Tiktok – How Trump Failed America

Tiktok – How Trump Failed America

October 18, 2020

By Allen Yu for the Saker Blog

Donald Trump was elected with a mandate to make deals and “drain the swamp.” I had my doubts he could make a difference in the geopolitical realm. But even on economic matters, he has not had a lot of success. His Tiktok saga reveals just how far he has left people down.

Trump’s demand for a fire sale of Tiktok hit a legal wall two weekends ago when a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction. Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, questioned whether a President had the legal authority to so broadly ban and restrict a “personal communication” and “informational” service such as Tiktok on “national security” grounds.

But even without the injunction, Trump’s vaunted deal-making skills were fast morphing into a freak show. From the beginning, Trump made unsubstantiated accusation that Tiktok was being used as a platform for Chinese espionage even when the CIA found no evidence of Chinese espionage. The EFF – which traditionally has been critical of China’s Internet companies – has also concluded that there is no evidence that TikTok is less secure than other social media apps.

Side note – Lesson #1: if you want to negotiate from a position of strength, you should not start out with a preposterous position, as you will soon lose the trust and belief of the other side. A negotiation is the art of find a deal that both sides walk away happy. If you just want to pummel the other to submission, any “gains” you get will not last.

In late September, after months of negotiations, a surprise deal was announced between Byte Dance and Oracle whereby Byte Dance’s operations outside China would be transformed into a new global company headquartered in Texas. Under the deal initially announced by Oracle late last September, Tiktok would be transformed into a new company headquartered in Texas. Oracle and partner Walmart would co-own 20% of the new company. Oracle would be designated a “trusted technology provider” to manage and store all of Tiktok’s user data.  It would have the authority to audit source codes of Tiktok and parent company Byte Dance.

In addition, four of the five board members of the new Tiktok would be Americans, with one being a data security expert appointee approved by the U.S. government and holding a top-secret U.S. security clearance.  A security committee whose members would be US citizens approved by the US government would be formed and chaired by the appointee.

Based on Chinese social media responses, this state affair was a big loss of not only face but business interests for China. Yet, from the jaws of defeat, Byte Dance was complimented for salvaging something out of nothing.

After initially giving his “blessings” to the deal, Trump backtracked just days later to demand that the core algorithms and AI behind Tiktok – designed, owned and controlled by Byte Dance – must be sold and handed over, too.

The fact that Tiktok is getting all this attention over data security is quite puzzling. Tiktok is a video sharing service for short, hip, fun videos popular among teens, hardly a target for international spying. An email, chatting, or cloud storage service would have represented far juicier targets for Chinese agents!

Furthermore, the U.S. currently does not have any federal-level data privacy law, let alone data security law. Authorities generally leave it to the “market place” and “competition” to keep companies in check. If the U.S. government is truly worried about the data security of American citizens, it should have gone after Facebook, Twitter, and Google and forced a change of ownership some time ago!

Some observers have suggested that the real reason for Trump’s attack on Tiktok is personal vengeance after K-pop fans on Tiktok allegedly sabotaged his first “post-Coronavirus” rally in Tulsa back in June. If so, this would be a major strategic blunder.

While the world’s Internet is currently dominated by American companies, strong political backlash against U.S. based Internet companies are already brewing across the globe, from Europe to India. If Trump manages to whip up nationalistic fervors around the world to carve up Internet companies on trumped-up “national security” charges, it will be mostly American companies that will be on the chopping blocks.

Side note – Lesson #2: you should negotiate with a solid understanding of the end goals – with good strategies. Merely appearing good “reality TV” fashion for political gain will net you little in the end. One can argue, the U.S. “wars on terror” and fights for “democracy” are such. They will hurt many … but they will not gain the U.S. much. Same here in the economic realm … as here with Tiktok.

Many Americans have falsely taken comfort in the thought that Trump’s actions constituted long overdue payback against Chinese government’s banning of U.S. Internet companies. In actuality, Trump’s actions are much more destructive than any policy enacted by the Chinese government.

Contrary to popular beliefs, China has always welcomed U.S. Internet companies to operate in China, provided they follow Chinese laws and respect government’s concerns over information that incite, misinform, defame, or that otherwise endanger national security. While some companies – such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter – have avoided China with much fanfare over “censorship” concerns, others – such as Microsoft and Apple – have done quite well after setting up Internet operations within China.

America has often made China into the world’s bogeyman over censorship. But China or not, there is no such thing as “freedom of speech.” Today American companies, including Google, censor on behalf of governments the world over on diverse issues such as privacy, blasphemy, defamation and hate speech to disinformation, copyright and national security. Just look to Twitter, Facebook, and Google’s “transparency report” for some shocking statistics.

Today, the Trump Administration is trying to make another bogeyman out of China over “data security.” But of course, the real question is whether the U.S. – and the world – can accept a second generation of globally spanning Internet companies that are not necessarily American.

Should only companies from certain nations be trusted?  Is corporate governance sufficient to regulate globally spanning multinational companies?  Or must we rely on some sort of forced nationalization?

Side note – if there is ever one topic I fundamentally and deeply disagree with the Saker about, it is on the notions of “freedom of speech.” For me, there is no such thing as “freedom of speech.” There are always limits and contingencies to speech, limits that depend on a society and its history, whether it be blasphemy, defamation, misinformation, disinformation, a violation of privacy or of copyright, hate speech, speech that incite, speech that spur violence, speech that undermines national security, and so on.

I find it fascinating that so many “liberal” free speech zealots have no qualms about the government making rules to ensure food and drug labeling are accurate yet … at least until very recently … these same folks are ok with disinformation and misinformation in the political arena.

In China, disinformation and misinformation has been recognized as a problem since the earliest days of the Internet. This is why China built its GFW. Let me give you an example.

Just earlier this week, there was an interesting story about Facebook and Twitter restricting the spread of a controversial New York Post article critical of Joe Biden and his son’s relationship to a Ukrainian company. Facebook restricted links to the article on grounds it couldn’t independently verify the story. Twitter restricted on the ground that they don’t publish “private” information or “hacked” information.

Would they be so gracious about restricting things when it comes to China?

I say, to the extent the West seems “freer” in the past, it’s only because of two things. One, in recent history, the West had been so much stronger than others. It was under so much less threat than others. There was just always so much less that constituted a threat to its social and national security. But this might be changing. Two, at least in modern history, the West has always monopolized the narrative regarding the social and political issues of our days. What is “censorship” by others is always anything but censorship when done in the West. There are always some righteous and obviously legitimate reasons to limit speech – whether it be defamation, privacy, hate speech, violence, blasphemy, national security, whatever. The issue of “freedom of speech” never even enter the analysis.

Here are a few recent examples.

Just two years ago, Zuckerberg cited Holocaust denial as an example of permissible free speech. However, just this past week, Mark Zuckerberg is saying that Facebook would ban content that “denies or distorts the Holocaust.”

Also consider this thing about Russia meddling in America. In the last few years, national security concerns have loomed large as many Americans became paranoid about Russia’s spending of a mere $100K could sway the 2016 elections. Social media companies are urged to do all sorts of things to limit “foreign influence.” Left undiscussed is what about the “foreign influence” this country perpetrates in other countries? Let’s not even go into the armed or political support – what of the voice of America, the national endowment for democracy – institutions that spew “foreign paid” misinformation and disinformation around the world?

Some Americans may reply: what of “foreign influence” if it helps to dig up the truth? Well, if that’s so, why do America care so much about “foreign influence” then? Also, why is there such focus on “foreign” interest but almost nothing on “domestic” special interests? To the extent some powers are “distorting” the “free marketplace of ideas,” aren’t “domestic” special interest just as dangerous to democracy as “foreign” interests?

In an explosive report by the Wall Street Journal, we have learned that it was Mark Zuckerberg who had been instilling in Washington “national security” concerns over Tiktok. Zuckerberg had privately lobbied Trump to do something about Tiktok. Coincidentally, Zuckerberg’s company Facebook owns a service called Reels that had thus far competed unsuccessfully with Tiktok and that would have the most to gain from continued uncertainties at Tiktok.

The specter of Larry Ellison – a personal friend and ardent supporter of President Trump – has also raised eyebrows. While Microsoft was the clear front runner to purchase Tiktok in early August, it was Oracle that ended up as the “surprise” victor in late September. According to a report by the Washington Post, Microsoft’s deal would have given the U.S. even more control over Tiktok’s data and in that sense addressed Trump’s concerns about “national security” even better.

Mixing private and public interests has always been an unfortunate hallmark of the U.S. government.

In targeting Tiktok, Trump has boasted that he expected political and financial paybacks for his attacks. On several occasions, Trump publicly demanded that whoever buys Tiktok pay a “finder’s fee” to the U.S. Treasury. After the Oracle deal was announced, Trump bragged that Tiktok had agreed to pay $5 billion to the Treasury and a special education fund to teach American children “the real history of our country.”

In an age when Americans have been on openly edge over foreign governments’ spending money on social media to influence elections, what should Americans think about their President soliciting billions from a “foreign adversary” to support his “pet barrel” projects?

It is really too bad that Trump’s rally cry of “America First” has turned into an ideology based on xenophobia. When Trump became president, I was fascinated by his tentative outreach to Russia and China … and his criticism of NATO and other aspects of the American “empire.” However, after four years, he has shown he is incapable of changing the course of this aspect of American history.

If the West wants to decouple with China, so be it. If the West wants to give up the Chinese market, so be it. In Trump’s view, the West had helped to “built up” China. In my view, to the extent the West “built up” China, China also “built up” much of today’s West.

America and Europe were in despair with high inflation, unemployment, and low productivity growth at the end of the 1970’s. China’s entrance into the global trade system ushered in a new period of continued prosperity in the West. China not only provided the West with steady and reliable supply of basic goods and services, it also built up a new prosperous middle class and opened up its huge market to the world. U.S. corporations reaped disproportionately huge profits – profits that are used to fund the R&D needed for further advances in chips, Internet, among others.

Whether Tiktok or Huawei survives the Trump Administration, the Chinese are no longer willing to indefinitely subsidize American R&D going forward. Efforts are afoot for Chinese companies to remove their dependence on critical American technologies – from electronic parts to chips to software to machinery – throughout their supply chain. They will demand this of themselves and of their partners in Europe and Japan and S. Korea and everyone around the world. A new ecosystem will soon arise that is intentionally stripped of critical “American” components and technology to better serve the Chinese market. This will be the lasting influence of Trump. China has no choice. China may suffer in the short term, but China is determined to win in the long term.


[note: a short, much abridged version of this article was initially published as a “commentary” on the South China Morning Post]

Allen Yu is an IP attorney in Silicon Valley, a founding blogger at blog.hiddenharmonies.org, as well as an adjunct fellow at the Chunqiu Institute for Development and Strategic Studies. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a D. Engr., M.S., and B.S. from UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.

