Facebook, Social Media Giants Admit to Silencing Palestinian Voices Online

May 14th, 2021

By Jessical Buxbaum

Source

Social media companies including Facebook have admitted to MintPress that pro-Palestinian posts were removed, blaming “technical bugs” and “spam filters.”

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM — In a video posted on activist organization Jewish Voice for Peace’s Twitter account, Muna El-Kurd explained why social media is so vital for the Palestinian cause.

“We rely on the honorable people standing in solidarity with us, people who tweet #SaveSheikhJarrah everyday,” Muna El-Kurd said. “Even a short tweet or post is a treasure.”

El-Kurd and her family are under threat of forcible displacement by Israel settlers and Israeli government forces from their home in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in Occupied East Jerusalem. Over the past week, Palestinians on the ground have documented both Israeli police brutality and settler violence.

In response, the world rallied behind Palestinian home defenders online by sharing information related to Sheikh Jarrah, al-Aqsa Mosque, and Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine. However, activists claim their content was met with censorship from the very platforms with which they’re engaging.

Instagram disabled Muna El-Kurd’s account last week and her brother, Mohammed El-Kurd, had several of his Instagram stories removed and was threatened with account deletion.

A flurry of content removal and banning

Activists reported that social media companies have been removing their content, stating it violated community guidelines or deeming it “hate speech.” Reports also included suspended and deactivated accounts and text-only content labeled “sensitive,” a designation usually reserved for photos and videos containing violence, gore or derogatory images. The “Save Sheikh Jarrah” Facebook group was also deactivated, according to Mohammed El-Kurd.

Reports were largely centered on Instagram and Twitter, with some restrictive behaviors conducted by Facebook and even TikTok.

Over the weekend, hashtags related to al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Jarrah and Jerusalem could not be found on Instagram.

According to internal employee communications provided to Buzzfeed, al-Aqsa — the third holiest site in Islam — was flagged by Instagram as associated with “violence or dangerous organizations.” The label is typically reserved for terrorist groups.

During the last days of Ramadan, worshippers at al-Aqsa were attacked with stun grenades and rubber bullets by Israeli police in riot gear. More than 170 Palestinians were injured. Social media users hoping to publicize the state violence instead found their content removed from search results.

Twenty-four rights organizations signed a statement demanding that Facebook and Twitter reinstate affected accounts and explain their actions:

The removed content and suspended accounts on both Instagram and Twitter are involved in documenting and reporting what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah, as well as denouncing Israel’s policies of ethnic cleansing, apartheid and persecution. These violations are not limited to Palestinian users, but also affect activists around the world who are using social media to raise awareness about the grave situation in Sheikh Jarrah.

Nadim Nashif, founder and CEO of 7amleh, one of the letter’s signatories, said the digital rights organization had received approximately 200 cases of social media censorship related to the recent events in Palestine. However, he believes the actual number could be well into the thousands, as many users experiencing censorship may not report it.

“Actually, 99 percent of our [content removal] appeals to social media companies were put back, with no questions asked. And this is clearly because these posts did not really violate their community standards,” Nashif told MintPress News. “What’s basically happening is the Israeli Cyber Unit is abusing the system of so-called voluntary takedown.”

When reached for comment, a Twitter spokesperson said “Our automated systems took enforcement action on a small number of accounts in error by an automated spam filter.”

“We are expeditiously reversing this action to reinstate access to the affected accounts, some of which have already been reinstated,” Twitter said.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, responded to requests for comment from MintPress by issuing a statement that reads in part:

We know there have been several issues that have impacted people’s ability to share on our apps, including a technical bug that affected Stories around the world, and an error which temporarily restricted content from being viewed on the Al Aqsa mosque hashtag page. While both issues have been fixed, they never should have happened in the first place. We’re so sorry to everyone who felt they couldn’t bring attention to important events, or who felt this was a deliberate suppression of their voice. This was never our intention.

Corporate and government collaborative censorship

As previously reported by MintPress, social media suppression of Palestinian media is not a new phenomenon. 7amleh’s research unveiled significant cooperation between social media behemoths and Israel in targeting Palestinian content: According to a 2020 7amleh report on the systematic erasure of Palestinian content, the Israeli Ministry of Justice’s Cyber Unit is responsible for submitting removal requests to tech companies based on purported violations of domestic law and the companies’ community guidelines.

