MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Facebook Removes News Outlets in Latest Orwellian Purge – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 11, 2020

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.

https://original.antiwar.com/Dave_DeCamp/2020/05/10/facebook-removes-news-outlets-in-latest-orwellian-purge/

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 report, SouthFront 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 Union. SouthFront 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.

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The Other COVID Disaster – The CDC

Posted by M. C. on April 25, 2020

I shared this post on my FB page and got my first block!

It took a while but I finally made it!

I violated community standards.

There must be a sensitive FB community in Lubyanka.

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Beware: Our New Online Culture is a Feast for Mass Surveillance | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on April 11, 2020

What! You still haven’t taped over your PC and selfie camera lenses?

Nothing is private online unless you are using VPNs and secure email. Even then…

Do you really think Facebook messenger and (Facebook’s) WhatsApp are secure?

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/beware-our-new-online-culture-is-a-feast-for-mass-surveillance/

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has caused network traffic to surge as Internet users resort to video conferencing to work remotely.

For example, last December online meeting provider Zoom hosted roughly 10 million participants. In March this statistic jumped to 200 million. The public’s stampede to the cloud is an auspicious development for the intelligence community as sensitive discussions that once occurred in physical office buildings are now channeled through a relatively small number of digital gatekeepers. The implications are unsettling.

From the vantage point of professional spies, the desire to eavesdrop on popular communication channels is all but irresistible. In the United States we’ve witnessed classified programs like PRISM, where the NSA succeeded in convincing all of the big names in Silicon Valley to participate. Chatting up tech CEOs on a first name basis. Authoritarian regimes like China are even more eager to tap commercial data streams. Which is particularly salient given that most of Zoom’s engineers work over in China and that Zoom has unfettered access to the online conferences that it hosts despite marketing claims to the contrary.

Hence, efforts to limit the spread of contagion offer a golden opportunity to double down on mass surveillance. Data collection tools wielded during an emergency on behalf of public safety —facial recognition, drones, mobile device apps, smart phone geolocation, payment card records— over time take on a hue of legitimacy. Furthermore the bureaucrats using such tools are loath to give up their newfound access and will actively identify additional threats to justify it.

China serves as an instructive example. The Communist Party remains in power through an unspoken agreement with the rest of Chinese society. It’s the sort of deal that exists in many repressive nations. The government assures economic growth and in return citizens are expected to stay out of politics and submit to extreme social control measures. The Chinese government asserts that growth will continue at around 6 percent, but keep in mind that it also aggressively censors bad economic news, in the same manner that it suppressed news about the COVID-19 outbreak.

It’s highly unlikely that the Party will be able to keep delivering results forever. The COVID-19 outbreak will simply hasten a looming economic crisis in China, despite the Party’s best efforts to maintain control. With China’s towering mountain of debt, zombie factories, and conspicuous industrial overcapacity, it’s just a matter of time before the average citizen realizes that they’re not going to get what they were promised. This raises the specter of military action as the government directs attention outward in search of enemies to mobilize its restive populace. Against this backdrop mass surveillance will be ramped up in a desperate attempt to buttress the status quo.

Common sense dictates that relying on technology that’s developed in a police state like China is inherently risky. The instinctive response for many users is to turn to American technology. However, thanks to whistleblowers like Edward Snowden the public record shows that domestic companies are also cooperating with the intelligence community as well as monetizing their access to user data. So if you’re wondering whether a particular online platform is secure, you’re asking the wrong question. The salient question is which group of security services and big data aggregators have access?

Sadly this makes achieving higher levels of communication security a sort of DIY affair. The key is to prevent the current COVID-19 setting from becoming the new normal by recognizing what’s at stake. The more that we rely on Internet platforms to communicate the more power we yield to a narrow set of vested interests. Such that our need to stay in touch with each other during a disaster secretly morphs into a feeding frenzy for spies. Just as it did in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. As always, freedom entails responsibility. This means leaving mainstream channels for sensitive discussions and doing so in a manner that doesn’t create baseline anomalies that might alert watchers.

Pervasive monitoring is not the behavior of a confident nation. Mass surveillance isn’t the harbinger of stability. It’s a dangerous political tremor. A display of anxiety rather than strength. An indicator that leaders have recklessly chosen to dispense with civil liberties behind closed doors under the guise of addressing perceived threats. As citizens we have an obligation to protect the values which actually make America strong. To encourage lawmakers to resist the impulse to trade essential liberty for short-term promises of security and to forge our own paths forward when they fail to do so.

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Don’t Be Fooled by the Deplatforming of Facebook – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2020

They want regulation of all social media companies to create unscalable barriers to entry for new ones while curtailing free speech on the existing ones.

The big tech companies want to have it both ways, be a neutral platform legally but self-define ‘neutrality’ in such a way that benefits them politically, economically and socially while insulating themselves from breaching contracts with their customers.

Didn’t you all notice how both of these things became issues right after the wrong person won the 2016 presidential election and the British people made the wrong decision about EU Membership?

https://tomluongo.me/2020/02/22/dont-be-fooled-by-the-deplatforming-of-facebook/

The push for speech control escalates. There is now a concentration of stories concerning social media companies and their role in shaping political thought.

We are nine months from a pivotal presidential election in the U.S. and the push is on to ensure that the outcome goes the way those in power want it to.