Jews Frustrated They Can’t Silence Their Critics The Way They Used To When They Monopolized All Media

Source

OCTOBER 16, 2020

The Jewish News Syndicate has published another essay demonstrating the incorrigible Jewish hypocrisy and narcissism over free speech — they applaud the recent Facebook censorship of “Holocaust deniers” based solely on the spurious presumption that anyone who wants to know the full truth about what did and did not happen in World War II must necessarily be motivated solely by an irrational, blind hatred of Jews:

…The Internet is the best thing that ever happened to extremists. Prior to its development, denizens of the fever swamps of the far-right and the far-left were limited in their ability to communicate with each other or to publicize their beliefs.

Marginal groups were effectively silenced in an era when print, radio and television outlets were closed to them because major publishing entities acted as gatekeepers that effectively shut them out of the public square. While the Internet opened up new opportunities for communication for every conceivable niche and interest group, and thereby democratized publishing, it also provided a way for hate groups to connect and gave them a megaphone with which to make their toxic messages better known.

That was enabled because Facebook and Twitter were allowed by an obscure legal provision to avoid accountability for what they allowed to be published on their sites. Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act allowed an “interactive computer service” to be exempt from the normal perils of publishing—i.e., being held accountable for what was put on their sites. This both protected free speech on the Internet and allowed those responsible for what were thought of as bulletin boards for users, rather than publishing outlets to function without tackling the impossible task of monitoring what their customers were doing. Although the development of social media was far in the future at that point, Section 230 was the law that enabled Facebook and Twitter to eventually dominate modern communications.

In the view of those who are concerned about the spread of hate, that was all well and good when it was just a matter of providing billions of people the ability to post pictures and updates about their lives. Eventually, however, the notion of Zuckerberg, whose current wealth is estimated at $111 billion, enriching himself by enabling Holocaust deniers was seen as intolerable. They felt the same way about Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who is only worth a piddling $4.9 billion…

Of course the original 1996 Communications Decency Act had less to do with “freedom of speech” on the internet per se — it was about protecting children from all the freely available Jewish-produced pornography that was beginning flood into every home in America.

But let’s not forget that it was Jews who have always defended the proliferation of pornography as a form of “free speech” — a complete twisting of the intent of the First Amendment.

And the Section 230 clause that was added to the CDA was a common sense law that made ISPs legally immune for what user’s posted on their websites — without that indemnity, the internet would collapse.

But Section 230 took away the Jews’ go-to tool to silence voices they didn’t like — sue the publisher — make the publication of certain opinions a prohibitive economic liability — the terrible power of the Jewish purse.

Jews view opinions they don’t like in the same way that Christians view pornography — radically different worldviews.

They are demanding their “right” to censor content that offends them –and pedophilia doesn’t offend them but your opinion probably does.

Oh, they are all for “freedom of speech” and “democracy” as long as they own all the publishing houses and television stations — and “count all the votes.”

To do that end, they need to effectively de-claw Section 230 — and by doing so, they can regain their pre-internet monopoly as the sole “gatekeepers” of all opinions and information– and they are doing just that.

NEW STEP IN GOOGLE’S FIERCE CAMPAIGN TO DESTROY SOUTHFRONT

21.08.2020 

South Front

The Euro-Atlantic establishment and global corporations seem to be so terrified by SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence that they stop at nothing to suppress SouthFront’s voice and damage our work.

On August 21, Google unilaterally disabled SouthFront’s official Google AdSense account claiming that it “was found to be non-compliant with the AdSense program policies”. Just like in the case of censorship of SouthFront on YouTube and Facebook, this decision was made without any advance warning or real explanation. (The long story of SouthFront censorship on YouTube and Facebook can be found here: 1 – Facebook2 – YouTube)

Funds collected on the account for the last 1.5 months were in fact stolen.

New Step In Google’s Fierce Campaign To Destroy SouthFront

In previous month, SouthFront was able to use the revenue from GoogleAds banners on southfront.org to fill gaps in our monthly donation budget created by the increasing censorship and pressure campaign aimed at our endeavor. The goal of this campaign is to limit SouthFront’s audience reach by banning on the most popular public platforms, limit the donation flow to SouthFront and discredit our team as a whole. Not backed by corporations or governments, SouthFront operates thanks to the audience’s donations.

Despite this unprecedented pressure campaign, which was publicly assisted by the US State Department, and thanks to your support, SouthFront was able to survive in the recent month. However, the August 21 situation demonstrates that Euro-Atlantic structures and global corporations are determined to employ any, even illegal steps, to destroy SouthFront.  In own turn, SouthFront Team officially declares that we will not surrender and fight against the mainstream censorship and propaganda until our last breath.

Chaotic and illegal attempts of our ill-wishers to damage SouthFront work only confirm that we are on the right track. Dear friends, together, we will be able to overcome any challenges and difficulties and fight back against the mainstream censorship and propaganda.

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Gilad Atzmon on Adam Green’s Know More News

 BY GILAD ATZMON

Adam Green and myself discuss questions to do with the current authoritarian shift and the centrality of Jewish sensitivities in this transition.

Help SouthFront To Fight Back US State Department & Co

Help SouthFront To Fight Back US State Department & Co

 14.08.2020 

DEAR FRIENDS,

SouthFront is facing an increasing agressive censorship and pressure campaign from Euro-Atlantic structures and global corporations.

Over the past months, YouTube and Facebook have contributed extensive efforts to suppress SouthFront work on these platforms. (LINKLINK) Just recently, the US Department of State released an official report calling SouthFront a “pillar” of “Russia’s disinformation and propaganda” simultaneously asking millions of dollars to fight SouthFront. The requested FY 2021 budget of the US Department of Satate’s Global Engagement Center, tasked with preparing fairy tales and justifying the censorship of SouthFront, is $138 million. This is $11,500,000 per month. At the same time, SouthFront’s monthly donation duget needed to continue our work is merely $5,000.

While Euro-Atlantic structures remain scared by mighty SouthFront, our team continues its struggle to keep SouthFront alive and continue its work and further.

Since August 1, we’ve collected $1,162. This is about 23% of the needed monthly budget. If SouthFront is not able to collect the needed amount, our work next month will be in a grave danger. We urgently need your help.

Help SouthFront To Fight Back US State Department & Co

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Three Dead in India’s Bengaluru over “Derogatory” FB Post on Prophet Mohammad

Three Dead in India’s Bengaluru over “Derogatory” FB Post on Prophet Mohammad

By Staff, Agencies 

Angry crowds went on a rampage in the Kaval Byrasandra area of Bengaluru over a Facebook post, shared by P. Naveen, nephew of Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy, a Congress legislator from the Pulakeshinagar area. Violence engulfed parts of India’s “Silicon Valley” last night as protesters and police locked horns.

At least three people died and dozens of people were left injured in the Indian city of Bengaluru on Tuesday night after police opened fire at a mob protesting a “derogatory post” that insulted the Prophet Mohammad [PBUH].

The post is said to have been shared on social media by P. Naveen, nephew of Karnataka Congress state legislator Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy from Pulakeshinagar.

A total of 110 people have been arrested in connection with the violence. The wounded also included 60 policemen, local media reported.

According to media reports, protesters reached police stations to file their complaints against the now-deleted Facebook post.

Naveen claimed that his Facebook account had been hacked and he had no idea about the post that was causing the upheaval.

Demonstrators later gathered in front of the house of Naveen’s uncle and state legislator Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy, located in the city’s Kaval Byrsandra area, and began hurling stones.

Hundreds of cars parked outside were also set on fire, police said.

Photos and videos of the violence have gone viral on social media. Senior Karnataka Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao also tweeted about the “horrible situation” last night.

In the midst of the violence, a group of Muslim protesters formed a human chain to protect any attack on Hindu temples in the area in a bid to prevent a further deterioration of the situation.

Sandeep Patil, the Joint Commissioner of Police [Crime], Bengaluru, has revealed to the media that P. Naveen, the nephew of the Congress legislator, has also been arrested.

Karnataka state chief B.S Yediyurappa said strict action would be taken against the guilty people who caused the attacks.

He wrote on Twitter: “The attack on journalists, the police, and the public in the riot last night is unpredictable. The government will not tolerate such provocations and rumors. Strict action against perpetrators is certain”.

Facebook Threatens to Censor IMEMC

August 11, 2020 4:13 AM

IMEMC

Dear IMEMC readers: The IMEMC has recently received messages from Facebook telling us our page is “at risk of being restricted or unpublished”.

There is no way to appeal this threat, or counter the false claim that our page and website are “low quality”. We have tried many ways to reach Facebook, but have come across an impenetrable Wall in which there is no customer service line, no email contact, no appeals process – in short, no way to reach any humans at Facebook to challenge their claims.

So we would like to publicly present this question to Facebook (and readers, if you have some special knowledge or way to reach Facebook, please pass this along):

  • What exactly about our original, on-the-ground reporting about Israel-Palestine has ‘inauthentic content’ and is ‘low quality’? Please provide specific examples.
  • What have we reported on our page that is false? Our reports come from on-the-ground witnesses and reporters.
  • The definition provided of ‘inauthentic behavior’ and ‘low-quality content’ — that it is full of ads or spam — is clearly not the case, as we have no ads on our website.

Please, dear readers, support the IMEMC anyway you can, and ensure that freedom of speech, freedom of the press, are inalienable rights that should not be suppressed.

We at the IMEMC reject all forms of injustice, all forms of racism, sexism, discrimination, and strongly believe all people are born equal.

We also believe in the peoples’ right to struggle for liberation and independence, and that nobody is better than anybody else because of their gender, race, religion, or anything else.

Please help us continue our work, and support the IMEMC with a financial contribution so we can fight back against this blatant attempt to suppress free speech and independent journalism! We remain the only Palestinian-led news organization that is entirely supported by reader donations, with no foundations, corporate grants or political party funding that would diminish our independence.

SOUTHFRONT DECLARES MASS MOBILIZATION!

DEAR FRIENDS,

WE CALL ON YOU TO SHARE INFORMATION SOUTHFRONT AND SHARE SOUTHFRONT CONTENT ON YOUTUBE AND FACEBOOK AS WIDE AS POSSIBLE

In the situation of the increasing censorship of SouthFront on YouTube, Facebook, our unity is our main strength. Only together, we will be able to overcome the wide-scale censorship campaign run by the Euro-Atlantic establishment against independent media.

Please, share this message with the global audience. Also, please, inform your friends, your social circles about SouthFront as an independent platform covering crucial developments in the Middle East and around the world.

UPLOAD SOUTHFRONT VIDEOS ON YOUR PERSONAL YOUTUBE CHANNELS AND FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS

A good example of this appraoch is demonstrated by Pommy Pie on YouTube:

DEAR FRIENDS,

WE CALL ON YOU TO SHARE INFORMATION SOUTHFRONT AND SHARE SOUTHFRONT CONTENT ON YOUTUBE AND FACEBOOK AS WIDE AS POSSIBLE

In the situation of the increasing censorship of SouthFront on YouTube, Facebook, our unity is our main strength. Only together, we will be able to overcome the wide-scale censorship campaign run by the Euro-Atlantic establishment against independent media.