7amleh wrote in their report:

The Israeli Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, stated that ‘Facebook, Google, and YouTube are complying with up to 95% of Israel’s requests to delete content that the Israeli government says incites Palestinian violence.’ This shows a significant focus on Palestinian content and efforts to label Palestinian political speech as incitement to violence.

The Israeli government and non-governmental organizations also encourage citizens to participate in these censorship efforts by making their own content removal requests with regard to Palestinian information.

“The big issue of the voluntary takedowns is that there aren’t any legal or bureaucratic procedures to clarify them,” Nashif said.

In 2019, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a joint petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice against the Cyber Unit on the grounds its mechanisms violate the constitutional rights of freedom of expression and due process. Last month, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected that petition.

“As usual, the Supreme Court supported and validated the actions of the Cyber Unit,” Nashif said. “And now they’re trying to suppress the Palestinian voice by intensifying these requests for takedowns.”

Nashif could not confirm that Israel’s Cyber Unit is behind the latest alleged censorship. But through Adalah and ACRI’s use of the Freedom of Information Law, 7amleh knows the government entity made more than 15,000 requests last year to social media platforms. Nashif explained:

We don’t have evidence about what’s happened in the last week because neither the Cyber Unit nor Facebook is transparent about the takedowns. But it’s clear from following them, researching their policies, speaking with people working in Facebook and from the different appeals in the court against the Cyber Unit, we know that this is obviously happening.”

Escalating violence, growing grassroots action

Tensions in Jerusalem and throughout Palestine have intensified in recent days. At the time of writing, Israeli airstrikes have killed 87 Gazan Palestinians, including 18 children, and rocket fire from Hamas, the resistance movement governing Gaza, has killed six Israelis and one Indian national. More than 530 Palestinians have been injured and 28 Israelis wounded.

Israeli forces have fired skunk water and stun grenades at crowds demonstrating against the expulsions of Sheikh Jarrah residents. Armed groups of Israelis are currently storming Palestine’s streets—chanting “Death to Arabs,” destroying Palestinian properties, and attacking Palestinians.

Palestinians Gaza
Palestinians carry the body of a child found in the rubble home destroyed by a precision Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, May 13, 2021. Abdel Kareem Hana | AP

Palestinians Gaza
A relative mourns over the bodies of four young brothers from the Tanani family killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, May 14, 2021. Khalil Hamra | AP

Palestinians Gaza
A wounded boy lies on a stretcher following an Israeli attack in Beit Lahiya, Gaza, May 10, 2021. Mohammed Ali | AP

The Israeli Supreme Court postponed a court hearing on the possible dispossession facing Sheikh Jarrah families, including the El-Kurds. The court is expected to set a new date in 30 days.

While the Israeli authorities continue crushing Palestinian dissent on the ground, Nashif said Palestinian voices remain silenced online as well.

“Our feeling is that it’s less now because we are getting fewer requests to appeal. But it is still happening,” Nashif said, referring to how the Israeli Cyber Unit, artificial intelligence, and pro-Israel internet communities like Act.IL are all part of the campaign to diminish the Palestinian perspective on social media.

“You have to understand that this is a fight on narrative,” Nashif said. “There is a strong attempt to suppress the Palestinian narrative.”

The Fascist Scale Revisited*

 BY GILAD ATZMON

adorno.jpg


by Gilad Atzmon

Revisiting Theodore W. Adorno’s work on the ‘authoritarian personality’ and the ‘F Scale’ reveals that in 2020, it is actually liberals, progressives and the so called ‘Left’ that manifest 8 out of the 9 most problematic, antidemocratic and authoritarian attitudes.

The theory of an authoritarian personality was introduced in the 1930s in an attempt to explain the mass appeal of fascism and right-wing ideologies. It came to life in the wake of a sharp rise in the popularity of fascist movements in many European societies in the inter-war period.