Three times in as many weeks billionaire busybody George Soros has attacked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding he be removed because he is working to re-elect Donald Trump.

This seems like an absurdity. But it isn’t. It’s all part of the game plan.

Create a controversy that isn’t real to seed a narrative that there’s a problem in need of a solution. Facebook has been the center of this controversy to inflame passions on both sides of the political aisle to ensure the desired outcome.

They want regulation of all social media companies to create unscalable barriers to entry for new ones while curtailing free speech on the existing ones.

Warren Buffet would call that a moat. I call it tyranny.

Enter Attorney General William Barr.

He weighed in recently that we need to have a conversation about Facebook et.al. in relation to their Section 230 immunity under the Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 grants immunity to companies like Facebook and Google from prosecution for content hosted on their services as they argue they are not publishers but rather just pass-through entities or platforms of user-generated content.

Now, it’s pretty clear for the past few years the social media companies have been acting with open editorial bias to deplatform undesirables. They rewrite broadly defined terms of services and EULAs (End-User Licence Agreements) which they use to justify controlling what content they are willing to host.

And that’s where the Section 230 immunity comes into play. The big tech companies want to have it both ways, be a neutral platform legally but self-define ‘neutrality’ in such a way that benefits them politically, economically and socially while insulating themselves from breaching contracts with their customers.

What’s clear from Barr’s comments he’s approaching this from a law enforcement perspective.

“We are concerned that internet services, under the guise of Section 230, can not only block access to law enforcement — even when officials have secured a court-authorized warrant — but also prevent victims from civil recovery,” Barr said. “Giving broad immunity to platforms that purposefully blind themselves — and law enforcers — to illegal conduct on their services does not create incentives to make the online world safer for children.”

And this clearly doesn’t address the real issue. That’s your sign there’s something wrong here.

Both political parties are unhappy with the current situation and that should be your red flag that a great stitch-up is in progress. Because the end goal here is government oversight that has bipartisan support.

That support has to be manufactured from both sides. The left wants protection from ‘fake news’ and ‘Russian meddling’ while the right wants a level playing field to air ideas in the public square.

Didn’t you all notice how both of these things became issues right after the wrong person won the 2016 presidential election and the British people made the wrong decision about EU Membership?

I’m sure you noticed the blatant bias exhibited by Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit and the rest of these protected platforms and wondered why they were allowed to act so egregiously with seemingly no recourse?

The big tech companies don’t want more government oversight, they simply want to continue to have their have their editorial take and enforce it too while taking your money and suppressing your voice.

Government intervention is not the solution here. In fact, it is the goal of the entire exercise.

I don’t want the government coming in and further defining the rules by which Facebook can deplatform everyone who tells inconvenient truths.

Because that’s all government does. And then it empowers a bureaucracy to enforce those rules.

I don’t need a Ministry of Truth to protect me from the bad people. I know where the bad people are and, in your heart, so do you.

So the question isn’t whether Barr should strip these companies of their Section 230 immunity. Of course he should if they exhibit any kind of editorial behavior.

But, in typical Swamp fashion, Barr isn’t concerned about that. He’s concerned with using Facebook to track down criminals; the implication being drug runners, murderers, etc.

That’s a sop to law and order conservatives to get their support politically.

But the real criminals are in the bowels of the compliance departments and algorithm factories of these social media companies pushing the bounds of indecency by trying to protect us from fake news to control the flow of information.

They’ve already done a great deal of this, altering search algorithms to ensure only approved news sources show up in the results.

We know they are all working in cahoots with the intelligence agencies here in the U.S. but no one will admit it publicly. The EU and China are more honest about their tyrannical impulses using their anti-democratic structure to create rules which they force onto these multi-national companies.

Now Twitter is testing new flagging abilities for verified accounts to act as community censors, creating the illusion of a user-controlled public space. It’ll only be for those that get blue check marks. And that’s a system clearly gamed to reflect a particular ideological bias as no one who dissents from the approved globalist message gets one of those anymore.

So, only journalists from official news outlets will have this ability to fact-check in real time the pronouncements of important influencers.

If you don’t think this is simply a means by which to make it seem fair to suppress the king of Twitter, Donald Trump, then you clearly haven’t had your morning coffee.

For a couple of years now I’ve been warning you that the elites are desperate to regain control over what I call The Wire. What is The Wire?

The Wire is simply a metaphor for the transmission of information.  The Wire takes many forms.  And if you aren’t sure whether something is The Wire just ask if you have control over it or not.

The Internet?  The Wire.

Electricity?  The Wire

Roads?  The Wire.

Media?  The Wire.

Money?  The Wire.

In short, The Wire is the main conduit through which we communicate with each other.  Money?  Really?  Yes, really.  What are prices if not information about what we are willing to part with your money in exchange for?

Without The Wire modern society fails.  So, government can’t shut it down but neither can it allow unrenstrained access to it.

Electricity, commerce, communications, everything, goes over The Wire.  

Control of The Wire is everything. Soros is desperately trying to hold onto control over the social media companies he’s invested so heavily in to influence their influence.

And it’s clear we’ve entered the next phase of regaining control over it.

The solution to the Section 230 Immunity issue for these companies is to remove it and open them up to civil liabilities for their inconsistent enforcement of their own policies.