Please, share this message with the global audience. Also, please, inform your friends, your social circles about SouthFront as an independent platform covering crucial developments in the Middle East and around the world.

UPLOAD SOUTHFRONT VIDEOS ON YOUR PERSONAL YOUTUBE CHANNELS AND FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS

A good example of this appraoch is demonstrated by Pommy Pie on YouTube:

Southfront Declares Mass Mobilization!

SOUTHFRONT DECLARES MASS MOBILIZATION

SouthFront once again declares that we are open for volunteers. Our contact email is southfront.org.

The main fields in which our team needs help:

  • Sharing of SouthFront content on Social Media;
  • Writers that are interested to cover developments and prepare analyses in the field of SouthFront coverage;
  • Regional and military analysts;
  • Designers;
  • Video makers;
  • Voiceover artists.

SouthFront is a crowdfunded endeavour. If you want to influence the global politics and further, and force the US State Department & Co release even more fairy tales in an attempt to silence independent media, support SouthFront by donations.

WE ARE THE RESITANCE!

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The Open Society and its Giant Enemies

twitter.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

 A few days ago I received this warning message from Twitter: 

 “Hi Gilad Atzmon, 

Your account, @GiladAtzmon has been locked for violating the Twitter Rules. I was accused by this anti social network of “violating” their  “rules against hateful conduct.”

The message took me by surprise as hatred is foreign to me. In fact, I dedicate a considerable amount of my energy to exposing the racism, racial supremacy and biological determinism that are found in many identitarian discourses. 

Twitter wrote to me “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

Here is my 5 year old tweet that prompted action by twitter:

 @GiladAtzmon

_What can Jews do about #Antisemitism? Simple– look in the mirror– introspect. #Palestine #Zionism #Israel #BDS

what can jews do.png

 It seems that Twitter considers it  ‘hateful’ to  ask people to “look in the mirror”, to “introspect,” to consider the ‘remote’ possibility that maybe some of the Jewish State’s policies and practices may reflect badly on the Jews as a whole. I would like Twitter to explain to us how calling on people  to “introspect”  “promotes violence” or “threaten[s] or harass[es] people on the basis of race?” 

Twitter must have known that I didn’t commit any ‘hateful speech’ and offered me the chance to erase my 5 year old tweet that no one except my devoted Zionist stalkers would notice and who managed to pinpoint four other ‘hateful’ statements by me.  

Apparently sarcasm isn’t well received by Twitter’s moderators. They demanded that I also delete this 4 year old tweet:

@GiladAtzmon

I suggest instead of referring to the Swastika we just call it ‘Star of Adolf,’ it sounds friendly and it puts David’s in context…”

I accept that some Jews are upset by my dark cynicism, but considering the disastrous crimes that are committed by the country that decorates its tanks and airplanes with Stars of David, this is another call for Jews to introspect, to look in the mirror, to self-reflect. It by no means “promotes violence”, “threatens”, or “harasses” anyone. If anything it replicates the early Zionist insight which I agree with, that before anything else, Jews must first find their way to become ‘people like all other people.’ 

 Twitter also asked me to remove this exchange with an ardent Zionist: 

“@GiladAtzmon

@Saul_Freeman because the real holocaust is what you People do to Palestinians.”

I understand that I violated a tenet of the holocaust religion that no one is allowed to apply the H-word to any other people’s suffering. Certainly, no one is allowed to point at the slow genocide of the Palestinians. 

I don’t intend to bore you with each statement Twitter finds hateful. It doesn’t take much  to figure out that  Twitter was subjected to a Zionist blitz aimed at silencing me.  To some extent it was reassuring that my detractors couldn’t find a single remotely hateful statement in my entire Twitter oeuvre. And it was amusing to see how upset this caricature Zionist was to find out that my Twitter account was still active.  https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1291278513534902281&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fgilad.online%2Fwritings%2F2020%2F8%2F8%2Fthe-open-society-and-its-giant-enemies&theme=light&widgetsVersion=223fc1c4%3A1596143124634&width=550px

 What is clear to a growing number of people, perhaps most Westerners, is that Twitter, like FB and  Google are not what they initially promised to be. It took little time for these internet platforms to morph into authoritarian and draconian thought police. If there was an initial promise to emancipate us through the internet, it is gone, the internet giants have become the most rigid oppressive and totalitarian forces leading us into the next dark age. 

The chutzpah, and I indeed deliberately use the Yiddish word in this context,  exceeds former totalitarian oppressive measures. This time it is not our rulers, tyrants or monarchs who make us fearful of our own thoughts. It is not political parties who make us walk on our tiptoes. In 2020 Internet companies even suspend the activity of democratically elected  leaders if they don’t fit with the Zuckerberg agenda or Twitter’s ‘progressive’ goals. In 2020 Zuckerberg and a few of Google’s directors decide what scientists are allowed to say about Covid 19. In August 2020 the internet giants claimed to know what eradicated Beirut before even the Pentagon or the Lebanese produced an explanation.  

Once again I find myself  reiterating that the Tyranny of Correctness is at the very heart of the Jerusalemite ethos. While Athens introduces us to philosophy, science, logos, beauty – Jerusalem, is considered the city of revelation,  is all about obedience. In Jerusalem, we follow mitzvoth and commandments. In Jerusalem, ethics (the making of moral judgments)  is replaced by rules that dictate an image of morality. Jerusalem decrees what we can say, Athens teaches us how to think for ourselves. 

The USA was born as an Athenian realm. It was the Land of the Free, not because it has ever been free, but because it was inspired by the notion of freedom.  Not much is left out of this aspiration.  America, like Britain, France and other Western countries is now a Jerusalemite colony, its regime of correctness is defined by foreign sensitivities. 

For the West to stop its rapid decline, it must –  and right now, before it is too late, to reinstate its fidelity to the Athenian creed. If the West wants to survive, it must ensure that it isn’t a Zuckerberg, in whatever form, who defines the boundaries of the Covid-19 debate. It should not be Youtube that decides which doctors and scientists are kosher enough to deserve airtime.  

For us to have a prospect of hope, Jerusalem must be reduced into its natural magnitude.  The Zionists who are upset by such  thoughts should bear in mind that Zionism succeeded in achieving its early objectives because its Zionist founders rejected Jerusalem. Their aim was to make Zion into an Athenian province. Their mission ultimately failed, but not before it inspired some Jews to believe in the possibility of a metamorphosis.  

Thanks for supporting Gilad’s battle for truth and justice.

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Video: Covid-19 and the Censorship of Medical Doctors. LancetGate and the Suppression of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, July 30, 2020

Medical doctors at an event in front of the US Supreme Court are accused of making false statements.  

The video of their press conference was removed by Youtube and Facebook. They are accused by CNN of spreading “fake science”

The doctors put forth Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an effective Covid-19 cure.

Why were they smeared by CNN? Why were they the object of censorship?   

According to CNN, Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is sponsored by “Fake Pharma companies”. What utter nonsense.  The unspoken truth is that the statement of the medical doctors goes against the interests of Big Pharma. 

In this video, Professor Michel Chossudovsky reveals how a peer reviewed report in The Lancet  was used “to kill” the legitimacy of HCQ as a cure of Covid-19.  It was later revealed that the Lancet HCQ study was based on fake data. The author of the peer reviewed report apologized.

“I’m truly sorry”…  And the report was retracted by The Lancet, which acknowledged that the data was fabricated. The media remained silent on what constitutes “Fake Science”. 

VIDEO

The Lancet article was retracted,

India’s “Playing Hard to Get” with America by Letting the AIIB Fund China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky,

Global Research, 2020

Related Video

IMPRESSIONS FROM AN INFORMAL MEETING WITH ASMA AL-ASSAD, SYRIA’S FIRST LADY

By Eva Bartlett

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*(All photos taken from the Facebook page “Asma al Assad – Syria’s First Lady“)

I had been sitting in a small entrance room for what seemed less than a minute when the door opened and Syria’s first lady, Her Excellency Asma al-Assad, greeted me with a warm smile, welcoming me inside a slightly larger sitting room. In official meetings I had had over the years in Syria, I was accustomed to a secretary or assistant escorting me into the meeting room. Asma al-Assad, however, does things up close and personal.

Over the years in Syria, I had heard from people I encountered that she and President Assad routinely meet with their fellow Syrians in crowded venues, mixing and engaging with the people. I had also seen countless photos and videos of the Assads visiting Syrians in their homes around the country.

While I have been to Syria over a dozen times in the past seven years, it had never occurred to me to request a meeting with the first lady. But when that opportunity recently presented itself, I leapt at the chance to speak with one of the most beloved figures in Syria, and to hear her thoughts on her country, her fellow Syrians, and on the plights they are all in. And as it turned out, it was a chance to hear her poignant insights on her role as a mother, a citizen, the wife of the President and a leader in her own right.

Even before assuming the role of Syria’s first lady, Asma al-Assad made it a priority to focus on the development of Syria, and over the years since she’s headed organizations focusing on a range of development issues, including financial, educational and vocational. To effectively work on the many issues she does, her level of awareness of Syrians’ situation on the ground is crucial.

She has travelled widely around Syria, to the smallest villages, to meet with those who could benefit from the various organizations she heads. Videos abound of the first lady, and also the president, visiting wounded soldiers, families of martyrs, cancer patients, and impoverished Syrians, greeting them with hugs and kisses to their cheeks. They often sit with them on the floor of their homes, listening to them talk about their experiences.

In fact, in an interview she gave in 2002, Asma al-Assad explained:

“I wanted to meet [ordinary Syrians] before they met me. Before the world met me. I was able to spend the first couple of months wandering around, meeting other Syrian people. It was my crash course. I would just tag along with one of the many programmes being run in the rural areas. Because people had no idea who I was, I was able to see people completely honestly, I was able to see what their problems were on the ground, what people are complaining about, what the issues are. What people’s hopes and aspirations are. And seeing it first-hand means you are not seeing it through someone else’s eyes. It was really just to see who they are, what they are doing.”

As I already had an appreciation for what she’s accomplished I approached our recent meeting with a great degree of admiration for the person she is and the compassion she exudes.

Since this meeting was not a formal interview, I did not seek to record the over two hours of conversation with Her Excellency. Immediately after leaving, however, I did jot down as many notes about our conversation as I could recall, and will do my best to do justice to what Asma al-Assad said, sometimes quoting her but in general paraphrasing her words.

Also, while I wish to express the respect she deserves in her role as the first lady, and whereas most would call her Your Excellency, I’m also aware that she isn’t fond of titles and fanfare, one of many traits evidencing her humility. Thus, to find middle ground I will either refer to her as the first lady or Asma al-Assad.