At the time, many European ideologists and intellectuals were deeply inspired by Marx and Freud. Marxism predicted that the great depression would translate into a vast shift in working class conciousness, materialising into a global socialist revolution. Of course, this didn’t happen. The economic crisis resulted instead in mass support for nationalist and fascist movements that were often deeply anti-Semitic.

The rational behind the above deviation from the Marxist prophecy borrowed some Freudian theoretical mechanisms. ‘People are authoritarians’ was the given ‘explanation’: under certain threatening conditions ‘authoritarian characters’ are emotionally and cognitively vulnerable to the appeal of fascist and nationalist ideologies.

During the 1930s a score of Jewish Germanic intellectuals mainly (but not at all) associated with the Frankfurt School (e.g., Wilhelm Reich) were committed to point at the psychological and socio-economic conditions responsible for the making of the Authoritarian personality.

In his 1933 work The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Wilhelm Reich attempted to explain the striking victory of ‘reactionary’ fascism over ‘progressive’ communism. Reich was desperate to rescue the relevance of revolutionary Marxism. To do so, he formed a new ‘post-Marxist’ theoretical outlook to explain why the Germans of his time favoured ‘authoritarianism’ over a ‘preferable’ communist revolution.

Reich reckoned that the attraction of ‘reactionary’ and ‘conservative’ politics and the inclination towards fascism is driven by a long history of rigid, authoritarian patriarchy which affects family, parenting, primal education and eventually, society as a whole. In an attempt to save society from fascism, Reich synthesized Marx and Freud into a ‘sexual revolution.’

In 1950, the Frankfurt School’s prominent intellectual Theodor W. Adorno, along with others, published The Authoritarian Personality, a collection of studies that became a prime academic text in the domain of social science. In this volume Adorno and others delved into the theory of the authoritarian personality and reported the results of a decade-long research in testing the theory.

Bearing in mind the origins of many of its members and the prime intellectual objective of the Frankfurt School, it is far from surprising that the investigation had begun with an attempt to explain the psychological roots of anti-Semitism: the assumption was that authoritarian personalities manifest some ethnocentric patterns that come to life with xenophobic inclinations and a dislike of out-groups and minorities.

Adorno & co. reduced the authoritarian personality into a set of nine ‘implicitly antidemocratic,’ attitudes and beliefs. Adorno believed that it was possible to identify authoritarian personalities by the degree to which people would agree with these nine attitudes. The nine fascist attitudes; are briefly summarised here:

  • Conventionalism: Adherence to conventional values.
  • Authoritarian Submission: Towards ingroup authority figures.
  • Authoritarian Aggression: Against people who violate conventional values.
  • Anti-Intraception: Opposition to subjectivity and imagination.
  • Superstition and Stereotypy: Belief in individual fate; thinking in rigid categories.
  • Power and Toughness: Concerned with submission and domination; assertion of strength.
  • Destructiveness and Cynicism: hostility against human nature.
  • Projectivity: Perception of the world as dangerous; tendency to project unconscious impulses.
  • Sex: Overly concerned with modern sexual practices.

Reviewing the relevance of Adorno’s take on authoritarianism in the light of the current global pandemic hysteria or the battle over the integrity of the American presidential election may reveal that in accordance with the F Scale, it is actually progressives, liberals and the so called ‘Left’ who are manifesting the most problematic antidemocratic authoritarian patterns:

  1. According to Adorno, Fascists ‘adhere to conventional values.’

In 2020 ‘conventional values’ are practically dictated by so-called ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ ‘community standards’ as defined by Twitter, FB and Google. These conventional values are often validated by ‘factcheckers,’ occasionally substantiated by conventions rather than anything that resembles factual research, academic or theoretical study.

2. Adorno insists that Authoritarians submit to ingroup authority figures.

But in 2020 it is actually progressives and liberals who adhere to the ‘epidemiological ingroup authority’ of Bill Gates. Similarly, Anthony Fauci is for progressives a supreme judge on public health matters. How many colossal blunders should we take from Imperial College London before this institution is dismantled? Similarly, you may want to ask yourself who in America tends to believe its ‘ingroup’ pollsters despite the fact that they prove to be colossally wrong time after time?