Because once you do that they have no protection under commercial contract law.

Those users that use these platforms for commercial purposes are materially harmed by the ever-changing rules of these platforms.

They entered into an agreement with YouTube or Facebook in good faith expectation of a certain level of service.

Facebook’s business is built on the implicit guarantee of that service. In turn, Facebook was built on the backs of those using the platform.

Unilaterally taking away that access without compensation simply because Facebook said so is a perversion of contract law. Why should Facebook be allowed to do that? Why hasn’t this clear inequity between parties to a contract been addressed by the courts?

And that’s what we should be addressing here.

And I’m not just talking about Facebook here. Remember when the social network Gab had its internet access revoked by GoDaddy? How does GoDaddy escape paying damages for unilaterally denying service?

There is clear opportunity for them to be sued into submission by the millions of users whose businesses and reputations have been destroyed due to arbitrary enforcement of company rules.

At the end of the day these companies create and use as excuses broad powers which have almost no precedent in contract law. Their EULAs are contracts the user signs which grants them no rights or guarantees of service in any way. They can be abrogated, updated and changed to suit the company’s whim with no redress for the breach of contract from the other party.

This is outrageous, unacceptable and flies in the face of hundreds of years of contract law.

And they should be challenged in court and thrown out as illegal Contracts of Adhesion. This is settled contract law.

If Facebook wants to ban Alex Jones from their platform fine. I have zero problem with that. If they want to act as a private business which is protected under the First Amendment’s protection of Freedom of Association, great!

I’m all for re-establishing that in this society.

Let’s open up that can of worms.

It would finally be an honest conversation. Because we are rapidly approaching the moment of reverse racism, whereby Facebook doesn’t want to host racist or sexist content.

And I’m fine with that. But I’m also fine then with restaurants not serving black people or people baking wedding cakes for gay couples.

Freedom OF association is also Freedom FROM association, folks.

The shit-libs and the oligarchs want it both ways. They want you to be forced to associate with others on their terms but deny you a place in society because you disagree with them.

That is, in a word, tyrannical.

So, in a just world, Facebook owes Alex Jones millions for lost revenue and damages to Jones’ business as well as, one could argue, a portion of Facebook’s revenue it generated during the time it hosted Jones’ content which brought the company users, revenue and market share.

Multiply that lawsuit by ten for the number of platforms Alex Jones has been banned from. Then multiply that number by the millions for everyone else these platforms have materially harmed.

And then we’ll see what the market cap of the NASDAQ 100 would truly be.

And that’s one way we should fight this, not by empowering more bureaucrats to police everyone’s speech on Twitter, but to sue Twitter for non-fulfillment of obligations under the reasonable expectation of service they are to provide as a party to a legal contract.

This is what I wanted to hear William Barr was focusing on in working on. But that is exactly what will not happen.

The other is to develop technology which resists the centralizing power of these companies to control our speech, democratizing it at the incentive level, through projects like Brave and other blockchain-based systems, which empower the user, not the platform to decide which content has value and which doesn’t.

Beware the deplatforming of Facebook, it’s just another brick in the wall.

Be seeing you

George Soros: Latest Tactic is ‘Turn Texas Blue’ – Destroy ...

 

 

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The Washington Post Piles on with CNN to Try to Discredit American Herald Tribune – American Herald Tribune

Posted by M. C. on February 10, 2020

https://ahtribune.com/us/fake-news/3860-washington-post-piles-on-with-cnn.html

BY Prof. Anthony Hall

In responding to an attack on a media venue about which I care a lot, this Canadian from Alberta Canada is being pulled into the swamp. I find myself showering repeatedly to try to wash away the scum from the quagmire created by CNN and the Editorial Board of the Washington Post. These media operations have decided to band together as protagonists in a smear campaign aimed at discrediting American Herald Tribune.

AHT is a news site that I helped get off the ground beginning in 2015 when I agreed to become Editor in Chief of the small but exceptionally lively Internet publication. In wrongfully accusing AHT, CNN and Washington Post are adding to the scale of a wide constituency that is coming to the conclusion that these media operations are serial manufacturers of fake news.

In doing research into the antics of the two media ventures I came across the story of a well-publicized move by a member of the Tennessee Legislature to have CNN and Washington Post legally reprimanded. Representative Micah Van Huss formulated a resolution asserting “the State of Tennessee recognizes CNN and Washington Post as fake news and part of the media wing of the Democratic Party.” The text of Resolution 779 continues,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we condemn them [CNN and Washington Post] for denigrating our citizens and implying they are weak-minded followers instead of people exercising their rights that our veterans paid for with their blood.

Micah Van Huss e974c

I see something new in this formal enactment in a US Legislature of such severe animosity to mainstream media. New too is the decision to divide mainstream venues in the United States into partisan publicity networks closely connected to one of the two major political parties. These developments have ominous implications.

In prior times it seemed that a major function of mass communications in the USA was to create and marshal popular support for the invasions of foreign countries. These days the agenda has widened to include preparing the conceptual ground for civil war within the United States.