Finally, although I’ve begun this essay with focus on Asma al-Assad and her character, what follows is really about Syria, through her eyes, and at some points my own. From the way she spoke, it is very clear that everything she does for her country is for her country, and she does so with an admirably passionate commitment.

I was admittedly anticipating our meeting, wondering how it might unfold. As it turned out, from the initial greeting, conversation flowed naturally and comfortably, which I attribute not only to Asma al-Assad’s ability to put those she meets with at ease very quickly, but also to the genuine interest and attention she pays everyone she meets.

She asked about my family, and was concerned about my own well being—to which my answer was something along the lines of: I’m very gratefully in the place I would most want to be right now. She asked about my experiences in Palestine in general, and my years in Gaza specifically. This was not feigned interest, as the first lady has consistently shown support for Palestine.

In late 2008/early 2009, when Israel was committing a massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza who had nowhere to flee, I was living in Gaza, and during the war riding in ambulances, documenting Israel’s war crimes. For three weeks, civilians were bombarded relentlessly—including with White Phosphorous, DIME, dart (flechette) bombs, drone strikes, Apache and tank shelling, and the massive one ton bomb airstrikes. In the end, Israel’s assault killed over 1400 Palestinians.

During an interview she gave to CNN at the time, Syria’s first lady spoke on the horrors which Palestinians were enduring during the massacre and also due to the inhumane Israeli siege on Gaza, rendering Gaza a prison. She spoke movingly of the over 80 percent of Palestinians in Gaza reliant on food aid to merely survive, the nearly 1 million (there are far more now) who don’t have access to clean water, and on many of the other sordid realities about life under siege in Gaza.

“This is the 21st Century. Where in the world could this happen? Unfortunately, it is happening. Just imagine your children living in Gaza. Mothers in Gaza can’t cook. Why can’t they cook? Because they don’t have access to fuel, they don’t even have access to the basic foodstuffs that are required to get a meal together, so children don’t eat. You put your children to bed at night and you expect to see them in the morning. That’s a luxury that people in Gaza just do not have. So what would it be like for you, living under those circumstances?”

WORKING FOR SYRIANS

During our meeting I commented on her work drive, knowing that throughout the past months when around the world things have slowed to a halt she has continued working on issues related to Syria’s development and empowering Syrians from all walks of life.

In May she participated in a workshop with staff of Jarih al-Watan (The Nation’s Wounded), a national veteran support program created in 2014 to help injured soldiers rebuild their lives and reintegrate back into society. The program provides support in several key areas including physical rehabilitation, mental health, education grants, vocational training and financial aid for small and medium enterprises.

The first lady explained that working hard is natural for her. She graduated from university quite young and started working professionally at age 21. When it comes to her work for Syrians, it’s more than her natural drive, it is something she is compelled to do for her country.

She talked to me about her cancer treatment (2018-2019), saying that people likely expected her to stay home, to discontinue work or at least work less because she was ill and undergoing treatment. But for her, how could she, for example, delay a child from getting treatment for a hearing aid, or delay a patient from getting medical care, “simply because I was feeling tired.”

Most people who have had a cold or flu would stay home during their illness, justifiably so. That Asma al-Assad refused to do so while enduring cancer treatment and all of the painful and exhausting side effects speaks volumes to her devotion to her people, a point worth stressing given that Western media has done their utmost to vilify her and the President.

Apart from her development work, the first lady quietly works to change antiquated mindsets on how to do things in Syria. She is also keen to encourage people in general, especially children, including her own, to think for themselves.

“We are trying to encourage young people to ask questions and think critically, which should be in line with democracy and freedom of opinion…”

Encouraging critical thinking and questioning of everything are traits that make for a more open society. For at least the past decade, the US and allies have preached about wanting freedom and democracy in Syria. But while gushing about freedom, they were funding and supporting terrorism, illegally occupying Syrian land, stealing Syrian oil, and prolonging terrorism in the country.

The forward-thinking approach Asma al-Assad embodies could lead to changes for the better in Syria. Yet, because the West is on a mission to impose a government which will do America’s bidding, people and policies that are actually good for Syria are dismissed and ridiculed by America and her allies.

Meanwhile, ironically, in Western countries, censorship has become increasingly rife, with dissenting voices being deleted from Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook, and with critical articles on current events being labelled as “fake news” by Western-government affiliated so-called “fact checkers”.

The first lady noted, “People are being steered by a narrative. They are not allowed to have an opinion any longer. There’s now no freedom of speech in the West.”

IMPACTS OF AMERICA’S DEADLY SANCTIONS

In June, America again ratcheted up its decades-old sanctions on Syria, adding a new round of sanctions meant to utterly debilitate the people of Syria— who’ve already suffered nearly ten years of war.

Every day where I am now in Syria, I hear and see things that drive home just how utterly brutal the US sanctions are: a friend whose aunt can’t get the medications needed for her cancer, another friend whose cousin died as a result of not getting the medications he needed for his chronic illness.

The sanctions are deliberately targeting Syrian civilians, and that is the intent of the United States. The US pretext of “helping Syrians” by sanctioning their country is sociopathic double-speak. The reality is they are slowly killing Syrians.

Under the latest sanctions, civilians are denied medicines, access to up to date medical equipment, and as a consequence, denied medical treatment.

The first lady spoke on how much harder life has gotten for Syrians.

“The medical equipment in Syria (like radiotherapy) needed to treat cancer patients is outdated and it is getting harder and harder to maintain these machines and keep them working. With the sanctions, chemotherapy drugs have become harder to source decreasing the likelihood of patients surviving cancer. If I was facing cancer now instead of two years ago, I wouldn’t be able to get the needed treatment. This is the case for Syrians now.”

I asked about importing the materials needed for local manufacturing. But the problem is, she told me, companies cancel contracts for fear of being punished by the US for violating sanctions.

The first lady asked me what I noticed in recent visits to Syria. I said that I had imagined things would be better after the 2018 liberation of eastern Ghouta and other areas occupied by terrorists and the cessation of their daily mortar and missile attacks on residential areas of Damascus.

But although there is peace, people I meet are despondent about the future. Young people want to leave, to find work or study abroad. And while Syria has started to rebuild, the truth is we don’t know how long that will take, particularly given that the latest sanctions target reconstruction as well. Nor do people know how or when the economy will improve.

The shattered economy is largely a product of ten years of terrorism, war, the sanctions, and the US-Turkish theft and destruction of Syria’s resources, particularly oil. The Syria-wide bout of crop fires in wheat and barley growing regions has devastated farmers and contributes to the country’s economic woes. Farmers blame US and Turkish occupation forces for deliberately setting some of the fires, with Turkish forces even allegedly firing on farmers to keep them from extinguishing the flames.

Destroying the economy, starving the people, bringing people to their knees, in hopes they will vote against their president. That is the US strategy.

However, the US and allies have from day one underestimated the Syrian people. Syrians have shown the world the meaning of steadfastness, facing the most powerful nations and their terrorist proxies, and rising undefeated. But doing so with untold, tragic losses.

HONOURING THE SACRIFICES OF SYRIAN SOLDIERS

The first lady spoke of supporting micro businesses as a long term strategy to improve the economy for all, not just for some. This is something she’s been doing for nearly twenty years in Syria, with a variety of initiatives on microfinance, funding and training.

Tied into this is the vocational training that enables startup projects.

This June, at Nasmet Jabal, in a mountainous area in northwestern Syria, I saw wounded former Syrian soldiers receiving vocational training, learning cheese and yogurt making, staples of the Syrian diet. In previous years, at a Damascus community centre supported by the Syria Trust, I saw women learning sewing skills, likewise to enable them to be employed or start their own businesses.

When speaking of her and her husband’s approach to raising their children, Asma al-Assad noted the importance of their children knowing the sacrifices of Syrian soldiers, stressing that her children are able to do the most basic things in life—walk, study, even just be alive—precisely because the army has defended Syria, and in many cases with soldiers paying a deep price in doing so.

This is one reason their three children frequently appear with the first lady and president in their visits to wounded soldiers.

Last month at the vocational training, I heard the testimonies of a number of such wounded soldiers, suffering injuries that should be life-shattering. But like wounded soldiers I’ve met over the years, they shared an inspirational drive to rebuild their lives, physically, materially and emotionally

In February 2011, Vogue published a surprisingly honest article on the first lady and her work for Syria, titled “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert.” Although Vogue later removed it from their website, I would encourage people to read the archived copy. It gives a detailed sense of the work and life of the first lady. The author spent several days with Asma al-Assad, getting informative glimpses into the workings of her foundations, and of the first lady herself.

I was told some months ago that when the first lady learned of the title, she was not pleased as one might have expected.

“I am not the only rose, you are all roses,” she said to a room of women at the Syria Trust for Development.

Throughout Syria’s history women have played prominent roles, from Queen Zenobia in the 3rd century AD, to women defending Syria against terrorism, to Nibal Madhat Badr first female Brigadier General in the Syrian Army, to the mothers of martyrs.

Syria’s Vice President, Najah Al-Attar, is a woman, as is Bouthaina Shaaban, media and political advisor to the president. Armenian MP Nora Arissian and former independent MP Maria Saadeh are among countless others.

Asma al-Assad also balked at the portrayal of Syria as a desert, a portrayal physically depicting the country as a vast sandy region, but also incorrectly implying a lack of culture and education, a sense of backwardness.

Just as the cultural mosaic is vast and varied, so is Syria’s landscape, with snowy mountains, steaming coastal areas replete with citrus and banana trees, rolling hills in the northwest, and yes desert areas to the east.

Anyone who has had the fortune to come to Syria likewise is aware of how empowered women are, how rich the culture is, and how valued education is. Art and music flourish here. Teenagers participate in science Olympiads.

In the past four months, I’ve had some opportunities to see more of Syria’s beautiful landscapes that I’ve described. Prior to the war, Syria was a popular tourist destination, particularly for its rich culture and landscapes, as well as for its ancient areas and cities and historic sites.

But historic and cultural sites aside, there is an aspect of Syria’s history and culture that the first lady is extremely worried about losing: the intangible culture, customs passed down through generations. A dialect gets lost because people who fled an area sometimes will not return.

She told me of a village woman who still hand makes Freekah (whole grains of wheat harvested while still green) in the traditional way. But most young people in the village have left, so that tradition won’t be passed down.

Syria is trying to document its intangible culture, a monumental task considering how much there is to document.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’ll conclude by saying that whereas over the past decade there has been a systematic effort by Western media, politicians and government-aligned “human rights” groups to vilify the first lady, president and army, the reality on the ground is in stark contrast to the propaganda emanating from Washington.

Anyone who has followed the war on Syria, and the Western aggression against so many nations, will be aware that one of the first things America and allies does is to vilify the leadership, those same leaders they may have previously praised as being moderate.

