since the election of Donald Trump as US president, the political discourse has been dominated by “Russia-gate” – the notion that somehow Kremlin-controlled hackers and news media meddled in the election. The media angst in the US is comparable to the Red Scare paranoia of the 1950s during the Cold War.

Facebook and other US internet companies have been hauled in front of Congressional committees to declare what they know about alleged “Russian influence campaigns.” Chief executives of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, are due to be questioned again next month by the same panels.

Mark Zuckerberg, the 33-year-old CEO of Facebook, initially rebuffed claims his company had unwittingly assisted Russian interference in the last US election in November. But after months of non-stop allegations by politicians and prominent news media outlets vilifying Russia, Zuckerberg and the other social media giants are buckling.

Led, perhaps unwittingly, by US intelligence fingering of Russian meddling, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are now saying they have discovered postings and advertisements “linked to the Russian government.” Notably, the sources impugning the “offending ads” are the intelligence agencies and members of Congress who are hawkish on the Russia-gate narrative.

One glaring weakness in this narrative is that the alleged “Russian ads” involved a spend of $100,000 on Facebook. Twitter identified $274,000 worth of “Russian-linked ads.” Some of the information being promoted appears to be entirely innocuous, such as pet-lovers sharing cute photos of puppies.

It is far from clear how these ads are connected to Russian state agencies allegedly attempting to subvert the US elections. Moscow has dismissed the allegations.

Much of it is assumed and taken on face value from claims made by American intelligence and their political and media associates. But what is clear – albeit overlooked in much US media coverage – is the sheer implausibility that the Russian government intended to warp the US presidential election with a few hundred thousand dollars.

Facebook alone earns billions of dollars from advertising. The alleged Russian ads represent a drop in the bucket. The expenditure and presumed impact on public opinion is also negligible compared to the billions of dollars American corporations donated to the election campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Facebook are among the top 50 biggest US corporate donors in lobbying the Federal government and Congress. Last year, the top 50 corporations reportedly spent over $700 million, of which Alphabet and Facebook contributed $15 million and $8.7 million, respectively. This expenditure is explicitly intended to influence policy and legislation. So, what’s that about Russia allegedly swaying the presidential election with a fraction of the financial muscle?

Despite the irrational focus on Russian meddling, internet companies like Facebook have become willing participants in the official efforts to clamp down on this illusory “enemy of democracy.”

What’s more is the complete oversight on how the US media environment is increasingly dominated and controlled by vested powerful corporate interests.

While the mainstream media and politicians fret over alleged Russian influence on American citizens, there is an absurd absence in the public debate about the disproportionate power of just six US media conglomerates dominating all major American news services.

Social media and internet companies are vying with the traditional news channels. In a recent article, New York Times technology columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote about the “Frightful Five” – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet (Google). He writes: “The Five elicit worries of total social control.”

The influence these US-owned media giants exert cuts across all cultural sectors, from the news received, to books, film and other entertainment. In effect, these companies are molding citizens into the consumers that they want to maximize their profits.

Facebook’s reported plans to employ US government-validated people who can use their intelligence contacts and prejudices to control what millions of ordinary people will read, watch or listen to is another manifestation of the larger drift into a corporate matrix.

Under the preposterous guise of “protecting” from “fake news” and “foreign meddling in elections,” Facebook is turning into a government censor.

This disturbing trend has accelerated over the last year. Far from Russia or some other foreign impostor tampering with freedom of information and free speech – supposed bedrocks of democracy – it is increasingly American companies that are the very real and formidable constraint.

Robert Bridge, a fellow Op-Edge contributor, said Facebook appears to be deliberately blocking links disseminating particular news stories carried by the channel.

Bridge concurs with the experience of many other ordinary people around the world who also have noticed how US internet companies have substantially curbed the search freedom previously enjoyed on the internet.

“It’s really incredible how Google and YouTube have earnestly started manipulating their algorithms and censoring news, ” says Bridge. “I was researching a story recently, and it was so difficult to pull up any relevant information that was not critical of Putin or Russia.”

A similar finding was reported by the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), which carried out a study on how search traffic to that site and other left-wing, anti-war online journals has plummeted by over 50 percent since Google announced new search engines to curtail “fake news” back in April.