The promotion of the conditions for civil war are unfolding concurrently with a new stage of the campaign to pull the United States into war with Iran. This agenda was advanced in the opening days of the 2020s when Donald Trump shocked the world by immediately claiming credit for the grotesque drone assassination in Baghdad of top officials in both the Iraqi and Iranian governments. The assassinations extended to members of the entourage travelling with them.

This graphic proof that US Commander In Chief, Donald Trump, had gone rogue was followed by perhaps the largest, most solemn, most public and most extended funeral I can remember. As the funeral procession went between eight cities in Iraq and Iran, there was a huge outpouring of heart-felt emotion as people turned out by the millions to commemorate the life and martyrdom of General Qassem Soleimani.

The funeral procession of Qasem Soleimani in Tehran 5b98c

*(The funeral procession of Qasem Soleimani in Tehran.)

Soon after the funeral the Facebook Corporation provided one of the indicators that the US war machine was being revved up by dehumanizing the possible future targets of mass murder by the US Armed Forces. Those who follow the machinations of Facebook closely will understand the social media giant has been successfully recruited as an instrument of militarized propaganda for the Israeli and US governments.

The Facebook crew removed posts that in words or in pictures expressed grief for the loss of General Soleimani or expressed any sort of positive recognition of the values he embodied throughout his life. In a world of many armed forces and many career soldiers, it seemed for a brief moment that a wide diversity of people on all sides of numerous military divisions could agree on something. Many individuals found in the persona of the departed Qassem Soleimani an embodiment of the universal qualities residing in martial dignity and steadfastness.

Facebook is setting very menacing precedents with its decision to censor the opinions of the great mass of humanity who laments the outcome of the Baghdad drone assassinations. In order to justify its actions the officers of Facebook invoked the pseudo-laws of the post-9/11 era. They argued that Facebook was acting in conformity with Donald Trump’s very political move to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

As is now becoming clear, this designation amounted to a virtual Declaration of War on Iran. The “unprecedented” move to declare the armed forces of another country as terrorists came as part of Donald Trump’s obsequious effort to help Benjamin Netanyahu win re-election in Israel. The designation came days before the Israeli vote of April 2019. As he faced the Israeli electorate, Netanyahu sent out a tweet in Hebrew thanking Trump for “acceding to another one of my important requests.”

The Attack on AHT as Part of the Promotion of a US War with Iran

There can be no doubt about the underlying causes of the decision of CNN and Washington Post to put so much of their severely overstretched journalistic capital on the line in attempting to demonize American Herald Tribune. Like Facebook’s decision to prohibit anything but Trump-supporting characterizations of General Soleimani’s life and death, the attacks on AHT are all about preparing the conceptual terrain for a US-Iran war. It is all about socializing the audiences of mainstream media to support raining death and destruction down on Iran’s 80 million people.

Here is how the Washington Post followed up on the original smear job introduced by the CNN’s notorious “disinformation reporter.”

CNN reported last month on American Herald Tribune, a self-professed “genuinely independent online media outlet” that cybersecurity experts have determined is part of a far-reaching Iranian influence campaign. The strategy is simple: create a network of inauthentic news sites, then enlist associated accounts on popular platforms to spread the stories not only here but also in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

American Herald Tribune’s modus operandi matches what we’ve already learned about online disinformation: Adversaries “launder” their campaigns through sympathetic citizens of target countries, or just citizens they offer money to — from authors on propagandistic or outright deceptive news sites to run-of-the-mill social media users. The byline on the KKK story, for instance, belongs to a man from Salem, Ore., who told CNN he believes the site is run by a man named Sam who lives in Brazil.

In my article, “Donie O’Sullivan and the ‘Garbage State’ of Media,” I discussed my visits to Iran since 2014 to take part in conferences including an academic event at the University of Tehran.

In those travels I developed friendships and collegial relations with some Iranian people including fellow academics. This experience is reflected in the wide range of AHT’s content created by correspondents coming from many perspectives and from many different lands all over the world.

I proudly affirm that AHT is opposed to any US-led war with Iran. For those seeking to avoid the scourge of war, the pursuit of peace obviously favors dialogue and exchange rather than animosity and sword-rattling. AHT intends to continue favoring dialogue and exchange.

None of these subjects are fairly or honestly addressed in the alarmist Washington Post smear piece. Rather the author representing the Washington Post’s Iranophobic Editorial Board rattles off jargon paraphrasing a deeply flawed study that provides no evidence whatsoever for the extravagant claims being irresponsibly asserted.

The basis for the Washington Post’s claim goes back to a glossy document put together in Milpitas California by an organization named Fire Eye. Fire Eye’s CEO is Kevin Mandia who cryptically describes his company’s specialty as the defense against “cyberattacks.”

The title of the Fire Eye report is Suspected Iranian Influence Operation: Leveraging Inauthentic News Sites and Social Media Aimed at U.S., U.K., Other Audiences. No specific individuals have permitted their names to appear as authors. Thus no one takes specific responsibility for the report’s contents, an understandable absence given the shoddy quality of the study.

There is absolutely no information given about the funders of the report. Why? What is there to hide? Did CNN or the Washington Post or a subsidiary company help fund the study? Did the Israeli or US government have a role? The question of the sponsorship of such an investigation is crucial to an assessment of its credibility. Everything points to the fact that there is apparently much about the origins and genesis of this mysterious study that is being kept under lock and key.