3. Adorno tells us that fascists manifest authoritarian aggression against people who violate conventional values.

As things stand ‘cancel culture’ is actually a progressive/liberal operational mode. People see their culture being cancelled for exploring critical views of conventional thoughts that are precious to progressives. It is hardly a secret that there is a growing fear amongst the wider public of expressing criticism, let alone doubts on a number of progressive issues, as such conduct could lead to vile aggression.

4. Adorno insists that Fascists oppose to subjectivity and imagination.

In reality it is progressive algorithms that are set by ‘liberals’ at Twitter and FB to trace and punish those who dare to explore subjective ideas about COVID-19, Trump, gender, Palestine or Soros. The progressive notion of political correctness is in itself a tyrannical call designed to suppress any form of subjectivity or imagination.

5. According to Adorno Fascists are superstitious and think in a stereotypical manner, they believe in individual fate and think in rigid categories.

Sadly, it is actually progressives and liberals who succumb to rigid categories such as ‘white,’ ‘privileged,’ ‘conspiracy theorists,’ ‘anti-Semites,’ ‘supremacists,’ ‘racists.’ ‘deplorables’ and so on. In the world in which we live, a significant number of American voters express doubts about the last election’s integrity but their voice is institutionally ignored because they are ‘white,’ ‘conspiratorial,’ and generally ‘deplorable.’ Similarly, many Westerners express scepticism about COVID-19 vaccines, yet the so called ‘liberal’ mainstream media wouldn’t let their voices be heard let alone explored. The COVID-sceptics are presented as ‘delusional’ and ‘conspiracy theorists.’ Whether this is indeed the case or not, it is rather evident that it is progressives and liberals who actually operate within a rigid intellectual realm made of strict categories.

6. Adorno insists that Fascists are obsessed with domination.

In 2020 it is actually the liberal and progressive internet giants from Google to Amazon that celebrate their domineering powers eliminating those whom they do not agree with, deleting their pages, fiddling with their rankings and practically eliminate their thoughts. This is what book burning means in 2020. You may also ask yourself who often exercises violence against statues, adhering to the foolish belief that defacing a statue equals ‘rewriting history.’

7. Authoritarians can’t handle cynicism. They are hostile towards the human nature, Adorno says

I ask myself who is chasing comedians, artists, authors, scientists who dare to mock contemporary hegemonic discourses. How many books were burned by Amazon? How many lectures and videos were removed by Google/YouTube? In the world in which we live, liberals and progressives censor elected politicians and mark their comments.

8. Adorno believed that Fascists perceive the world as a dangerous place and they tend to attribute their own unconscious impulses to others

In the upside-down world in which we live, it is actually the so-called right wing and nationalists who constantly refuse to be tormented by global threats: whether it is global warming or pandemics. It is the ‘Left’, liberals and progressives who succumb to every possible global warning whether factual or imaginary. As we will read shortly, in the world in which we live it is not the right-wing or the nationalist who ‘projects’ his or her symptoms. It is actually right-wing Americans who are otherized and suppressed to the point that they struggle to see their vision being heard let alone discussed by mainstream media.

9. Adorno believed that fascists and authoritarians are overly concerned with modern sexual practices.

This is the only criterion that genuinely relates to contemporary conservatives. It is fair to argue that conservatives are still succumbing to the idea that gender is a binary matter. They also adhere to family and church values. However, this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with ‘fascism ‘or ‘authoritarianism.’ People who believe that gender is a binary matter can often argue their case and also discuss any other topic in the frankest manner.

A current examination of Adorno’s F-Scale and the Authoritarian Personality reveals that it is actually progressives and liberals who manifest the quintessential fascist tendencies. While contemporary conservative and nationalist correlation with the F Scale may not grow beyond 0.12 (1 trait out of 9) liberal and progressive correlation with Adorno’s F scale can rise up to 0.88 (8 out of 9).

Was Adorno totally wrong then? Not necessarily. Adorno’s F Scale describes the authoritarian condition that is characteristic of hegemony, domination and a particularly exceptionalist world view. In the 1930s some European right-wing nationalist ideologists evolved into radical exceptionalism. The F scale describes their attitude accurately. Nowadays, that sense of exceptionalism and chosenism is progressive territory, as progressives happen to be people who believe that others are reactionary. Progressives, as such, are people who believe themselves to be chosen.