Facebook and the other big US internet companies are instead directing users to what they call “authoritative” news organizations, which by and large are corporate-controlled entities aligned with government interests. Ironically, these news outlets have peddled some of the biggest fake news stories, such as the non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which launched a decade-long US war killing over a million Iraqis.

“Russia-gate” is another fabricated narrative which is being used to crush critical alternative sources.

The infernal paradox is that genuinely alternative, critical news sources are now at risk of being censored by internet companies working in league with nefarious US government intelligence.

Read more:

Welcome to 1984: Big Brother Google now watching your every political move

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Twitter, pressured by Jewish group, cleansing internet of anti-Netanyahu material

My letter to Twitter legal department

By Kevin Barrett | Veterans Today | April 13, 2017

Twitter has asked me to remove the above tweet, due to a complaint from the leading French Jewish group, the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF). Below is a copy of my email correspondence with the Twitter Legal Department.

Dear Twitter,

I most certainly am not going to remove this content. It consists of a brilliant, incisive work of art by David Dees, who is widely viewed as one of the two or three most important (and most-viewed) political artists working today. I am copying him on this email.

The art work in question is a passionate protest against the brutal abuse of the human rights of Palestinians by the war criminal leader of Israel, Netanyahu. Many thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians have been slaughtered in repeated assaults on Gaza by the Netanyahu regime, which routinely drops white phosphorus on civilian targets, bombs ambulances, schools, hospitals, refugee shelters and UN humanitarian installations, and refers to these regular massacres of thousands of innocents as routine “mowing the lawn.”

These and other atrocities are committed in order to ethnically cleanse Palestine and purify it as a “Jewish State.” So Dees’ use of the Israeli flag with the Star of David, and the images of rabbis, is entirely appropriate in context, as is the use of the US flag symbolizing US complicity in these crimes. (I am copying Naturei Karta International, a group of anti-Zionist Jews led by my colleague Rabbi Weiss, and will happily take down the content if the Rabbi thinks it is bigoted or inappropriate.) Calling out Jewish-Zionist and American oppressors does not amount to bigotry against Zionist Jews or Americans. Both of these two human groups are powerful in relation to other groups, and both are using their power to horrifically oppress the relatively powerless people of Palestine.

There is no bigotry in siding with the powerless against the powerful. The concept of bigotry is only meaningful in relation to prejudices against relatively powerless, oppressed groups, not powerful oppressing ones. If you start censoring people for “prejudice against the powerful” where will it end? Will we be prohibited from mocking, deriding, deploring, and otherwise verbally and artistically attacking rich people, politicians, CEOs, dictators, ruling classes, celebrities, bullies, and other powerful and privileged individuals and groups?

I will be happy to discuss these issues with representatives from Twitter and/or CRIF, am available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. US Central, and eagerly await your call. I speak fluent French and would love to speak with a CRIF representative en français.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kevin Barrett

(phone number redacted)

On Apr 13, 2017, at 5:26 PM, Twitter Legal <twitter-legal@twitter.com> wrote:

Dear Twitter user,We are writing to inform you that Twitter has received correspondence from the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), regarding your Twitter account, @truthjihad, specifically:

https://twitter.com/truthjihad/status/831876287245463553

One of our core values is to defend and respect the user’s voice. Accordingly, it is our standard policy to notify users upon receipt of a request to remove content from their account.  

We are notifying you of this request about your account so that you may decide whether or how you will respond. Please let us know (by replying directly to this email) whether you will remove the reported content. Please note that we may be obligated to take action regarding the content identified in the request in the future.

For more information on our Country Withheld Content policy please see this page: https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169222

If you believe we have contacted you in error, please reply to this email and let us know.

Twitter is not able to provide legal advice. You may wish to consult legal counsel about this matter. For more general information on legal requests, please refer to the following Help Center article: https://t.co/lrfaq.