There is no clear explanation or justification of the methodology used. There are no specific references to other studies of a similar nature except for vague references to the Democratic Party’s hunt for Russian influences on US politics. There are no scholarly references nor is there a bibliography.

I did not see anywhere in the anonymously authored document a single reference to American Herald Tribune. Not one. Instead the report is organized as individual studies devoting a few pages including screen shots to several sites. These sites are Liberty Front Press, US Journal, Real Progressive Front, British Left, Critics Chronicle and Instituto Manquehue. Before doing research for this essay I had not heard of any of these sites. When I looked them up on Internet search engines, I found in several places adjacent to the named sites results linking to the Fire Eye document.

My biggest criticism concerning the supposed “research” done by CNN and Washington Post in preparing their respective smears, is that their reporters did not attempt to contact the Editor In Chief of AHT, namely me. Instead of doing due diligence in a case like this one, the protagonists of the smear campaign used a report that seemed to depend more on lawyers and weasel words than on any genuine analysis of the topic.

The very first sentence indicates, “Fire Eye has identified a suspected operation that appears to originate from Iran. (my italics). The unnamed authors report that they “assess with moderate confidence that this activity originates with Iran actors.” Why “moderate confidence”? What this qualification apparently means, is that “some possibility remains that this activity could originate from elsewhere [than Iran].”

I’m not really sure what the unnamed authors mean when they refer to “this activity.” What activity? Who do they mean when they refer to “Iran actors.” Is it the implication of the Fire Eye report than any Iranian person who publishes something on the Internet is doing something subversive? Are war obsessions already so advanced in the fervid imaginations of the authors of the Fire Eye, CNN and Washington Post pieces that they imagine that it is verboten for an Iranian to express himself or herself on the Internet?

So in the final analysis Fire Eye comes up with nothing that goes beyond the level of “suspicion.” My response to Fire Eye’s suspicion is to hold a mirror up to this group. If there is any party in this fiasco that falls under a cloud of deserved suspicion, it is the people at Fire Eye. This suspicion extends to those in mainstream media who report Fire Eyes “suspicions” as gospel fact. Such a failure of honest reporting, I should think, meets any reasonable criterion of fake news.

Following the Real Stories in the Face of Specious Attacks

The preoccupation of CNN and the Washington Post with stick handling for the discredited Hillary Clinton wing of the Democratic Party and with advancing the Zionist agenda of war with Iran has had serious deleterious effects on the quality of their news reporting. At exactly the same time that the Washington Post was intent on drawing a specious connection linking American Herald Tribune to the Fire Eye report, it remained mum on a very significant breaking news that remains extremely germane to mounting US-Iranian tensions.

The Taliban in Afghanistan are reported by Iranian, Russian and Italian sources to have shot down a very advanced US Air Force jet containing highly sophisticated spy and communications features. The high-tech aircraft was a Bombardier/Northrop Grumman E-11-A whose still-smoldering burned-out hulk was filmed in Ghazni province in Afghanistan. Some reports indicate the CIA’s most prominent figure in the Middle East, Mike de Andrea, was among the casualties. Other reports indicate the Mike de Andrea had a lead hand in the drone strikes that dramatically advanced the agenda of a full-fledged Iran-US war in the opening days of the 2020s.

Yet another possibility is that such reports concerning de Andrea’s role in the assassination of General Soleimani have been introduced to divert attention away from other possible scenarios. Much depends on getting at the truth of what really happened in the hours, days and weeks leading up to the most destabilizing drone strike in history.

Whatever the reality of the situation, reporting on the episode called attention to the many hundreds of murders by drone conducted by de Andrea in the course of an exceptionally violent career of murder and torture conducted largely outside the parameters of international criminal law. Readers who would like to see how the American Herald Tribune is covering this fast-breaking story are encouraged to check out the essay of Dr. Philip Giraldi, a former high-ranking CIA official who publishes regularly in AHT.

We at AHT are proud to publish much of the cutting-edge and courageous journalism by Philip Giraldi, Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest. Dr. Giraldi stands at the front of a long list of contributors at all stages of their journalistic careers. The essays of writers hosted at AHT will definitely bring readers much closer to the truth than the blatant and laughable propaganda at CNN and the Washington Post.

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5 Examples of the Rise of German Free-Speech Nazis | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on December 30, 2019

If the German reference was removed from the title what country would you think was the subject?

https://www.thedailybell.com/all-articles/news-analysis/5-examples-of-the-rise-of-german-free-speech-nazis/

By Joe Jarvis

Germany. What are you doing? You’re the poster child for oppressive government!

And maybe it isn’t fair to single Germany out. The Soviet Union under Stalin had a much higher body count, and China’s under Mao was still higher.

But Germany is European, Western.

China and Russia reformed and changed on their own without being defeated by outside military forces. They were never entirely broken down to be built back up, like Germany–or Japan–for example.

So it’s not especially surprising when China marches ever onward toward authoritarianism. For instance, China introduced a social credit system where every behavior including online comments and neighbors’ opinions is factored into a social credit score. Low scores are used to deny citizens jobs, apartments, and the ability to travel.

But there is something especially ironic about German authoritarianism, even for an allegedly good cause.

For instance, in Germany, it is illegal to deny that the Holocaust happened. They were so concerned about that horribly oppressive time in their history… that they oppressively limit free speech.