The fight against anti-Semitism and the attempt to understand its roots was at the heart of Adorno and the Frankfurt School’s work. Bizarrely, Adorno’s F Scale is an adequate description of the Jewish condition. Each of Adorno’s F scale authoritarian traits can be traced at the core of Judaic beliefs and thought; Judaism is a rigid authoritarian adherence to Mitzvoth (conventional values). It demands the total rule of Rabbis (Authoritarian Submission). It doesn’t tolerate any form of deviation (Authoritarian Aggression). It is superstitious and lumps the ‘goyim’ in a stereotypical manner (Superstition and Stereotypy) and so on. It is therefore plausible that those ‘attitudes’ which Adorno attributed to fascists by means of projection are those which Adorno actually found in himself. Such an observation of Adorno’s project would validate the work of the great philosopher Otto Weininger, who proclaimed that that which we hate in others is that which we hate in ourselves.

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Trump’s Last Hurrah?

THE SAKER • NOVEMBER 25, 2020 

There seems to be a quasi consensus that Trump will not prevail and that Biden and Harris will get into the White House no matter what. To my surprise, even the Russian media seems to be considering that the Trump presidency is over.

Yet, I am not so sure at all.

Why?

Because at this point in time, I think that it would fair to conclude that anybody actually willing to look at what has been revealed by this election will have to agree that this election was stolen, rigged, falsified – chose your expression – and that going to the courts to challenge this obscene miscarriage of the democratic process is a fundamental civil right and something which any democrat (small “d”) should support.

And yet, because we live in a media-created pseudo-reality in which absolutely crucial things like the rule of law seem to have become secondary to ideological imperatives, no matter how extreme, there are those who simply refuse to see the obvious. Yes, the 9/11 false flag trained the western societies well and many now simply lack the lucidity and courage to face reality.

Courts, however, are bound by the rule of law, at least in theory, and don’t have the luxury to simply pretend like crucial evidence presented to them simply does not exist.

True, the lower, state, courts are unlikely to resist the pressure put upon them to come up with the “right” conclusions, but never say never – all it takes is one single principled judge and Trump or, more accurately, the Giuliani team, might get the break they need. Still, it is pretty obvious that Giuliani’s real hopes are with the Supreme Court. This makes sense, local judges are much easy to influence and sway than Supreme Court Justices who are unassailable and who realize that they will make history, the only question being is: how till they go down in history books, as a “profile in courage” or as impotent cowards who betrayed their oath?

I will say that I am, to put it mildly, not impressed by Trump’s demeanor during these crucial days: he completely ceded the narrative to his opponents (a couple of incoherent and poorly phrased “tweets” do not qualify). True, Trump never displayed the qualities of a real leader, so this is hardly surprising.

Giuliani, however, is a tough SOB and he seems to be determined to take this fight right up to the Supreme Court. This is why I believe that it is very dangerous to make any assumptions about what the Justices might or might not do. Is it possible that even the Supreme Court justices would betray their oath and cave in to the Dem’s pressure? Yes, I suppose so. Concepts such as truth, honor, integrity, courage and heroism are very much out of fashion in the modern world, especially in the US. This is why the traditionally hallowed term “hero” is applied left and right to every bureaucrat or civil servant simply doing his/her job: real heroes are long gone.

Then consider this: if the SC sides with Trump and overturns the hundred of thousands of illegal votes, the US will be immediately plunged into an orgy of chaos and violence, all of it encouraged and coordinated by the legacy corporate ziomedia à la CNN. The thugs of Antifa/BLM will immediately engage in Kristallnacht-like rampages in “protest” against the “racist system”. Their main target? White, Christian, males, of course!

Some justices might even feel torn between standing up for what is both legal and moral and the practical considerations of the consequences of an adjudication in Trump’s favor. Their oath ought to be their guiding principles, but considering how often the SC voted along party/ideological lines in the past, I am not very confident that the Justices will strictly do the only legally and morally right thing: uphold the law and vote their conscience.