Sincerely,
Twitter

============

Reported Username: @truthjihad
Reporter Username: @Le_CRIF
Reporter Email: [Redacted]
Reported URL: 
https://twitter.com/truthjihad/status/831876287245463553

April 20, 2017 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘State-imposed thought police’: German politicians, activists slam bill on hate speech & fake news

RT | April 5, 2017

The German government has approved a new bill on combating hate speech and fake news, under which social networks could face hefty fines if they fail to remove offensive content promptly. Critics denounced the bill as a violation of free speech.

The bill, introduced by German Justice Minister Heiko Maas, is aimed at forcing social network giants such as Facebook or Twitter to take more responsibility for the content posted by users and to make it compliant with German law.

“We do not accept the fact that companies in Germany do not adhere to the law. Therefore in future, if it doesn’t get better, we will impose high fines on these companies,” Maas told German broadcaster ARD’s ‘Morgenmagazin’ show.

“Social-network providers are responsible when their platforms are misused to propagate hate crimes and fake news,” he wrote in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

Earlier, Maas had already warned that online companies that fail to delete content tagged as offensive by some users within the timeframe set in the new bill would face fines of up to €50 million (US$53 million).

Executives of social media groups also risk individual fines of up to €5 million ($5.3 million) in case of non-compliance.

The proposed legislation says that “openly offensive” content should be deleted by social networks within 24 hours after being reported by users, while content whose nature is not clearly offensive should be examined and removed within a week if its illegality is confirmed.

The legislation also stresses that the authorities should take a “cautious approach” towards fining online giants, and only in cases when they regularly fail to remove explicitly offensive content. Social networks should not be punished if the violations of the new regulations take place only in some “specific individual cases,” it states.

The list of offensive materials includes various forms of hate speech and online incitement of hatred as well as fake news, libel, and defamation, along with child pornography and terrorism-related activities.

However, the task of identifying, examining and removing such content is in fact handed over to social network administrators and the users themselves.

At the same time, the bill obliges social networks to provide users with “an easily recognizable, directly reachable, and constantly available” complaint process for “prosecutable content.”

The legislation also obliges online giants to provide reports to the German authorities concerning how many complaints they receive from users, how many offensive posts they remove and how quickly they do it.

The reports, which should be provided every three months, must also include data on how many employees are tasked with dealing with offensive content in each social network company.

Earlier, Maas admitted that an attempt to make social networks remove offensive content on a voluntary basis “has failed,” as he explained the necessity for the new measures, German media report.

According to a survey conducted by the Justice Ministry, Facebook deleted about 46 percent of offensive and illegal content between July and August 2016, while between February and January 2017 this figure dropped to 39 percent. Twitter reportedly removed only 1 percent of content deemed illegal in recent months. YouTube, however, deleted as much as 90 percent of such material over the same period, as reported by Deutsche Welle.

‘Freedom of expression ends where criminal law begins’

The bill provoked a wave of criticism from opposition politicians, media companies and various network activists.

Renate Kuenast, the Green Party’s legal expert, criticized the legislation by saying that it would effectively limit the freedom of expression.

“My fear, and that of many others, is that in the end the version [Maas] is now presenting will limit freedom of opinion because it will simply become delete, delete, delete,” she said, as cited by Deutsche Welle.

She also said that the hefty fines envisaged in the bill would work as “almost an invitation to not only delete real insults, but everything for safety’s sake.”

Her words were partly echoed by Google representatives, who warned that the proposed legislation could lead to “overblocking.”

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki called the proposed fines “a heavy burden for the [social network] platforms,” adding that “the platforms could remove content that should not be removed” out of fear of being fined, Der Spiegel reports.

The German Publishers Association (VDZ) went further and denounced the justice minister’s proposal as an attempt to create a “state-imposed private thought police.”

Even some NGOs, such as the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which campaigns against right-wing parties, racism and anti-Semitism, said that the new bill is “in fact a limitation of the freedom of expression.”

In the comments on his new proposal, Maas acknowledged that freedom of expression “has huge significance in our democracy,” adding at the same time that “freedom of expression ends where criminal law begins” and stressing that the new bill would be only the beginning.

According to the German media, the parliament plans to pass the new bill before the summer break. Some critics explain such a “rush” by the government’s desire to make it a law before the elections in September.