I understand that Germany is extremely sensitive to the rise of any groups that could be easily compared to Nazis. But to paraphrase Nietzsche, he who fights Nazis should be sure that in the process, he himself does not become a Nazi.

In Germany you can get up to five years in prison for “insulting, maliciously maligning, or defaming segments of the population.”

Let’s go through five examples of German officials becoming free-speech Nazis.

1. Surveillance on minority opposition political parties.

A “far right” political party called Alternative for Germany first gained seats in the German parliament last year. They are said to be aligned with racist, xenophobic, and anti-Islamic groups.

Angela Merkel has been quite liberal in her immigration policies. The AfD is the answer to an increase in terrorism in Germany from Islamic extremists.

A poll found 57% of Germans believe the political party should be placed under surveillance.

So just for affiliating with a party which has valid concerns about loose immigration policies for refugees, you could be monitored like a criminal. No specific accusation required.

2. Ban on “Hate Speech” and “Offensive Speech.”

This year Germany banned “hate speech” and tasked social media websites with combatting “offensive speech” on their platforms. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter face €50 million fines if they do not remove “hate speech” within 24 hours of a complaint.

The clear problem becomes defining what exactly is incitement to hatred, or offensive speech.

And the German government defines it with a broad brush.

For instance, failing to call a transgender person by their preferred pronoun is considered “hate speech.”

And now people are afraid to even talk about issues like immigration and refugee policies. It is just too easy to be labeled a racist hate monger for expressing skepticism about liberal immigration policies.

3.  Raiding the Associates of the Associates of a Suspect.

Sovereignman.com summarized this absurd incident which took place in July.

Unable to obtain the information they wanted from an activist group, police basically played six degrees of separation until they found associates that they could raid.

Police say a blog’s planned protest included calls to violence. That blog used the privacy VPN and email provider RiseUp. RiseUp used a site called Zwiebelfreunde to collect donations. Zwiebelfreunde is a partner organization with TorServers.net.

So naturally, police raided the homes of three TorServers board members, a former board member, and Torservers’ office. The raid was based on the original warrant regarding the protest.

Among mountains of personal electronics and communications, police seized a list of donors to RiseUp and Torservers, including bank account details.

So now people who have donated to these privacy advocacy websites have all their information in the hands of the German Federal Police. And these are people who have absolutely no connection to the blog on which the original warrant was based…

There is absolutely no legitimate reason for the police to have raided the homes and offices of TorServers board members.

But RiseUp deletes all data about its users, so the police would gain nothing from raiding them. Raiding an associated organization was the closest they could get. But it was completely unjustified.

4. Raiding Homes Over Facebook Posts.

Last summer, German authorities raided 36 homes of people accused of hateful posting on social media.

Most of the raids concerned politically motivated right-wing incitement, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office, whose officers conducted home searches and interrogations. But the raids also targeted two people accused of left-wing extremist content, as well as one person accused of making threats or harassment based on someone’s sexual orientation.

“The still high incidence of punishable hate posting shows a need for police action,” Holger Münch, president of the Federal Criminal Police Office, said in a statement. “Our free society must not allow a climate of fear, threat, criminal violence and violence either on the street or on the internet.”

Unless of course that climate of fear is created by the German authorities against whoever they decide to target.

5. Ankle Bracelets for “Extremists” Guilty of Nothing.

Last year, Germany passed a law that allows authorities to track suspected extremist Muslims.

Suspected is the key word. The people forced to wear the GPS monitors have not even been charged, let alone convicted, of a crime.

Previously, only convicted individuals could be required to wear the device used to monitor location and movements.

The cabinet proposal, “Gefährder,” or people who pose a security threat, who have not been convicted can be forced to wear the device by order of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).

So now they are policing pre-crime.

Has no one considered that being treated like a terrorist might actually make it more likely that someone is driven to extremism?

Germany is using the rise of the Nazis in the past to justify the current government’s quite Nazi-like behavior.

Being unable to express yourself without fear of arrest is not a good place to be.

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Facebook says it can locate users who opt out of tracking

Posted by M. C. on December 18, 2019

IP addresses also help companies such as Facebook battle misinformation by showing the general origin of potentially nefarious activity, such as a stream of politically oriented posts which might be aimed at a particular country.

The question is who determines what is MISinformation? Facebook, Soros.

Who decides what is truth, who is guilty, who is innocent. Facebook (and Google and Microsoft, all of whom wear the mark of the beast – Soros).

If they want (to find, arrest, stop) you, they will find a way.

Whoa to those in the wrong time, at the wrong time, saying something, anything someone, somewhere doesn’t like.

This is pretty brazen. Facebook is saying opt-out is a joke and Zuckerberg doesn’t care if  you know.

https://news.yahoo.com/facebook-says-locate-users-opt-tracking-032431090.html

San Francisco (AFP) – Facebook can determine where users are even if they opt out of having their whereabouts tracked, the company revealed in a letter sent to US senators.

In the missive, which was widely shared on social media Tuesday, Facebook explained ways it can still figure out where people are after they have selected not to share precise location data with the company.

The social network, which was responding to a request for information by two senators, contended that knowing a user’s whereabouts has benefits ranging from showing ads for nearby shops to fighting hackers and battling misinformation.