The abrupt removal shortly after publication by Vogue of its feature on the first lady is a perfect example of the media being directed to not allow any positive reflections on Syria’s key figures. Only cartoonish denominations are allowed in Western media now. The 2002 interview with Asma al-Assad which I referenced at the start was published in the Guardian, an outlet which has since become a prime source of the most vile war propaganda against Syria and the whitewashing of terrorists’ crimes.

Meeting Syria’s first lady confirmed what I already knew from speaking with countless Syrians over the years, and from observing from afar the work she does: she is a strong, intelligent, down to earth, and compassionate woman dedicated to empowering and helping her fellow Syrians.

I am extremely grateful for the time I had with her. At a time of global instability, sitting with Asma al-Assad was calming and inspiring.

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SYSTEMATIC CENSORSHIP: GOOGLE BANS TSARGRADTV’S YT CHANNEL AND ENTIRE ACCOUNT

South Front

In the very early hours of July 28th, the YouTube channel of TsargradTV was entirely banned, without an explanation.

“Now, until the situation is fully cleared up, instead of an official channel with high-quality video content, YouTube shows our viewers a black plug. The million-strong audience of Tsargrad, in fact, was cut off from the truth, which we were not afraid to speak directly on the air.”

TsargradTV is suing YouTube over its channel being closed.

“We have not received any alerts, notifications or strikes from YouTube. Moreover, the administration of the service still does not explain the reasons for the blocking. They simply refuse to get in touch with us, so we plan to resolve the conflict in court,” said the editor of the TV channel Daria Tokareva.

In addition, Tsargrad is preparing an official appeal to the YouTube administration demanding the restoration of the channel.

The largest media outlets wrote about the blocking of the Tsargrad TV channel on YouTube. Comments on the decision of the administration of the service appeared in a number of telegram channels, dozens of accounts on social networks.

Google, however, has chosen not to enter in any sort of discussion with TsargradTV.

Only in an interview with the Moscow city news agency did the press service of Google say the following:

“Google complies with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws. If we find that an account is in violation of these laws, we will take appropriate action.”

As such, Google simply said that it adheres to US sanctions on the territory of Russia.

As such, Tsargrad’s entire Google account was also blocked.

Systematic Censorship: Google Bans TsargradTV's YT Channel and Entire Account

“Your Google account has been locked and cannot be restored, due to a violation of export laws. If you’ve any queries, refer to a lawyer.”

The reason for blocking of the accounts allegedly was “violation of export laws.”

According to SocialBlade, the channel had 1.06 million subscribers the day before the block.

At the same time, the YouTube channel of the Two-Headed Eagle Society, headed by Konstantin Malofeev, the founder of Tsargrad, was also blocked.

YouTube’s notice reads: “Blocked for violating community guidelines.”

The Tsargrad channel, which appeared in 2015, positions itself as “the first Russian conservative information and analytical TV channel,” since the end of 2017 they stopped broadcasting and completely switched to online.

At the same time, in the fall of 2017, Malofeev created the “Two-Headed Eagle”, which he defined as “a society for the development of Russian historical enlightenment”; its goal is to promote monarchism and the history of pre-revolutionary Russia.

Malofeev himself has been under the sanctions of the European Union, the United States and Canada since 2014 due to accusations of financing the military conflict in eastern Ukraine.

SouthFront itself was recently banned on YouTube without a due explanation, and the support team continues the struggle against censorship.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Another Stage In Agressive War Against SouthFront

Source

Another Stage In Agressive War Against SouthFront

After the termination of SouthFront’s Facebook and YouTube accounts, our ill-wishers have moved to attempts to damage or interrupt the work of our website: southfront.org.

Most recently, you may have noticed that every day at about 14:00-15:00 CEST, southfront.org slows down. This happens because this period is often the peak of attacks on the website.

A few examples:

Another Stage In Agressive War Against SouthFront

Another Stage In Agressive War Against SouthFront

SouthFront Team contributes all possible efforts to keep the website operational and apologies for any inconvenience incurred due to the current situation.

SOUTHFRONT OPERATES THANKS TO THE AUDIENCE’S DONATIONS. OUR WORK IS NOT POSSIBLE WITHOUT YOUR HELP.

Since July 1, SouthFront has collected 382 USD. This is 7.6% of the monthly budget needed to keep SouthFront working and further.

Another Stage In Agressive War Against SouthFront

SUPPORT OUR WORK:

SouthFront Is Censored Under Cover of Pandemic

Censorship of alternative media is becoming more widespread in the COVID19 era. This article documents the case of SouthFront.

By Rick Sterling

Global Research, June 09, 2020

Introducing SouthFront

Where do you find daily news, videos, analysis and maps about the conflict in Syria?  Detailed reports about the conflicts in Libya, Yemen and Venezuela?  News about the rise of ISIS in Mozambique?  Original analysis of events in the US and Russia?  SouthFront is the place.

SouthFront is unique and influential, reaching a global audience of hundreds of thousands. They have  opinion articles but their reports and videos are informational and factual. Their website says,

“SouthFront focuses on issues of international relations, armed conflicts and crises…. We try to dig out the truth on issues which are barely covered by the states concerned and the mainstream media.”

Censorship by Facebook and YouTube

A major disinformation and censorship drive against SouthFront was recently launched.  On April 30 the SouthFront Facebook account with about 100,000 subscribers was deleted without warning or notice.

On May 1,  SouthFront’s main YouTube account with over 150 thousand subscribers was terminated. The English language channel had 1,900 uploaded videos with 60 million views over the past 5 years.

While the SouthFront website continues as before, the above actions remove important distribution channels which SouthFront has painstakingly built up.

The censorship has been accompanied by a parallel disinformation campaign promoted by corporate, governmental and establishment “think tank” organizations.  This is in the context where the US State Department’s  Global Engagement Center (GEC) has a direct liaison with Silicon Valley companies and teams focused on “countering the propaganda” from Russia, China and Iran with a current budget of $60 million per year.

In a March 2020 hearingSenator Chris Murphy (D – Conn) lobbied for increased funding and more censorship. He said, “It’s hard to chase one lie after another. You have to actually go after the source and expose the source as illegitimate or untrustworthy, is that right?” Lea Gabrielle, head of GEC, responded “That’s correct.”

When the Senator says “it’s hard to chase one lie after another“, he is acknowledging that it’s often hard to show that it’s a lie. Even more so when it is not a lie. It is much easier for the authorities to simply say the source is untrustworthy- or better yet to eliminate them – as they have tried to do with SouthFront.

False Accusations by Facebook

The elimination of SouthFront’s Facebook account was based on a Facebook sponsored investigation titled “April 2020 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report”.  The 28 page report says,

We’re constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public debate across our platforms….We view influence operations as coordinated efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation…. This month we removed eight networks of accounts, Pages and Groups….. Our investigation linked this activity to … two media organizations in Crimea – News Front and SouthFront. We found this network as part of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

First, SouthFront is not trying to “manipulate public debate”; they are providing news and information which is difficult if not impossible to find elsewhere.  It seems to be the censors who are trying to manipulate debate by shutting out some voices.

Second, SouthFront does not have “fake accounts”; they have a public website plus standard social media outlets like Facebook and YouTube (until cancelled). Third, SouthFront has no connection to NewsFront nor operations in Crimea.

NewsFront and SouthFront are completely different organizations. They share the name “Front” but that is irrelevant. Does Facebook confuse the New York Times with Moscow Times?  After all, they both have “Times” in their title.

Facebook has shut down SouthFront on the basis of misinformation and smears.

False Accusations by DFRLab

The  Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) was created by the Atlantic Council, a “non partisan organization that galvanizes US global leadership”. It is another organization which is quick to label alternative foreign policy voices as “Russian propaganda”. DFRLab claims to have “operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news”. They reported the censorship of SouthFront with a report titled “Facebook removes Russian propaganda outlet in Ukraine” with subtitle “The social network took down assets connected to News Front and SouthFront, propaganda websites supportive of Russian security services”.  They reported that the two “demonstrated a close relationship by liking each other’s pages.” As anyone who uses Facebook is aware, it is common to “like” a wide variety of articles and publications. The suggestion that “liking” an article proves a close relationship is silly.

The DFRLab  report says News Front and SouthFront “disseminated pro-Kremlin propaganda in an array of languages, indicating they were attempting to reach a diverse, international audience beyond Russia.”

First, NewsFront and SouthFront are completely distinct and separate organizations.  Second, is there anything unusual about a website trying to expand and reach different audiences? Don’t all publications or outlets do that?  This is a tactic of the new censors: to portray normal behavior as sinister.

Another censorship tactic is to assert that it is impermissible to question the veracity of certain findings.  Thus DFRLab report says NewsFront posted “outright disinformation” when it published a story that “denied the culpability of Russian-backed separatists’ involvement in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines MH-17”.  They suggest this proves it is Russian propaganda and false. However, the facts about the downing of MH-17 are widely disputed. For example. one of the foremost American investigative journalists, the late Robert Parry, came to the same conclusion that the MH-17 investigation was manipulated and the shoot-down was probably NOT as portrayed. Parry did many articles on this important event, confirming that it is not “Russian propaganda”.

The Atlantic Council is one of the most influential US “think tanks”. It appears they have created the DFRLab as a propaganda tool to disparage and silence the sources of alternative information and analysis.

Disinformation by European Council “Task Force”   

The goals and priorities of the European Union are set by the European Council.  They are also increasingly active in suppressing alternative information and viewpoints.

In 2015 the European Council created a East StratCom Task Force to “address Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns”. Their major project is called EUvsDISINFO. They say,

“Using data analysis and media monitoring services in 15 languages, EUvsDISINFO identifies, compiles, and exposes disinformation cases originating in pro-Kremlin media.”

This organization is part of the disinformation campaign against SouthFront. In April 2019 they published an analysis “SouthFront – Russia Hiding Being Russian“. The story falsely claims that SouthFront “attempts to hide the fact it is registered and managed in Russia.”  The SouthFront team is international and includes Russians along with numerous other nationalities. Key spokespersons  are a Bulgarian, Viktor Stoilov, and an American, Brian Kalman. They do not hide the fact that the website is registered in Russia or that PayPal donations go to an account in Russia. The website is hosted by a service in Holland. It is genuinely international.

EUvsDISINFO demonstrates disinformation tactic of falsely claiming to have “exposed” something that is “hidden” when it is public information. There is nothing sinister about collaboration between different nationalities including Russia. EUvsDISINFO suggests there are sinister “pro-Kremlin networks”.  In reality, SouthFront is a website run by a dedicated and underpaid staff and lots of volunteers.  While the European Council gives millions of dollars to EUvsDISINFO, SouthFront operates on a tiny budget without government support from Russia or anywhere else.

False accusations by US Department of Defense

On April 9,  the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Laura Cooper, spoke at a press briefing.  She identifies SouthFront by name and accuses them of “reporting that there actually was no pandemic and that some deaths in Italy might in fact have been from the common flu”.