Finally, whatever we may think of the election itself, it is obvious that the US elites have created the appearance of a fait accompli, hence the kind of nonsense like, say, Biden and his “Office of the President Elect”. It is therefore reasonable to assume that even if the Supreme Court fully sides with the Trump campaign, the US elites will never accept this. They will try to find a way to impeach, legally or otherwise, those Justices who voted “wrong”.

I think that there is also another consideration which we have to remain aware of: Trump’s entire presidency is been one long and never ending prostitution of the United States to the desires and whims of Netanyahu and his gang of thugs. True, as Israel Shamir pointed out, the Israelis failed to deliver anything in return to Trump. And yet, as Philip Giraldi recently explained, Trump is still very much Israel’s prostitute, which is why there are an increasing number of Israeli experts (see here and here) who believe that Trump might strike at Iran as a “farewell” present to the Israelis.

Is that really possible? Could Trump really do something so crazy?

You betcha he could!

One one hand, I have always maintained that Trump is the Zionists’ “disposable president”, meaning a one term president who will do everything the Likudniks want of him and who will then be jettisoned and replaced by a truly “kosher president” like Biden/Harris. On the other hand, however, there is the precedent of the US meekly taking the Iranian missile attacks in retaliation for the murder of General Soleimani which seems to indicate that the Pentagon just does not have the stomach for a full-scale war against Iran.

So which will it be?

Nobody knows. The only thing we can be sure of is that we are certainly entering very dangerous times.

Those who hope that a Biden/Harris presidency might be better are deeply deluded.

Why?

Because, as many have already pointed this out, even if Trump is ejected from the White House, “Trumpism”, as an ideology, is here to stay. Even if you believe that Biden/Harris beat Trump in a fair election, surely must you still realize that there are tens of millions of Americans who feel that the election was stolen and that Biden/Harris are usurpers.

Personally, I take a very dim view of “Trumpism”, but whatever its (many) flaws, this ideology, however vague, has “redpilled” millions of Americans who now realize that they are living in a fake democracy or, to use a Russian expression, “democracy” in the US only means “power of the Democrats”. Simply put: we can call them “1%ers” or the “US Nomenklatura” or the “deep state” or whatever other term which comes to mind, but the bottom line is obvious: the US is not a democracy or a republic, it is a dictatorship of the few over the many, the “best democracy money can buy” and a system based not on one man one vote, but one dollar one vote. Whether they realize it or not, most Americans are serfs of an occupying parasitic regime which sees them solely as a (cheap) commodity.

These ideas used to be corralled into what the Ziomedia liked to call the “extremist fringe” but now millions of Americans are becoming aware of this reality, CNN & Co notwithstanding. Put the Biden/Harris ticket into the White House and millions of people will go into some kind of “resistance mode” – whether that be political activism, civil resistance, local/state insubordination to the Federal power or even armed resistance.

One of the top priorities of the Dems in power will be to crack down, hard, on the First and Second Amendments to the US Constitution. Right there we can expect a lot of local/regional/state resistance because, unlike their ruling “elites” (i.e. masters), most Americans passionately care for what are really the cornerstones of the US political system. Yes, there is a reason why the Founding Fathers placed the First Amendment in first position and the Second one right after!

The Dems will castrate the First Amendment through their control of all the major Internet platforms (YouTube, Google, FaceBook, Twitter, Amazon, etc.) and, since this will not be government censorship, at least technically, but decisions of the private sector, even the ACLU will have nothing to say about this.

The Second Amendment will be trickier to deal with, because there is no private or non-governmental institution which can do to the Second Amendment what big tech companies have done to the First one. However, all it takes is a few well-orchestrated “shootings” or any armed refusal to be disarmed, and the label “domestic terrorist” will be swiftly applied to those who dared to resist Uncle Shmuel.

Again – we are about to enter an extremely dangerous period, both inside the US and on the international front.

Trump’s handlers must realize that the AngloZionist Empire is already finished and that all that’s left is an agonizing United States. The same probably goes for the Biden/Harris handlers. Hence both parties have a huge interest in, first, creating some crisis which can distract from what is really going on and, second, in using whatever power they still have to “fire their last shells” before the ammo box goes empty.