“There is no opting out. No control over your personal information,” Republican Senator Josh Hawley said in a tweet.

“That’s Big Tech. And that’s why Congress needs to take action.”

Facebook said that clues for figuring out a user’s location include being tagged in a photo at a specific place or a check-in at a location such as at a restaurant during a dinner with friends.

People may share an address for purchases at a shopping section at Facebook, or simply include it in their profile information.

Along with location information shared in posts by users, devices connecting to the internet are given IP addresses and a user’s whereabouts can then be noted…

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All the technocrats agree: “Free speech” does not include the right to question vaccines, transgenderism, chemtrails, GMOs or the pharmaceutical cartels

Posted by M. C. on December 10, 2019

Just like communist China with its “social credit score” scheme, American tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and many others are actively surveilling the content that’s shared through their platforms in order to assign users varying degrees of “free speech rights” depending on their viewpoints.

https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-12-08-technocrats-agree-free-speech-doesnt-include-vaccines-transgenderism-chemtrails-gmos.html

(Natural News) Now that World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee has announced a new “Contract for the Web” that he says will serve as “a road map to build a better web,” many are asking themselves: What’s to become of online free speech as we enter the year 2020?

Even though Berners-Lee insists that his Contract for the Web is about upholding “digital rights,” the tech giants that are onboard with it, including Google and Facebook, are doing the exact opposite by restricting the First Amendment rights of people online, and even calling free speech “disastrous.”

How, then, is Big Tech now claiming to support Berners-Lee’s vision of fostering a “healthy conversation online?” The answer is simple: “Digital rights” and “free speech” only apply to certain subjects, topics, and perspectives, while all others are off-limits.

As long as you’re in agreement with Google and Facebook about vaccines being “safe and effective,” as one example, then you’re free to post as much “free speech” on their platforms as you’d like. But if you point out the fact that vaccines contain the entire gene sequences of aborted human babies, then you suddenly no longer have any free speech.

The same applies to the Cult of LGBTQ. If you express any opposition on Facebook to Drag Queen Story Hour events and the transgender indoctrination of children, then your “free speech” suddenly becomes hate speech, meaning it’s no longer allowed and could even cost you your career.

For more related news about online censorship and the destruction of internet free speech by the technocrats, be sure to check out Censorship.news.

The tech cabal is leading the United States right into tyrannical communism by eliminating free speech and dubbing all opposing viewpoints as “hate speech”

Just like communist China with its “social credit score” scheme, American tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and many others are actively surveilling the content that’s shared through their platforms in order to assign users varying degrees of “free speech rights” depending on their viewpoints.

If you’re someone whose perspectives closely align with those of the deep state, then you’re given free-reign to post and share whatever you’d like. But if you even dare to mention the word “geoengineering” on your page or profile, then you could be tagged as a “conspiracy theorist” whose content needs to be shadow-banned or otherwise censored for “wrongspeak.”

Pointing out that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are largely untested and completely unnecessary is another punishable offense on social media, as is drawing attention to the fact that pharmaceuticals are dangerous and often inferior to their natural, unpatented counterparts.

Unless you’re someone who believes that all vaccines are safe and effective; that fluoride in drinking water is good for the human body; that GMOs are awesome and the solution to “climate change;” that some men have periods and some women have penises; and that Hillary Clinton should have been president and Donald Trump should be impeached, then you won’t be afforded the same “free speech” rights as those who believe all of these things to be undeniable facts.

Hollywood actor Rob Schneider got it right when he tweeted that true free speech includes all free speech – “[e]ven the speech that you find repugnant,” he wrote unequivocally.

“We don’t need people deciding FOR us what to think, see or hear. That’s a load of totalitarian crap,” he further wrote, emphasizing precisely what our Founding Fathers would be saying were they alive today.

For more news stories about how Americans’ free speech rights are under constant assault, be sure to visit FirstAmendment.news.

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The Mark of the Beast

 

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Alternative News Reasons Why Many People Refuse The Flu Shot: Facebook Has No Right Censor This Information

Posted by M. C. on December 5, 2019

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/12/03/reasons-why-many-people-refuse-the-flu-shot-facebook-has-no-right-censor-this-information/

By

In Brief

  • The Facts:Despite the fact that Facebook and other platforms like Google are censoring important information pertaining to vaccines, science is science and should be made freely available. Studies show that the flu vaccine is not really effective.
  • Reflect On:Why are terms like “anti-vax” and ridicule used by advocates of vaccines instead of simply addressing and countering the points made by vaccine safety advocates?

If you haven’t already heard, Facebook is censoring information and articles about vaccines that are “anti-vax” or information that in some way paint vaccines in a harmful light. This is extremely concerning, because there are a number of experts in the field, doctors and scientists, who have been publishing research in several peer-reviewed journals that do bring up concerns about vaccines. It’s simply facts, information and science, yet it’s still being censored which makes no sense.

Why is Facebook limiting the reach of posts and articles that are presenting peer-reviewed science and the view-points and research of medical health professionals and scientists? Is it because Facebook’s ‘fact checkers’ are funded by big pharmaceutical interests? An important question to ask. FakeNews watchdog NewsGuard aims to hold independent media accountable for their stories. Funded by Clinton donors and big pharma, with ties to the CFR, NewsGuard seems to have a clear agenda in favour of mainstream media. That’s one example, and  you can read more about that here. Why does mainstream media always use ridicule and terms like “anti-vax” instead of simply addressing and countering the concerns made by vaccine safety advocates, like the points presented in this article?