The first accusation is because of the SouthFront article “Pandemic of Fear”. In contrast with the accusation, the article says, “The COVID-19 outbreak is an apparent threat which cannot be ignored.”  The article also discusses the much less reported but widespread pandemic of fear.

The second false accusation is regarding the high death toll in Italy. SouthFront reported the findings of a report from the Italian Ministry of Health which suggested the previous mild winter and flu season had “led to an increase in the pool of those most vulnerable (the elderly and those with chronic illnesses) that can increase the impact of the epidemic COVID-19 on mortality and explain, at least in part, the increased lethality observed in our country.” This is very different than saying the deaths were caused by the common flu. In any case, the findings came directly from Italian health authorities not SouthFront.

In the same press conference, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense says she wishes to “reign in malign actors that are spreading misleading disruptive information”.   The censors claim the higher ground but engage in misinformation and falsehoods as they seek to silence discussion and debate.

Conclusion

There is a coordinated effort to manipulate and restrict what the public sees and hears in both North America and Europe.  Under the guise of “fact checking” and stopping “Russian propaganda”, the establishment has created private and government sponsored  censors to distort and diminish  questioning media.  They label alternative media “Russian” or “pro Kremlin” even though many of the researchers and writers are from the West and have no connection or dependency on the Russian government.

SouthFront is an example of a media site doing important and original reporting and analysis.  It is truly international with offices in several countries. The staff and volunteers include people from four continents. The censorship and vilification they are facing seems to be because they are providing information and analysis which contradicts the western mainstream narrative.

In recent developments, SouthFront is posting videos to a secondary YouTube channel called SouthFront TV. When that was also taken down on May 16, they challenged the ruling and won. The channel was restored with the acknowledgment “We have confirmed that your YouTube account is not in violation of our Terms of Service.”

SouthFront is still trying to have their main channel with 152K subscribers restored. Their Facebook account is still shut down and attempts to disparage their journalism continues. The censorship has escalated during the Covid19 crisis.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be reached at rsterling1@protonmail.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Rick Sterling, Global Research, 2020

Is This Controlled Demolition all over Again?

 BY GILAD ATZMON

contollrf demolition .jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

For years Eco-Enthusiasts, both activists and scientists, have been telling us that the ‘party’ will come to an end. The planet we are stuck on can’t take it for much longer, it is getting too crowded and unbearably warm. Most people didn’t take any real notice of the situation and for a reason. This planet, we tend to think, isn’t really ‘ours,’ we were thrown onto it and for a limited time. Once we grasp the true meaning of our  temporality, we begin to acknowledge our terminality.  ‘Being in the world’ as such is often the attempt to make our ‘life-time’ into a meaningful event.

Most of us who haven’t been overly  concerned with the ecological activists and their plans to slow us down knew that as long as Big Money runs the world, nothing of a dramatic nature would really happen. In the eyes of Big Money, we tended to think, we, the people, are mere consumers. We understood ourselves as the means that make the rich richer.

Rather unexpectedly, life has undergone a dramatic change. In the present age of Corona, Big Money ‘let’ the world lock itself down. Economies have been sentenced to imminent death. Our significance as consumers somehow evaporated. The emerging alliance we have been detecting  between the new leaders of the world economy (knowledge companies) and those who carry the flag of ‘progress’ ‘justice’ and ‘equality’ has evolved into an authoritarian dystopian condition in which robots and algorithms police our speech and elementary freedoms. 

How is it that the Left, that had been devoted to opposition to the rich, has so changed its tune?  In fact, nothing has happened suddenly. The Left and the Progressive universe have, for some time,  been sustained financially by the rich. The Guardian is an illustrative case of the above. Once a left -leaning paper with a progressive orientation, the Guardian is now openly funded by Bill & Melinda Gates. It shamelessly operates as a mouthpiece for  George Soros: it even allowed Soros to disseminate his apocalyptic pre-Brexit view at the time he himself gambled on Brits’ anti- Brexit vote. By now it is close to impossible to regard the Guardian as a news outlet –  a propaganda outlet for the rich is a more suitable description.  But the Guardian is far from alone.  Our networks of progressive activists fall into the same trap. Not many of us were surprised to see Momentum, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign support group within the Labour Party, rallying for the ‘Holocaust Survivor’ and ‘philanthropist’  George Soros.  When Corbyn led the Labour Party, I learned to accept that ‘socialists’ putting themselves on the line of fire defending oligarchs, bankers and Wall Street brokers must be the new ‘Left’ reality. We are now  inured to the fact that in the name of ‘progress’ Google has demoted itself  from a great search engine into a hasbara outlet.  We are accustomed to Facebook and Twitter dictating their worldview in the name of community standards. The only question is what community they have in mind. Certainty not a tolerant and pluralist western one. 

One may wonder what drives this new alliance that divides nearly every Western society? The left’s betrayal is hardly a surprise, yet, the crucial question is  why, and out of the blue, did those who had been so successful in locating their filthy hands in our pockets go along with  the current destruction of the economy? Surely, suicidal they aren’t.

It occurs to me that what we may be seeing is a controlled demolition all over again. This time it isn’t a building in NYC. It isn’t the destruction of a single industry or even a single class as we have seen before. This time,  our understanding of Being as a productive and meaningful adventure is embattled. As things stand, our entire sense of livelihood  is at risk.

It doesn’t take a financial expert to realise that in the last few years the world economy in general and western economies in particular have become a fat bubble ready to burst. When economic bubbles burst the outcome is unexpected even though often the culprit or  trigger for the crash can be identified. What is unique in the current controlled demolition is the willingness  of our compromised political class, the media and in particular  Left/Progressive networks to participate in the destruction.

The alliance is wide and inclusive. The WHO, greatly funded by Bill Gates, sets the measures by which we are locked down, the Left and the Progressives fuel the apocalyptic phantasies to keep us  hiding in our global attics, Dershowitz tries to rewrite the constitution , big Pharma’s agenda shapes our future and we also hear that Moderna and its leading Israeli doctor  is ready to “fix” our genes.  Meanwhile we  learn that  our governments are gearing up to stick a needle in our arms. Throughout this time, the Dow Jones has continued to rise. Maybe in this final stage of capitalism, we the people aren’t needed even as consumers. We can be left to rot at home, our governments seemingly willing to fund this new form of detention.  

I believe that it was me who ten years ago coined the popular adage  “We Are all Palestinians” – like the Palestinians, I thought at the time,  we aren’t even allowed to name our oppressor… 

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY FINALLY REACTED TO CENSORSHIP ON YOUTUBE AND FACEBOOK

South Front

Russian Foreign Ministry Finally Reacted To Censorship On YouTube And Facebook

On May 20, the Russian Foreign Ministry released an official statement on the censorship of four Russian-language media organizations – “Krim 24” (Crimea 24), “Anna News”, “News Front” and “Riafan” – on YouTube.

The YouTube channels of “Krim 24” (Crimea 24), “Anna News”, “News Front” were blocked on May 19, while the channel of “Riafan” was blocked on April 17.

““Krim 24” TV channel is one of the most popular sources of information on the peninsula. It is a part of Crimea’s largest media holding “Television and Radio Company “Krim” that unites  five television channels, three radio stations, an information portal and two Internet sites. The team of “Krim 24” TV channel traditionally covers the most relevant major news topics in this Russian region.

As a result of the deletion of the Krim 24 account on the Youtube platform, about 30 thousand subscribers lost access to videos that had tens of millions of views. The US platform has taken restrictive measures under the clearly far-fetched pretext of “violating hosting rules.”

The fact that Youtube did not provide any convincing facts explaining its actions, as well as the fact that the appeal of the channel’s team still remains unanswered, is unacceptable,” the foreign ministry said in its statement.

The foreign ministry emphasized that it considers “the actions of video hosting as another act of discrimination against Russian-language media resources by US-controlled Internet platforms that systematically resort to arbitrary censorship of content in Russian.”

The Russian side also recalled that in January 2019, Facebook deleted more than 500 pages related to Russia, including materials from the Sputnik news agency.

“These are just some examples of US Internet censorship of Russian information portals,” it said.

SouthFront cannot but express solidarity with the indignation of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Over the past years, SouthFront has repeatedly become a target of informational attacks, censorship and theft of content.

At the same time, SouthFront recalls that our YouTube channel with over 152,000 subscribers, 1,900 uploaded videos and approximately 60 million views was terminated on May 1.

SouthFront immediately made an appeal of this decision on YouTube and sent requests of informational support to various organizations. We also sent emails to the Russian Foreign Ministry and a number of Russian mainstream media organizations. SouthFront emails and requests were expectedly ignored.

Russian Foreign Ministry Finally Reacted To Censorship On YouTube And Facebook

The reason is simple. SouthFront has no relations with the Russian government system. Russian official bodies and mainstream media do have no influence on the editorial policy of SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence. Therefore, they have no motive to provide SouthFront with any kind of support or informational assistance. On top of this, SouthFront critically covers the situation and political tendencies in Russia and has never pushed propaganda in the interests of Russia or any state.

In any case, we are glad to see that Russian media organizations that were censored on YouTube and Facebook got support from Russian official bodies.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

After Youtube and Facebook, Vimeo bans ‘Sayed Hasan’ & Nasrallah’s videos

After Youtube and Facebook, Vimeo bans ‘Sayed Hasan’ & Nasrallah’s videos

May 16, 2020

Source

‘Sayed Hasan’ channel censored for the umpteenth time

The only sure way to follow my work is to subscribe to the Newsletter.

Please write to Vimeo (legal@vimeo.com) to protest this decision, putting me in bcc if possible (contact@lecridespeuples.fr).

On February 28, 2020, Vimeo arbitrarily deleted my channel ‘Sayed Hasan‘ which, since the deletion of my Youtube channel in December 2017 (followed by my Facebook pages in May 2019), published my French subtitled videos —extracts from speeches from Hassan Nasrallah, Ali Khamenei, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, alternative anti-imperialist documentaries, Al-Mayadeen or Russian TV News Bulletins, etc. Thus, two years and two months of work, 400 videos posted and 600,000 views, which is not negligible in view of the fact that Vimeo is marginal vis-a-vis the giants Youtube or Facebook and their quasi-monopoly, went up in smoke.