Conclusion: too many variables to call it

The truth is that absolutely anything can happen next. There are simply way too many variables to try to make a prediction. Will Trump attack Iran? I want to believe that this ship has sailed, but I will never say never to something as evil and stupid as an attack on Iran. However, under pretty much any scenario, we can be pretty sure that come January there will be a power vacuum in the Executive and roughly half of all Americans will consider that the election has been stolen. That kind of power vacuum, or even a duopoly, is very dangerous and typically results in even more chaos and violence. Eventually, some kind of “tough” regime comes to power. But this is a threat that we can discuss further down the road.

Discussion of Wikileaks or any “Hacked Information” Banned Under New YouTube Rules

Snowden Assange

By Alan Macleod

Source

YouTube’s decision to ban discussion of hacked information on its platform is unlikely to improve election integrity in the US, it will, however, continue to tilt the balance in favor of established corporate-funded outlets like Fox News and CNN.

Social media giant YouTube announced yesterday a host of new measures it says are aimed at preventing any interference in the upcoming presidential elections. Chief among the list it wrote on its blog, is “removing content that contains hacked information, the disclosure of which may interfere with democratic processes, such as elections and censuses.” An example it gives, would be deleting “videos that contain hacked information about a political candidate.”

It also promised to “raise up authoritative voices” when it comes to current events and politics by changing its algorithm to show users more credible channels and “reduce the spread of harmful misinformation and borderline content.” Example channels that produce authoritative content, it tells readers, includes Fox News and CNN. It also noted it would expand information panels underneath videos.

There are a number of reasons this new policy could concern users of its platform. Firstly, the great majority of leaked information — the lifeblood of investigative journalism — is anonymous. Often, like in the cases of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning or Reality Winner, whistleblowers face serious consequences if their names become attached to documents exposing government or corporate malfeasance. But without a name to go with a document, the difference between leaked data and hacked data is impossible to define. Thus, powerful people and organizations could claim data was hacked, rather than leaked, and simply block all discussion of the matter on the platform. Hearing the news, some feared already existing content from investigative journalists would be subject to removal under the new guidelines.

YouTube’s choice of Fox News and CNN as reliable sources might also raise eyebrows in some quarters. According to the latest Reuters Institute Digital News Report, fewer than half of all Americans trust the two networks (Fox at 42 percent and CNN at 47 percent). And a new study from Gallup/Knight Foundation finds that fewer than a third of the country has a favorable view of the media more generally, including only 19 percent of those under thirty (YouTube’s prime demographic). Many go to the platform precisely because it offers alternative and more diverse opinions to corporate-dominated radio, print and television. But YouTube is now funneling them back towards those same sources.

The 2016 presidential election was colored by Wikileaks’ release of the Podesta emails, discussion of which would be banned under YouTube’s new rules. The Hillary Clinton campaign alleges the emails were hacked from Podesta’s computer. The published communications, the authenticity of which is not in doubt, informed the country of the machinations of the Democratic Party, how it tipped the electoral scales in favor of Clinton and against Bernie Sanders in the primary, how Clinton stated to Wall Street that she had a “public” and a “private” position on regulation, insinuating she was lying to the nation, how representatives of Qatar wanted to meet with her husband Bill for “five minutes” to present him with a $1 million check for his birthday, and how her own staff held her in contempt. The emails, Clinton contends, swung the election from her to Trump. If this is the case, the decision to ban all discussion of them would have fundamentally altered the democratic process.

If YouTube’s actions seem drastic, the Australian state of Queensland introduced laws yesterday that made it illegal to publish allegations of corruption against any politician during election season. Those found guilty would be punished with a six-month jail sentence and a fine of nearly U.S.$5,000. After a public outcry, the law was overturned after only 24 hours.

While misinformation online is a problem, there exist other, more serious threats to electoral integrity. President Trump, who said that Republicans would never get into power again if everybody voted, told Fox Business this week that he is actively withholding funds from the U.S. Postal Service in order to undermine the election to his benefit. “They need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he said. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.” Add decades of gerrymandering and a campaign of voter suppression that has seen over 1,200 polling stations across the South, primarily in black neighborhoods, and Trump might be able to overcome his polling deficit and beat Biden.

YouTube’s decision to ban discussion of hacked information on its platform is unlikely to significantly improve political discourse or election integrity in the United States. It will, however, continue to tilt the balance in favor of established corporate-funded outlets, to the detriment of new, alternative voices.