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan Asks Facebook, Twitter, to Help Crack Down on Online Blasphemy

Sputnik – 18.03.2017

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for a crackdown on those who would blaspheme against Islam on social media, and claims to have contacted Facebook and Twitter to ask for their help in suppressing online sacrilege.

“All relevant institutions must unite to hunt those who spread such material and to award them strict punishment under the law,” Sharif said.

Minister of the Interior Ministry (MoI) Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that an official from Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, DC, was dispatched to Facebook and Twitter, asking them to help identify Pakistanis both at home or abroad who have insulted Islam.

He went on to say Pakistan would seek to extradite any Pakistanis living abroad if they were accused of blasphemy so they could be tried in an Islamic court.

Facebook, at least, has answered the call and will send a delegation to Pakistan to help them fight blasphemy, according to a statement from Pakistan’s Interior Ministry. Facebook told the MoI that they were “aware” of Pakistan’s concerns, and wanted to reach a mutual understanding with the Islamic Republic.

Facebook told the Associated Press that it seriously considers requests from governments, but its ultimate goal is to “protect the privacy and rights of our users.”

“We disclose information about accounts solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law,” continued Facebook.

Pakistan already extensively censors online content that depicts blasphemy, pornography, suicide and other things deemed objectionable. YouTube was blocked in the South Asian nation from 2012 to 2016, until it agreed to assist the government in censoring their content.

Facebook itself was blocked for a short period of time in 2010 due to it being the platform of choice for many artists participating in “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”. Some sites, such as Reddit and Imgur, remain banned.

Pakistan has some of the world’s strictest blasphemy laws. “Outraging the religious feelings of Muslims” carries a three year prison sentence as well as fines. Defiling a Quran is life in prison. Speaking ill of Mohammed is punishable by death.

Human Rights Watch claims that from 1987 to 2014, more than 1,300 Pakistanis have been accused of blasphemy and more than 60 of the accused have died in extrajudicial killings.

March 18, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook Suppresses Truth

By Craig Murray | December 11, 2016

So far 564 people believe they have shared on Facebook my article conclusively refuting the CIA’s invention of lies about Russia hacking the DNC, using the share button on this site. Another 78 have tried to share it from my Facebook page. The total amount of incoming traffic from these 650 people sharing? 22 people. Almost nobody can currently reach this site through Facebook, as the “came from” interface on my statcounter below shows. Nothing from Facebook. Facebook are actively colluding in preventing social media from contradicting the mainstream media lies about Russian involvement in the US election campaign.

Don’t believe me? If you think you shared the article on Facebook, phone one of your Facebook friends and ask if it appeared for them.

The only way to defeat this is to republish the article yourself. I waive any copyright. If you have access to a blog, copy and paste it there and post a link to that blog on Facebook. Or simply cut and paste my whole article and copy it to your Facebook page, in sections if required.

I am similarly ghost banned on Twitter. The work round to this, which plenty of people have found, is to create a new tweet yourself with a link to my site, rather than retweet one of my tweets. As with the Facebook share, if you do retweet you will be unaware it doesn’t work.

There are profound implications for society in the compliance of the major social media corporations with establishment demands to prevent social media from effectively challenging the mainstream media narrative – and I cannot think of a more classic example than this case. I do urge you to take action as described above, to show that the people will not stand for it.

December 11, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Twitter and Facebook Censorship and Mainstream Media Denial

By Craig Murray | December 8, 2016

I had never heard of ghost banning until I was ghost banned by twitter. That of course is the idea – they censor you without you realising that you are censored. People no longer get notifications when I post, and the tweet only turns up in the twitter line of followers who happen to be logged in at the time my tweet goes out. Those logging in later will no longer see tweets I issued while they were away. Most of my tweets no longer show up on twitter searches, and further restrictions are applied when people retweet my tweets.

Since ghost banning, traffic to my website from twitter has fallen 90%.

As twitter do not inform you that you have been ghost banned, it is hard to know exactly what prompted it, but I believe it immediately followed this tweet.

For anyone who gets their news through the mainstream media, the spirit cooking scandal referred to performance art by Marina Abramovic, to an intimate domestic display of which Clinton campaign chairman and paid Saudi lobbyist John Podesta was invited. The performance draws upon occult references and imagery – as an “artist” her inspiration appears to be early Hammer horror films. It involves painting with blood, milk and semen, presumably from animals. To add a frisson, Ms Abramovic has claimed it is art when performed in a gallery, but real when performed in a private home.