This is not Vimeo’s first act of censorship. In June 2019, the Project Veritas account was banned following the publication of its exclusive investigation into Google’s ideological censorship, the first part of which I captioned.https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x7eegy3

And most recently, in April 2020, at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic, Vimeo censored a documentary denouncing the influence of lobbies on the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Vimeo platform, for which I had to pay an annual fee of 84$ to post my videos, therefore did not prove to be safer than Big Tech, on the contrary: while Youtube has a system of three warnings, largely biased anyway, Vimeo deleted everything without warning, simply informing me in these terms:

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The reason invoked was grotesque, as no part of the Vimeo Guidelines mentions such a prohibition. The only rules that applied were the —classic and legitimate— Copyright and Fair Use, so I protested to Vimeo on March 9, pointing this out:

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Vimeo’s response came the same day:

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The absurdity and the contradiction were obvious: on the one hand, it was no longer the Vimeo Guidelines that were invoked, but the Terms of Service (note Vimeo’s hypocritical apologies for this ‘confusion’), which don’t make any mention of content from TV or the internet. On the other hand, the original pretext of theft or plagiarism is completely disconnected from the only questions relevant in this regard, namely respect of Copyright and Fair Use, to which long sections of the Vimeo Guidelines are devoted. But Vimeo manages to affirm that even by respecting these rules, my content could not be published because it would not be a 100% original creation, which is absurd, discriminatory and would empty the sections devoted to Fair Use of any interest. I reacted in these terms on March 23:

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Vimeo refrained from answering for more than 2 weeks. It was only after Norman Finkelstein intervened on my behalf on April 6 that they deigned to answer him (the same day).

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Vimeo then responded to the second follow-up email that I sent right away, transcribed below with their April 8 response.

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I replied to this email empty of substance on April 8:

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Of course, launching a lawsuit would require resources that I do not have, unless a lawyer or a Civil Liberties association agrees to do them at little cost. I nevertheless ask all those who can to write to Vimeo (legal@vimeo.com), putting me in Bcc if possible (contact@lecridespeuples.fr) to protest against this decision, and share this article widely. It should be noted that at least one lawsuit is currently underway in the United States against Vimeo for freedom of expression issues, a pastor having had his account deleted for having mentioned his renunciation of homosexuality and his journey to God.

This is neither the first nor the last time that I have to start from scratch after years of hard work, when they were bearing fruit. Faced with incessant censorship, which will increase as we approach the inevitable Liberation of Palestine, the only sure way to follow Resistance News is to subscribe to the Newsletter, which is also an important act of support. Please do so and invite your friends to do it.

Finally, those who can are invited to make a donation to help this volunteer work.

My videos in English are accessible on Dailymotion and are safeguarded in the Unz Review.

Everything having been said in two previous articles (Kafka 2.0: how political censorship is exercised on Youtube & Freedom of expression, Hassan Nasrallah and other victims of censorship on the Internet), I will conclude again with Norman Finkelstein’s statement of support when my Facebook page was deleted:

“It is a scandal that the speeches of Hassan Nasrallah are banned on Youtube. Whatever one thinks of his politics, it cannot be doubted that Nasrallah is among the shrewdest and most serious political observers in the world today. Israeli leaders carefully scrutinize Nasrallah’s every word. Why are the rest of us denied this right? One cannot help but wonder whether Nasrallah’s speeches are censored because he doesn’t fit the stereotype of the degenerate, ignorant, blowhard Arab leader. It appears that Western social media aren’t yet ready for an Arab leader of dignified mind and person.”

The online intifada to which Hassan Nasrallah called continued. As he keeps saying since May 25, 2000, the time for victories has come, and the time for defeats is well and truly over: this is why his word is mercilessly hunted down —ironically, on Youtube, the Israeli channel i24 News is the main source still available for his speeches, all the others having been suppressed: the Zionists will even try to make a buck out of the rope to hang them! Repeated censorship is an eloquent sign of the importance of this work, and, far from discouraging me, it will only motivate me more.

An ominous prediction, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic and its huge toll on the United States

Sayed Hasan

Donate as little as you can to support this work and subscribe to the Newsletter to get around censorship.

“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah

FACEBOOK REMOVES NEWS OUTLETS IN LATEST ORWELLIAN PURGE

Source

12.05.2020 

Facebook Removes News Outlets in Latest Orwellian Purge

Written by Dave DeCamp; Originally appeared on AntiWar.com

Over the past three years, Facebook has been removing accounts for participating in what they call “coordinated inauthentic behavior” (CIB). According to Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, the Orwellian term refers to when “groups of pages or people work together to mislead others about who they are or what they’re doing.” Facebook takes down accounts for CIB due to “deceptive behavior” not for sharing false information. In the latest purge, Facebook removed accounts from two news outlets, SouthFront and News Front.

The two outlets have no affiliation; the only thing they share besides the word “Front” in their names is content that does not toe the Western mainstream media line. In its effort to remove CIB and limit “disinformation,” Facebook partners with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab (DFRLab). The Atlantic Council is a Washington-based think-tank that receives funding from Western and Gulf State governments, defense contractors, and social media outlets. Some of its top contributors for the 2018 fiscal year include the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Embassy of the UAE to the US, the US State Department, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.

Facebook started releasing monthly CIB reports in March that detail the networks and accounts they take down. On May 5th, Facebook released its CIB report for April 2020. The report says Facebook removed eight networks of accounts, pages, and groups engaging in CIB. SouthFront and News Front are included in the first network covered in the report. “We removed 46 Pages, 91 Facebook accounts, 2 Groups, and 1 Instagram account for violating our policy against foreign interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign entity,” the report reads.

Facebook claims they linked this activity to “individuals in Russia and Donbass, and two media organizations in Crimea – NewsFront and SouthFront.” In a response to the reportSouthFront says the claim that they are based in Crimea is a “blatant lie” that they are willing to “defend in court.” SouthFront says the organization is made up of “an international team of independent authors and experts,” some of whom are from Russia and post-USSR states. News Front, on the other hand, is based in Crimea, but the organization does not try to hide its pro-Russia bias.

In a press release, the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab announced Facebook’s removal of the two organizations. The DFRLab refers to News Front and SouthFront as “two Crimea-based media organizations with ties to the FSB.” The FSB is a Russian security and intelligence agency, a successor to the Soviet Union’s KGB. In its independent analysis of the two outlets, the DFRLab offers little evidence to back up the claim of FSB ties. The analysis only uses a 2017 story from the German outlet Zeit, where a former News Front staffer claims the organization receives funding from the FSB. The DFRLab offers no evidence to link the FSB with SouthFront.

The DFRLab does not make a strong case for Facebook’s removal of the news outlets. The press release says, “While the DFRLab could not corroborate Facebook’s finding of CIB, it also found no evidence to contradict it.”

But using Facebook’s definition of CIB, the DFRLab’s analysis of the two outlets does seem to contradict Facebook’s findings. The pages and users analyzed do not seem to be misleading others or hiding who they are. “Most of the assets that DFRLab had access to did not hide their connection to South Front or News Front. Many of the pages wore their connections on their sleeves, naming themselves as different language versions of the websites,” the analysis reads. News Front is an international news organization with websites in English, Russian, German, Spanish, French, and Georgian and had Facebook pages to reflect that.

The analysis finds what they call “suspicious links” between News Front and ANNA News, another pro-Russia news outlet. But those “suspicious links” are just two former ANNA News anchors who now work for News Front. Facebook removed pages dedicated to the two anchors.

The analysis goes on to address the only connection between SouthFront and News Front, and probably, the real reason why they were removed from Facebook. Both outlets share stories that go against the Western narrative. The example the analysis seems to take the greatest issue with is stories that take into account Russia’s denial in the role in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014. The analysis also points out that News Front accounts shared news stories from Russian-state funded media outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Ultimately, the DFRLab does not provide any information linking SouthFront or News Front’s social media activity to the Russian government and does not give examples of the accounts intentionally hiding their identity. The best they can do is mention some connections to the Russian government the founders of News Front have, but it is nothing they are trying to hide.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an increase in internet censorship. YouTube’s CEO recently said they would remove any videos that go against the World Health Organization’s guidelines for the virus. On top of the Facebook ban, SouthFront’s YouTube channel has also been removed without any explanation. Although most of SouthFront’s content is military analysis, some stories they published on Covid-19 were flagged as “disinformation” by a ministry of the European UnionSouthFront published a detailed response to those accusations, pointing out that only three of the 3,000 stories they published this year were found to be “disinformation” by what they call “pro-NATO propagandists.”

SouthFront posted a video asking their readers for support in the wake of the social media bans. For independent news outlets, reach on social media is vital for their survival. SouthFront’s Facebook page had around 100,000 subscribers, and the YouTube channel had about 170,000. SouthFront publishes multiple news stories each day, mostly following updates on wars in the Middle East. One of the website’s best resources is its frequently updated maps.

Other networks removed by Facebook in April include accounts in Iran, Georgia, Mauritania, the US, and Myanmar. Facebook claims they took down a network of accounts connected to Iran’s state broadcasting company, although they provide no evidence to support the claim. Content credited to this network includes a post promoting former presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul from 2012. Another example from 2014 is just a news story about Israeli forces preventing Palestinians from praying in al-Aqsa Mosque.

Facebook and its Western government-backed partners will continue to remove accounts each month for engaging in CIB. It will be hard to know if the connections they make to the accounts are genuine. But if the sloppy work they did on SouthFront and News Front is any indication, claims from Facebook and the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab should always be met with skepticism.

Dave DeCamp is assistant editor at Antiwar.com and a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave.

AN IN-DEPTH LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES OF SOUTHFRONT CENSORSHIP

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The situation surrounding the censorship of Southfront on Facebook has turned into a display of the stereotypical Big-tech super villain. Facebook has published a report justifying its actions, which is an egregious, textbook example of fake news. The report contains only disjointed accusations under the cover of meaningless words, and without a single example being presented. Special attention should be paid to the fact that in the full 29-page report, there are no mentions of SouthFront itself, besides the baseless accusations at its outset.

Furthermore, in order to label SouthFront as allegedly official Russian propaganda, Facebook first identifies another media site with a similar name, and then proceeds to emphasize the similarity of the brands. The name of this organization is “News Front”, which indeed shares the word “Front” in its name, yet the similarities end there. News Front is an official Russian organization that is located in Crimea and publicly pursues an acute pro-Russian patriotic informational agenda for a Russian speaking audience.

In the case of News Front, to assert that the site is engaged in pushing fake news or disinformation is also nonsense. There are no hidden “trolls” infecting the weak minds of the citizens of Russia or other countries of the post-Soviet space through devious attempts to manipulate and mold their innermost perception. This is a regular Russian patriotic media site with a declared pro-Russian bias. Having a declared and obvious bias is not a crime in a democratic world.

As for the wider, global, non-Russian-speaking audience, News Front has a minimal presence. So why it was necessary to censor this Russian organization? The answer is now obvious, as described above.

The comparison of the audience of southfront.org and news-front.info by Alexa:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The comparison of the audience of southfront.org and news-front.info by SimilarWeb:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The catalyst that led to these actions concern mass complaints made by propaganda units created and funded by NATO, the EU and other Euro-Atlantic organizations. A majority of these propaganda units, like Euvsdisinfo, StopFake, or the Atlantic Council, have offices and representatives in Ukraine and Baltic states. They operate with the designated goal of utilizing both formal and informal tools to undermine the work of independent and non-mainstream media. To achieve their goals, the pro-NATO propagandists often exploit the so-called ‘Russian threat’ concept; however, this merely provides a cover for their aggressive actions to silence and discredit opposing opinions and sources of information they deem to be counter to their own interests.