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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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:

“Truth in America R.I.P.”: In America there is only Official Truth, and It’s a Lie.

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Source

In “freedom and democracy” America there is only official truth, and it is a lie.  A person or website that speaks real truth is shunted aside as a “conspiracy theorist,” “Russian agent,” “racist,” “anti-semite,” or other such name with the purpose of discrediting the message and the messenger.  

For example, when I told the truth that Russiagate was a hoax, which it has proved to be, an anonymous website, possibly a CIA or NATO operation called “PropOrNot,” included this website among its fake list of 200 “Russian agents/dupes.”  The Washington Post, a believed long-time CIA asset, hyped the PropOrNot revelation as if it were the truth.  With “Russiagate” in full hype, the purpose was to scare readers away from those of us who were exposing the hoax.

When in a book review of one of David Irving’s World War II histories I reported his finding that many Jews were killed by Nazis, but that the holocaust that took place was different from the official story, Zionist agents at Wikipedia put into my biography that I am a “holocaust denier.”  Simply reporting a historian’s findings in a book review was all it took to be labeled with a name that in Europe can mean a prison sentence. Does this mean I cannot risk ever again traveling to Europe where Zionists on the basis of this spurious claim could have me arrested?

Because I investigated the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, interviewed many of the survivors, and reported the factual story, I was branded an “anti-semite.” 

Because I reported conclusions of scientists, architects, and engineers about 9/11, I became a “conspiracy theorist.”  In other words, in America today any dissent or merely the reporting of dissent, no matter how factual, is not tolerated.

The way those with agendas control the explanations is by shouting down those who provide objective accounts.  Social media is part of the censorship. Explanations out of step with official ones are labeled “abusive,” and in “violation of community standards.”  In other words, truth is unacceptble. Two weeks ago the Unz Review, a widely read website with dissenting views was kicked off of Facebook for being in violation of official opinion.  The same thing happened to Southfront.

Everyone who uses social media is by their use supporting censorship. Facebook imposes fascist censorship in order to protect official explanations.  The presstitutes and universities do the same.  In America truth has lost its value.

Even a public health threat like coronavirus is politicized.  One would think that there would be an interest in accurate information is order to know what steps to take and which treatments offer promise.  But that is not the case. If you are a Democrat you want the economy kept closed in hopes that a bad economy with people out of work and small businesses ruined will defeat Trump in the election.  If you are a Republican you want the economy reopened ready or not in order to boost Trump’s reelection chances.  Instead, attention should be focused on how to prepare for a successful reopening that can be sustained and not result in a flood of new cases and a second closedown as China has had to do.

If you are Big Pharma, NIH, CDC, or the research professionals dependent on grants from these sources, you want a vaccine, not a cure.  This means a long wait, assuming an effective and safe vaccine is possible.  If you are a doctor involved in treating Covid-19 patients, you want a cure or a treatment that prevents the progress of the disease.  The hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), zinc, and intravenous vitamin C treatments, which have proved to be effective, are  badmouthed by Big Pharma and its minions.  In other words, the profit agenda over-rides health care and the saving of lives.  There are reports that Facebook censures Covid-19 reporting that does not support the line that Dr. Fauci of NIH has taken. 

The FDA is clearing the way for Gilead’s Remdesivir on the back of claims that HCQ, in safe use for decades, causes heart attacks.  It is all about money.  There are no profits for Big Pharma or a chance for patents for Dr. Fauci unless inexpensive HCQ, zinc, and Vitamin C can be sidelined.  

The race for a vaccine is on as everyone wants the profits from the patent.  Instead, effort should go into testing and refining what appear to be cures or at least treatments that prevent the virus’ progression.  A vaccine might be iffy, and if the process is rushed people could be in danger from the vaccine as well as from the virus.  

Covid-19 is now a big business for the pharmaceutical corporations, for bankruptcy lawyers, for fat cats who can buy up bankrupted businesses, and for labor service providers who will hire laid-off workers and lease them back to the firms that laid them off for a fee less than the cost to the firms of full-time employees.  Many interests will be served but not that of the public.

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