When it comes to the flu vaccine specifically, Dr. Alvin Moss, MD and professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine emphasizes in this video:

The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country. The vaccine injury compensation program, 40 percent of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60 percent of all the compensations are for the flu vaccine. So a disproportionate number of  vaccine related injuries are the flu shot. I think many of you it’s been recommended to you that you get the flu shot, I don’t know if you’re aware of the fact, the CDC statistics are, that every year they look at vaccine effectiveness, for this particular year the vaccine effectiveness is 48 percent, so that means it’s not highly effective. It’s not even all that effective, if you look at the scientific literature…the evidence to support giving the flu vaccine is moderate to weak. It is not strong evidence. They say the evidence to support giving the flu vaccine to people over the age of 65 is not there, it’s inconclusive. So a lot of the things we’ve been told as Americans about vaccinations are not really based on the science. (source)

Here’s a great video of Doctor Toni Bark, who has been the medical director for various departments and hospitals, explaining why vaccines are not a one size fits all product. Here’s another one of Dr. Mary Holland, who is a professor at New York University School of Law. This is evident when one examines the The National Childhood Vaccine Injury (NCVIA), because it’s already paid out approximately $4 billion to compensate families of vaccine injured children. As astronomical as the monetary awards are, they’re even more alarming considering HHS claims that only an estimated 1% of vaccine injuries are even reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

If the numbers from VAERS and HHS are correct – only 1% of vaccine injuries are reported and only 1/3 of the petitions are compensated – then up to 99% of vaccine injuries go unreported and the families of the vast majority of people injured by vaccines are picking up the costs, once again, for vaccine maker’s flawed products. Furthermore, this act safeguards pharmaceutical companies from harm, meaning that they cannot be sued or blamed, nor held accountable for their productscausing injury. Therefore, vaccines are a liability free product that are being mandated on children, the manufacturers have no incentive to make a safe product.

What We Did As A Result of Censorship…

The Takeaway

We are living in an age where access to information is becoming extremely limited. Independent media outlets that present information and evidence, no matter how well sourced, are being blocked and threatened by social media platforms like Facebook and organizations like Google if the narrative threatens various corporate and political agendas. This censorship should serve humanity, and play a role in waking up even more people as to just how wrong this is, clearly, there are many people out there who are feeling threatened by organizations that share credible information that threatens their interests. At the end of the day, truth cannot be stopped and will continue to leak out on various topics. When it comes to vaccines, science, and the questioning of vaccine safety should obviously encouraged, and not shunned.

Highly Recommended: Flu Vaccine Facts: What You Need to Know for 2018-19

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Data on your spending habits could be a gold mine for banks

Posted by M. C. on December 2, 2019

Banks know many of our deepest, darkest secrets — that series of bills paid at a cancer clinic, for instance, or that big strip-club tab that you thought stayed in Vegas. A bank might suspect someone’s adulterous affair long before the betrayed partner would.

Only if you let them and are dumb enough to pay a strip club bill or pay your liquor store bill or buy your ammo or … with plastic.

https://www.fox5ny.com/news/data-on-your-spending-habits-could-be-a-gold-mine-for-banks

There’s a powerful new player watching what you buy so it can tailor product offerings for you: the bank behind your credit or debit card.

For years, Google and Facebook have been showing ads based on your online behavior. Retailers from Amazon to Walgreens also regularly suction up your transaction history to steer future spending and hold your loyalty.

Now banks, too, want to turn data they already have on your spending habits into extra revenue by identifying likely customers for retailers. Banks are increasingly aware that they could be sitting on a gold mine of information that can be used to predict — or sway — where you spend. Historically, such data has been used mostly for fraud protection.

Suppose you were to treat yourself to lunch on Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day of the year. If you order ahead at Chipotle — paying, of course, with your credit card — you might soon find your bank dangling 10% off lunch at Little Caesars. The bank would earn fees from the pizza joint, both for showing the offer and processing the payment.

Wells Fargo began customizing retail offers for individual customers on Nov. 21, joining Chase, Bank of America, PNC, SunTrust and a slew of smaller banks.

Unlike Google or Facebook, which try to infer what you’re interested in buying based on your searches, web visits or likes, “banks have the secret weapon in that they actually know what we spend money on,” said Silvio Tavares of the trade group CardLinx Association, whose members help broker purchase-related offers. “It’s a better predictor of what we’re going to spend on.”

While banks say they’re moving cautiously and being mindful of privacy concerns, it’s not clear that consumers are fully aware of what their banks are up to.

Banks know many of our deepest, darkest secrets — that series of bills paid at a cancer clinic, for instance, or that big strip-club tab that you thought stayed in Vegas. A bank might suspect someone’s adulterous affair long before the betrayed partner would.

“Ten years ago, your bank was like your psychiatrist or your minister — your bank kept secrets,” said Ed Mierzwinski, a consumer advocate at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Now, he says, “they think they are the same as a department store or an online merchant.”…

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