The reason behind their activity is simple – they must justify their existence in reports to their sponsors. They are constantly and fiercely working to engineer ‘successful actions’ regardless of their validity. In order to continue securing funding to expose and defeat an imaginary enemy, they must create imaginary victories, irrespective of reality.

EXAMPLE 1:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The real title of the article is “COVID-19 – THE FIGHT FOR A CURE: ONE GIGANTIC WESTERN PHARMA RIP-OFF” (source)

This article is written by Peter Koenig and submitted via Global Research. Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization in many parts of the world, including in Palestine, in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greenville Post; Defend Democracy Press, TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of “Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed”, a fictional work based on historical fact and over 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (Global Research). Global Research itself is run by a group of authors that have advanced academic degrees from respected academic institutions and teach in universities of the United State and Canada.

So, what kind of ‘fake news’ or ‘disinformation’ did Mr. Koenig push in the article? The article provides a critical look at and addresses the concerns regarding the goals of the global pharmaceutical industry, otherwise known as Big Pharma, in the larger context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Are these global corporations not commercial entities that seek to gain larger revenues and increased profits? Yes, clearly so. So, what is wrong with this logic? Furthermore, Mr. Koenig wrote his article based on official statistics and sources.

For example:

“The vaccine that might eventually be applied to COVID-19, may most likely no longer be valid for the next coronavirus outbreak – which, also according to Mr. Redfield, CDC, will most probably occur. A later virus may most certainly have mutated. It’s quite similar to the common flu virus. In fact, the annually reoccurring common flu virus contains a proportion of 10% to 15% (sometimes more) of coronaviruses.”

This is an obvious scientific fact – a specific vaccine acts against a particular strain of virus. Complex vaccines act against several strains, but the accumulated modern scientific knowledge has yet to invent a vaccine that can act against all the possible strains. The converse statement is a falsehood and is aimed at misleading the public.

A biased critic may label as conspiracy the author’s point of view towards the aggressive advertising of vaccines or the need for electronic IDs; however, this very same point of view has been voiced by various politicians or representatives of big business. Even the term ‘New World Order’ which appears twice in the subject text, was itself widely used by the mainstream political establishment, and even presidents of the United States like George H. W. Bush.

However, this did not stop paid propagandists from labeling the article the work of a conspiracy theorist and thus labelling it as disinformation. One could claim that the author asserted a notion of conspiracy, but there was zero disinformation, as the author’s hypothesis was based on scientist fact and common knowledge.

EXAMPLE 3:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The real title of the article is “WESTERN MEDIA TALKS UP BIG PHARMA’S SEARCH FOR CORONAVIRUS VACCINE WHILE IGNORING USE OF HIGH DOES VITAMIN C TO SAVE LIVES IN CHINA” (source)

This article is written by a well-known international author, Dr. Leon Tressell. The main assertion of the article is that high dose vitamin C therapy apparently helps to deal with acute respiratory disease and viral pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2. The article clearly shows that the methods of treating the symptoms caused by SARS-CoV-2 share some commonality with the actions taken to treat the symptoms of respiratory disease and viral pneumonia caused by other viruses. There is no correlation between the effectiveness of a particular drug or method of treatment and its monetary cost. This fact is also universally recognized in the scientific community.

Mr. Tressell writes:

  • Clinical trials using high dose vitamin C therapy in China ignored by Western media
  • New York hospitals now using vitamin C therapy to treat coronavirus patients

Are these false statements? No. These points are demonstrably true.

Indeed, the author states that the “mainstream media, and the scientific and political establishments are completely under the spell of big pharma”; however, in the same article he explains this point of view in detail. This remark is based on his personal point of view (protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution) as well as those of scientists quoted in the text. For example:

Dr. Andrew W. Saul, Editor in chief of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service

Dr. Richard Cheng, an American-Chinese doctor currently based in Shanghai

Dr. Andrew G. Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist affiliated with two Northwell Health facilities on Long Island

Thus, there is no reason to say that Tressell distributes fake news. In the worst case, the author writes about a valid hypothesis and only once does he make a personal judgment regarding the motives and aims of big pharma. Is this false news or disinformation? Of course it is not. Is some conspiracy theory present here? If one claims “yes”, then that person will have to accept that most of the political establishment of the United States, which also uses the terms the New World Order and Big Pharma are also conspiracy theorists. Surely one statement of the article’s author pales in comparison to the thousands of statements of politicians and top businessmen espousing similar views. How popular does a dissenting view have to become before it is no longer considered a conspiracy theory?

EXAMPLE 3:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The real title of the article is “WHILE THE WORLD IS IN DISARRAY, COVID-19 IS BREAKING UP RUSSIA” (source)

The article was likely used by the Euvsdisinfo authors either out of a lack of humor, ignorance, or sheer stupidity. This article is a critical review of the political and administrative situation in Russia amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the first part of April 2020. The article provides a critical look at the actions of the Russian government (in particular the Moscow authorities) and points out that, while the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant public health challenge, the threat of the pandemic may be estimated inaccurately, resulting in the government making poor decisions in dealing with it. The developments in Russia in the second half of 2020 confirmed this analysis. Meanwhile, the article itself regularly refers to scientific and state sources of data and criticizes political and administrative actions of the Russian government. It also looks critically at actions of Moscow mayor Sergey Sobaynin, which at the time went contrary to the Russian legislative system.

Euvsdisinfo labeled the article as conspiracy theory and disinformation. This decision raises some eyebrows. Does NATO really support the actions of the Moscow authorities? If this is the case, perhaps President Putin should consider taking a closer look at the mayor of the Russian capital. Another explanation is that nobody in Euvsdisinfo actually read the article. The aforementioned article regularly refers to publicly available facts and quotes numerous substantiated sources, while providing a critical point of view of the author towards the administrative and political situation in Russia.

The aforementioned articles are all that pro-NATO propaganda organizations have been able to highlight to accuse SouthFront of spreading disinformation. Three articles out of approximately 3,000 published since the start of the year. The attention of such propagandists to SouthFront comes amid the termination of our YouTube channels. These arbitrary and unjustified actions lead us to believe that there is almost no objectivity in the modern world. So, if somebody wants to claim that white is black, he will continue to do so as long as it serves the interests of his sponsors. Nonetheless, in the case of YouTube, the situation is even more surprising. SouthFront released no videos that could be labeled as ‘COVID-19 disinformation’ even theoretically. There were only 3 video infographics on the topic on our YouTube channel. They presented facts and data and did not even feature narration. SouthFront’s YouTube channel had zero active strikes to over 1,900 uploaded videos up until the point of termination.

In this situation, it will be especially interesting to witness how YouTube will react to the developing scandal.

WE CRITICALLY NEED YOUR INFORMATIONAL ASSISTANCE

Please, help us by sharing this message with the global audience. Also, please inform your family, friends, and your social circles about southfront.org as an independent platform covering crucial developments in the Middle East and around the world.

As always, but especially during this uncertain and economically challenging time, your donations are especially important in keeping SouthFront alive.

Why I No Longer Read Facebook

 BY GILAD ATZMON

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by Eve Mykytyn

In an effort to stem the torrent of ‘false’ cures and conspiracy theories about COVID-19, Facebook announced it would begin informing users globally who have liked, commented on, or shared “harmful” misinformation about the coronavirus, that the content they reacted to was incorrect and  pointing them in the direction of what Facebook considers to be a  ‘reliable’ source. The reliable source?  The World Health Organization. Here’s the distinctly noninformative WHO Covid 19 website . 


I don’t know what caused Covid 19 to become our disease du jour. Was it a bat? A natural or laboratory mutation? Not only do I not know, but I don’t believe that Facebook, or the WHO know either. Why not let theories abound? Perhaps free speech means that we trust the people to evaluate the source and sort out the facts for themselves. 

The general rule in the US is that no publisher has an obligation to print any particular view: that rule dates from  when ‘publisher’ meant print and print was inexpensive. The founders intentionally strove to open a ‘marketplace of ideas,’ a ‘public square’ with pamphleteers and speeches. Published content was restricted only  by the threat of litigation over libel or defamation which requires publishing material known (or should have known) to be false.

Exceptions to the general rule came about when publishing was through a limited medium regulated by the government. When television stations were a limited resource obtained through government licensing of the  few channels, the government imposed  free speech requirements including an equal time rule, requiring television stations to present both sides of an issue. The rule was dropped, considered unnecessary only when television began to offer a plethora of stations.

So now we get to Facebook( youtube, twitter, etc.). Which is it most like, television or freely available printing?

For many years, including the time that these major platforms became monopolies, the internet depended on cable service which due to the physical nature of cable was a limited resource for which the government issued licenses to certain cable companies. In 1965 , the FCC established rules for cable systems and the Supreme Court affirmed the FCC’s jurisdiction over cable. I believe that  Facebook is also subject to regulation as a monopoly as the government has authority to interfere with monopolies, particularly when they are successful (which is, admittedly another issue) ask AT&T. 

But Facebook wants it both ways.  They don’t admit liability for defamatory statements published on their site. They argue that they behave simply as a platform, a means of transmission. But they also reserve the right to censor content by restricting or deleting material they deem incorrect. So which is it? If they have the power to censor what we see why shouldn’t they be liable for the content?

This censoring of free speech applies broadly. Google favors some content over others in its search engine, Youtube has been on a tear not only deleting videos but replacing videos with others that express an alternative view.   See where they plan to ban holocaust  ‘denial’ (revisionist in any way)  videos and offer wikipedia instead.  Further they intend to offer the banned videos to researchers and NGOs “looking to understand hate in order to combat it,” thereby providing content only to a restricted class of their own choosing.  Twitter inserts a page when a ‘controversial’ link is clicked warning the user that the link has been identified as  malware although Twitter admits that malware warnings are posted based on content. 

What is it that compels these platforms to come down on both sides of the free speech issue?  After all, by editing content Facebook becomes more like a  publisher and less like a mere  platform. Facebook does so because it regularly gets brought before Congress to explain free speech congress doesn’t like. Facebook also defers to European countries that regulate speech.

Facebook argues that internet companies aren’t governments and they can restrict what they like. That’s why they don’t follow the First Amendment and instead enforce more restrictive rules in response to criticism of their content.  See, for ex., The New Yorker on the ‘free speech excuse.’  

I believe that major platforms have become the public square. Yet we allow Facebook to restrict our speech and they do so effectively. As owners of the public square they are uniquely positioned to and do silence  dissenters. Platforms take down posts that don’t fit their ‘standards, and they do so swiftly. Perhaps before we allow Facebook to be the arbitrator of free speech, we should rethink the present day meaning of a marketplace of ideas.

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