Personally, I view it as rubbish as art, and the sort of thing idiots with too much money pay for. I think the occult references give a frisson to the idle rich, like students playing with a Ouija board. Personally I believe that kind of thing is better avoided, but each to his own. What the Podesta emails undoubtedly show is that the rich are not like us. Just as David Cameron sticking his todger in the mouth of a dead pig was an upper class bonding ritual and not actual bestiality, I don’t actually think the Podestas are Satanists. Just weird.

But what is beyond doubt is that the #spiritcooking sensation on social media had a real effect on the US election, and in an election where the margins were so very close potentially an extremely important one. Tens of millions of people saw the images on social media. It galvanised evangelical Christians to vote for Trump and, perhaps much more crucially, it contributed materially to a massive depression of the African American vote for Hillary as millions of African American Christians, disgusted by seeing apparent endorsement of Abramovic’s voodoo and satanic references by the Clinton camp, sat at home and did not turn out to vote. That 2 million black Americans who voted for Obama did not vote for Hillary was not because they are racist – it was because they disliked Hillary for a number of reasons, and spirit cooking was a factor, especially as the famed Democratic machine is heavily reliant upon African American churches for the ground war. I should love to see the influence of the spirit cooking scandal measured, but given that the mainstream media who commission the polls are desperate to deny the effect of WikiLeaks on the election, they are not likely to measure it.

Instead what we have is the “post-truth” narrative. This holds that something is only true if the mainstream media says that it is. It is an easy trick to conflate a dozen ludicrous untrue stories released on social media, and then leap from there to saying everything on social media not endorsed by mainstream media is untrue. It is but a further step to argue that therefore social media must be censored. This is where we came in, with Twitter already doing this to me. Mark Zuckerberg has indicated that Facebook will take further action to prevent dissemination of “untrue” political information. Of course, they already do this, and again I am afraid to say in particular they do this to me. All my blog posts are posted to Facebook as well as twitter. Did you know when you share my post on Facebook, Facebook limits the number of your friends who can see it? In my case the limit is set to ensure that the percentage of incoming traffic to my site that comes through Facebook, is always precisely 5%. To do that, of course, they have to know precisely how much traffic is coming in to this site. Worrying, isn’t it? Before Facebook set the limitation -around the same time as twitter – the amount of incoming traffic from Facebook was around 30% of my traffic.

As with any grossly illiberal cause it is the Guardian which has led the charge for internet censorship in the UK. One hilarious recent Guardian article listed media bias towards Clinton as an example of a post-truth claim. The article did not mention the fact that senior CNN commentator Donna Brazile had been sacked by CNN after WikiLeaks revealed she had been feeding debate questions to Hillary Clinton in advance, nor Wikileaks’ numerous releases of emails detailing partisan collusion with the media to promote Hillary. It did not mention the deliberate and planned timing of primary elections and debates to disadvantage Sanders. In fact, it did not mention any of the inconvenient facts WikiLeaks had revealed. In that, it was absolutely typical mainstream media.

Mainstream media is not post-truth. It never had any connection to the truth.

To complete the chain of dishonesty, the trope of Russian interference in the election is getting a new airing. In a painfully obvious charade, Obama is being “pushed” by his own party to reveal security service information on “Russian interference” in the US election. The focus is particularly on the allegation that the Russian state hacked the Podesta and DNC emails and gave them to WikiLeaks.

The problem is there is no such evidence. There can’t be because both the DNC and Podesta emails were leaked by Washington insiders, to my certain knowledge. I repeat that, to my certain knowledge. Hillary’s pathetic election claim that the security services had information it was the Russians, depended on a statement that the leak was “consistent with Russian methods and objectives”. Look at that statement very carefully. It says “we have no evidence whatsoever, but the President has asked us to blame the Russians”. As I say, I know it wasn’t the Russians. The only “evidence” ever shown to me by those blaming the Russians is that an alleged hacker calling himself “Guccifer” sometimes uses Cyrillic. Which may or may not be true, but as “Guccifer” was neither the source of, nor a conduit for, the leaks it is utterly irrelevant.

Fear not. The truth is out there. People are trying to make it more difficult for you to find, but they will not succeed. In my own humble case, while visits from Facebook and Twitter are radically down, overall numbers are up. The internet somehow always finds a way to work around.

December 8, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Social media companies begin collaboration to fight online “extremism”

By Alex Christoforou | The Duran | December 6, 2016

YouTube and Facebook have started using hashes to automatically remove extremist content.

Giant tech companies are banding together to stop extremism on the web.

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft will begin sharing a common database to flag accounts and user profiles they deem as threats to global security.

In a joint statement, the companies in the collaboration said…

“We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.”

The companies will share ‘hashes’, or unique digital fingerprints, assigned to extremist videos or photos which have been flagged or removed from their platforms.

While it’s well and good for private corporations to do what they want with their own platform, or even create an oligopoly that shares data between platforms… the slippery slope begins once the goal posts for “what is deemed extreme” gets wider and wider.

The fact that the EU is the major driving force behind this initiative should give everyone even more pause as to the true intentions of this collaboration.

Reuters reports…

Tech companies have long resisted outside intervention in how their sites should be policed, but have come under increasing pressure from Western governments to do more to remove extremist content following a wave of militant attacks.

YouTube and Facebook have begun to use hashes to automatically remove extremist content.

But many providers have relied until now mainly on users to flag content that violates terms of service. Flagged material is then individually reviewed by human editors who delete postings found to be in violation.

Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts between February and August this year and has expanded the teams reviewing reports of extremist content.

Each company will decide what image and video hashes to add to the database and matching content will not be automatically removed, they said.

The database will be up and running in early 2017 and more companies could be brought into the partnership.

The European Union set up an EU Internet Forum last year bringing together the internet companies, interior ministers and the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to find ways of removing extremist content.

The Forum will meet again on Thursday, when ministers are expected to ask the companies about their efforts and helping to provide evidence to convict foreign fighters.

December 6, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

White Helmets Deceive “Right Livelihood” and CodePink

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | September 23, 2016

Manipulation of public perception has risen to a new level with the emergence of powerful social media. Facebook, Twitter and Google are multibillion dollar corporate giants hugely influencing public understanding.  Social media campaigns include paid ‘boosting’ of Facebook posts, paid promotion of Tweets, and biased results from search engines. Marketing and advertising companies use social media to promote their clients.  U.S. foreign policy managers hire these companies to influence public perception to support U.S. foreign policy goals. For example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made sure that Twitter was primed for street protests in Iran following the 2009 election. She insured that Twitter was ready to spread and manage news of protests following the election and strange killing of a young woman. (p 423, Hard Choices hardback).

The results of media manipulation can be seen in the widespread misunderstanding of the conflict in Syria. One element of propaganda around Syria is the demonization of the Syrian government and leadership. Influenced by the mainstream and much alternative media, most in the West do not know that Bashar al Assad is popular with most Syrians. There were three contestants in the Syrian presidential election of June 2014. Turnout was 73% of the registered voters, with 88% voting for Assad.  In Beirut, the streets were clogged with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees marching through the city to vote at the Syrian Embassy. Hundreds of Syrian citizens from the USA and other western countries flew to Syria to vote because Syrian Embassies in Washington and other western capitals were shut down. While John Kerry was condemning the Syrian election as a “farce” before it had even happened, a marketing company known as The Syria Campaign waged a campaign to block knowledge of the Syrian election.  Along with demonizing President Assad, they launched a campaign which led to Facebook censoring information about the Syrian election.

The Syria Campaign was created by a larger company named “Purpose”. According to their own website they “incubated” The Syria Campaign.

The major achievement of The Syria Campaign has been the branding and promotion of the “White Helmets”. The “White Helmets”, also known as “Syria Civil Defense”, began with a British military contractor, James LeMesurier, giving some rescue training to Syrians in Turkey. Funding was provided by the US and UK. They appropriated the name from a real Syria Civil Defense.

The “White Helmets” are marketed in the West as civilian volunteers doing rescue work. On 22 September 2016 it was announced that the Right Livelihood Award, the so called “Alternative Nobel Prize”, is being given to the US/UK created White Helmets “for their outstanding bravery, compassion and humanitarian engagement in rescuing civilians from the destruction of the Syrian civil war.”

The Right Livelihood organizers may come to regret their selection of the White Helmets because the group is not who they claim to be. In fact, the White Helmets are largely a propaganda tool promoting western intervention against Syria. Unlike a legitimate rescue organization such as the Red Cross or Red Crescent, the “White Helmets” only work in areas controlled by the armed opposition. As shown in this video, the White Helmets  pick up the bodies of individuals executed by the terrorists, they claim to be unarmed but are not, and they falsely claim to be neutral. Many of the videos from AlQaeda/terrorist dominated areas of Syria have the “White Helmets” logo because the White Helmets work in alliance with them. This primarily is a media marketing tool to raise public support for continuing the support to the armed opposition as well as the demonization of the Syrian government.

The Rights Livelihood press release says the White Helmets “remain outspoken in calling for an end to hostilities in the country.” That is false. The White Helmets actively call for US/NATO intervention through a “No Fly Zone” which would begin with attacks and destruction of anti-aircraft positions. Taking over the skies above another country is an act of war as confirmed by US General Dempsey. The White Helmets have never criticized or called for the end of funding to extremist organizations including Nusra/AlQaeda. On the contrary, White Helmets is generally embedded with this organization which is defined as “terrorist” by even the USA.  That is likely why the head of the White Helmets, Raed Saleh, was denied entry to the USA.

The foreign and marketing company origins of the White Helmets was exposed over one and a half years ago.  Since then, Vanessa Beeley has revealed the organization in more depth in articles such as “Who Are the White Helmets?” and “War by Way of Deception“.

Despite these exposes, understanding of the White Helmets is limited. Many liberal and progressive people have uncritically accepted the propaganda and misinformation around Syria. Much of the progressive media has effectively blocked or censored critical examinations amid a flood of propaganda about “barrel bombs” dropped by the ‘brutal dictator” and his “regime”.

In the last week, Netflix started showing a 40 minute documentary movie about the “White Helmets”. It is actually a promotion video. A substantial portion of it takes place in Turkey where we see trainees in hotel rooms making impassioned phone calls to inquire about their family in Syria.  The “family values” theme is evident throughout. It’s a good marketing angle, especially effective with females.  The political message of the video is also clear: after a bombing attack “It’s the Russians …. they say they are fighting ISIS but they are targeting civilians”. The movie includes video previously promoted by the White Helmets such as the “Miracle Baby” rescue.  It’s debatable whether this incident is real or staged. The video includes self promoting proclamations such as “You are real heroes”. While no doubt there are some real rescues in the midst of war, many of the videos purporting to show the heroes at work have an unrealistic and contrived look to them as revealed here.

“Alternative media” in the West has sadly echoed mainstream media regarding the Syria conflict. The result is that many progressive individuals and groups are confused or worse. For example, the activist group CodePink recently issued a media release promoting the Netflix White Helmets propaganda video.

The White Helmets video is produced by Grain Media and Violet Films/Ultra-Violet Consulting. The latter advertises itself as a marketing corporation specializing in social media management, grant writing, crowd building and campaign implementation. The only question is who paid them to produce this video.

There is growing resistance to this manipulation and deception. In response to a petition to give the Nobel Peace Prize to the White Helmets, there is a counter petition at Change.org. The Right Livelihood Awards have just been announced and there will soon be a petition demanding retraction of the award to the White Helmets.

The story of the White Helmets is principally a “feel good” hoax to manipulate public perception about the conflict in Syria and continue the drive for “regime change”. That’s why big money was paid to “Purpose” to “incubate” The Syria Campaign to brand and promote the White Helmets using Facebook, Twitter, etc.  That’s why big money was paid to create a self-promotional documentary.  The judges at Rights Livelihood were probably influenced by the documentary since critical examination of facts around Syria is so rare.  It’s a sad commentary on the media. As Stephen Kinzer recently said,

“Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press.”

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Rick Sterling is a retired aerospace engineer who now does research/writing on international issues. He can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

September 23, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments