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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter Files’

In FBI Case, the First Amendment Takes Another Bizarre Hit

Posted by M. C. on March 14, 2023

The same Democratic minority staff that trashed the First Amendment in last week’s Twitter Files hearings put something amazing in writing in a parallel case

The style of the new anti-speech Democrat is clear: define all government critics as lacking standing to criticize, impugn their prior opinions and associations, imply that all their beliefs are conspiracy theory, define their lack of faith in the FBI’s judgment as treasonous, and declare their motivation to be financial. Lastly, when they invoke common constitutional rights, make a note that their activities exist in an uncovered carve-out. This is the playbook, and we all better get used to it.

Matt Taibbi

Racket readers may recall that in November, shortly before the Twitter Files began, I ran an interview with Steve Friend, a onetime FBI agent who lost his career after blowing the whistle on the Bureau.

Friend refused to participate in a bureaucratic scheme to put local agents across the country in charge of J6 cases that were really being run out of the Washington office, a plan that made one Washington-based case look like a national map full of domestic terror cases popping up everywhere. He also objected to heavy-handed tactics like the use of S.W.A.T. teams for a suspect communicating voluntarily through an attorney, and the questioning of people in connection with J6 in cases where the state had little to no evidence. From that story:

Friend didn’t think the interview was warranted, and worried the feds showing up at someone’s door without cause “might do more harm than good” in a part of the country where government was unpopular already. He sucked it up and did the “knock and talk” anyway.

“I said, ‘Hey, were you at the Capitol?’” Friend recalls. “And he said, ‘No, that was my son’s funeral that day. I wasn’t there.’”

He shakes his head. “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought, I can’t believe I just made this guy relive that. And for what? Even if he’d admitted to being there, if he said, ‘I was there, I don’t wanna talk about it,’ I couldn’t even charge that.”

But even though Friend had reservations about some of the cases, his main concern was procedural — that by playing bureaucratic games with who was running these investigations, and putting locals nominally in charge of cases where they were really in supporting roles, they put all of the court cases in jeopardy. “A lot of these guys are bad dudes, and they should go to jail,” he said, about the Oath Keepers. But if “we didn’t follow our rules… we set ourselves up to get crushed at trial,” adding, “I want to win.”

A little over a week ago, the same Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Government that organized the Twitter Files hearings privately heard testimony from Steve and two other FBI whistleblowers. The Democratic Party response to Steve and his colleagues was eerily similar to tactics pulled out against myself and Mike Shellenberger:

— Mike and I were not real journalists, they said, but “so-called journalists.” Steve and his fellow agents “are not, in fact, whistleblowers,” according to the minority report, and “do not meet the definition of a whistle-blower,” according to the New York Times.

— I was told by Florida’s Debbie Wasserman-Schultz that “being a Republican witness certainly casts a cloud over your objectivity”; Democratic Party sources told the Times that Steve and fellow agents Garret O’Boyle and George Hill “have engaged in partisan conduct that calls into question their credibility”;

— Democratic questioners in our case asked us about our opinions on Russian interference, and one said openly that failing to agree with them on that issue disqualified us from the “nuanced convo”; Steve, George, and Garrett were repeatedly quizzed about their attitudes toward various right-wing movements, suggesting that their opinions about these matters made them ineligible to offer procedural complaints. Friend, for instance, was asked about statements by “Three Percenters”:

Q: (Quoting from flyer) “Remember this, it comes straight from our Declaration of Independence, that whenever any form ofgovernment becomes destructive, it is the right and duty of the people to alter or abolish it. That is why you are here. For massive change to occurmassive action must be taken. Patriots, we are the lifeblood of this great nation, and it’s time we prove that.” Do you have an opinion about this statement?

Friend: It seems like First Amendment-protected activity.

— Michael and I were repeatedly quizzed about money we may have made during the Twitter Files period, with Wasserman-Schultz going so far as to harangue my about my Twitter followers tripling and to ask us if we were paid for our testimony; Committee Democrats accused Friend of having “profited, and is profiting, from making his allegations about the FBI public”;

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Pro-Censorship Democrats Whitewash the Federal Government’s Iron Fist | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on March 13, 2023

But “disinformation” is often simply the lag time between the pronouncement and the debunking of government falsehoods.

Perhaps the biggest “lag time” is Americans learning how the feds are suppressing freedom of speech.

by Jim Bovard 

jpb congress twitter files composite image sharpened

The House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government held a hearing last Thursday on the Twitter Files. Elon Musk purchased Twitter last October and was aghast to learn how the feds had previously domineered his new company. “Twitter is both a social media company and a crime scene,” he tweeted on December 10. Musk chose a handful of journalists to go through Twitter’s records and expose how the feds domineered the company.

Prior to Thursday’s hearing, the Twitter Files revealed that the U.S. State Department had directly pressured Twitter to cancel almost 300,000 accounts (including those of journalists and foreign diplomats). In June 2021, a State Department contractor sent Twitter a list of “around 40k Twitter accounts that our researchers suspect are engaging in inauthentic behavior…and Hindu nationalism more broadly.” But the list was full of hapless Americans with no ties to India or its politics. The State Department sent Twitter a list of 5,500 names believed to be “Chinese…accounts” engaged in “state-backed coordinated manipulation.” The list was so sloppy that it “included multiple Western government accounts and at least three CNN employees based abroad,” according to a Twitter internal analysis. One Twitter executive ridiculed the presumption that “If you retweet a news source linked to Russia, you become Russia-linked.”

The FBI perpetually browbeat Twitter to suppress accounts, including Twitter parody accounts that only idiots or federal agents would not recognize as humor. Taibbi wrote, “The master-canine quality of the FBI’s relationship to Twitter comes through in this November 2022 email, in which ‘FBI San Francisco is notifying you’ it wants action on four accounts.” In a March 2022 meeting with top Twitter executives, FBI agent Laura Dehmlow “warned that the threat of subversive information on social media could undermine support for the U.S. government.” Dehmlow had a task force of 80 agents to curb “subversive data utilized to drive a wedge between the populace and the government.” Her team continually pounded Twitter headquarters with tweets and individuals they wanted suppressed.

Biden’s COVID policymakers were some of the most brazen censors of social media. The Biden White House browbeat Twitter into canceling the accounts of Alex Berenson and many other lockdown critics. A lawsuit is exposing how the Biden White House sought total suppression of any content on social media that raised doubts on the efficacy of the COVID vaccine. Twitter Files added new logs to the bonfire on the morning of the hearing with revelations of a federal contractor pressuring social media companies to suppress “stories of true vaccine side effects” and “true posts which could fuel [vaccine] hesitancy.”

Americans’ freedom of speech is increasingly targeted by a vast, federally funded Censorship-Industrial-Complex. The feds and their contractors are going on ever-more wild goose chases to suppress any views the Washington establishment disapproves.

Twitter Files reporters Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger were the witnesses at last week’s hearing. Though both are bestselling authors with long records of excellent reporting, they were treated as shameless grifters who basely smeared noble federal agencies.

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My Statement to Congress

Posted by M. C. on March 10, 2023

In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee about the Twitter Files, a few words about why state-funded “anti-disinformation” and free speech can’t coexist

Matt Taibbi

Editor’s note: at around 10 a.m. EST this morning, Michael Shellenberger and I will be testifying at the Hearing on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on the Twitter Files” for the House Judiciary Committee, in the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Just before, around 9:00 a.m., we’ll also be releasing a TwitterFiles “Statement to Congress” thread, which will be submitted to the record. It contains some surprises. My opening:

Chairman Jordan, ranking member Plaskett, members of the  Select Committee,

My name is Matt Taibbi. I’ve been a reporter for over 30 years, and an advocate for the First Amendment.  Much of that time was spent at Rolling Stone magazine. Over my career, I’ve had the good fortune to be recognized for the work I love.  I’ve won the National Magazine Award, the I.F. Stone Award for independent journalism, and written ten books, including four New York Times bestsellers. I’m now the editor of the online magazine Racket, on the independent platform Substack.

I’m here today because of a series of events that began late last year, when I received a note from a source online.

It read: “Are you interested in doing a deep dive into what censorship and manipulation… was going on at Twitter?”

A week later, the first of what became known as the “Twitter Files” reports came out. To say these attracted intense public interest would be an understatement. My computer looked like a slot machine as just the first tweet about the blockage of the Hunter Biden laptop story registered 143 million impressions and 30 million engagements.

But it wasn’t until a week after the first report, after Michael Shellenberger, Bari Weiss, and other researchers joined the search of the “Files,” that we started to grasp the significance of this story.

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The Consent Factory

Posted by M. C. on February 14, 2023

CJ Hopkins

So, Matt Taibbi is going after the Consent Factory. No, not my blog. The actual Consent Factory. The unimaginably powerful, mostly decentralized, global-capitalist propaganda apparatus that manufactures what passes for “reality” in our increasingly totalitarian age. Or he is going after the U.S. division of it, anyway.

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited.

Why am I so excited, you ask? Haven’t I been hopping up and down and bouncing off the walls of my enclosure hooting and screeching about how the so-called “Twitter Files” are a “limited hangout” and hurling verbal feces at all and sundry involved like an agitated baboon?

Well, yes, in fact, I have. And I intend to keep on doing that. But here’s what I’m excited about. Pay close attention to the job description in Matt’s recent help-wanted ad for freelancers:

“[W]e’re trying to map a new wing of the U.S. government’s propaganda apparatus that popped into view thanks to the Twitter Files. State-directed censorship is scary, but the more disturbing activity we’re seeing inside companies like Twitter involves what you might call ‘offensive’ information operations, a type of aggressive official messaging that all governments practice but is supposed to be restricted by law in the United States.”

Matt goes on to explain the background of the project:

“In a remarkably short time since the end of the Obama presidency, the U.S. government has funded an elaborate network of NGOs and think-tanks whose researchers call themselves independent ‘disinformation experts.’ They describe their posture as defensive — merely ‘tracking’ or ‘countering’ foreign disinformation — but in truth they aggressively court both the domestic news media and platforms like Twitter, often becoming both the sources for news stories and/or the referring authorities for censorship requests. The end result has been relentless censorship of, and mountains of (often deceptive) state-sponsored propaganda about, legitimate American political activity.”

OK, sure, Matt’s Racket News project will almost certainly be limited in scope to operations in the United States, and will probably still be a limited hangout to the degree that it presents a propaganda/disinformation/censorship model wherein power flows downward from the U.S. government to the corporate media and social-media corporations in the outmoded despotic (i.e., Orwellian) fashion that everyone is used to understanding the functioning of oppressive power according to, and I’ll definitely hoot and screech about that. However, at least as far as I’m aware, this project will be the first attempt by any high-profile independent journalist to investigate and report on an essential component of the aforementioned official-propaganda apparatus in any kind of systematic manner (“systematic” being the important term here, as we’re talking about a cohesive system, and not a series of arbitrary individual actions).

Or at least that sounds like what Matt has in mind.

If Matt and the Racket team pull this off, it will be quite a journalistic accomplishment, which will be totally ignored, perfunctorily dismissed, branded “far-right disinformation,” and then methodically visibility filtered by the official propaganda-and-disinformation apparatus that the project intends to expose a part of. 

See the rest here

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Isn’t it Time For Adam Schiff to be Expelled From Congress?

Posted by M. C. on January 17, 2023

Let’s not forget: Rep. Jim Trafficant was expelled from Congress for asking his staffers to wash his boat. Shouldn’t there be at least equal punishment for Senators and Members who are lying us into World War III?

written by ron paul

With each new release of the “Twitter Files” we learn more and more about the deep corruption in Washington. We sensed during Covid that something was really wrong – for example the bizarre denial of natural immunity. But thanks to Elon Musk’s decision to open the books, our worst fears have been proven true. Each new release seems to show something even more criminal inside America’s rotten ruling class.

In the latest release, thanks to the excellent reporting of independent journalist Matt Taibbi, we see outgoing Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), continuously pressuring Twitter to validate his fantasies of “Russian bots” manipulating US politics.

The short version of what Taibbi reported comes from around the time then-Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was about to release his Committee’s findings about the FBI misuse of the FISA Court to spy on the Trump presidential campaign. The FBI, it turns out, relied exclusively on the widely-discredited “Steele Dossier” – paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign – as justification to spy on the Trump campaign.

When pressure grew to release the Nunes findings, Twitter exploded with users demanding that Congress “release the memo.” That’s where then-ranking Member Schiff and his staff began relentlessly pressuring Twitter to show that the accounts demanding the release of the memo were actually Russian agents, out to help their supposed favorite, Donald Trump. Schiff was not alone. Fellow “Russiagate” hoaxers like Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) also pressured Twitter to find Russians behind the demand to release Nunes’ findings.

Over and over, Twitter – which was hardly sympathetic to Trump – told Schiff and his colleagues there was simply no evidence of Russian involvement. As much as some Twitter employees may have liked to report the opposite, to their credit they refused to participate in the scam.

Even after Twitter had informed Schiff and his fellow hoaxers that there was no Russian involvement, Sen. Blumenthal released a statement he knew was not true: “We find it reprehensible that Russian agents have so eagerly manipulated innocent Americans.” Again, this was right after he had been informed by Twitter employees – who were by-and-large strongly opposed to Trump – that there was just no evidence to back up such a statement.

We are moving closer and closer to a nuclear showdown with Russia over Ukraine. For political gain the Democrats – and plenty of Republicans – have been pushing the “Russiagate” hoax and in so doing have fertilized the ground for the obsessive Russia hatred prevalent in the US today.

I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that if US/Russia relations had not been poisoned by the lie of “Russiagate” for pure political gain, we would not be anywhere near our current state of near-direct conflict with the largest nuclear power on earth, Russia.

It is shocking that Schiff and his “Russiagate” allies would potentially sacrifice millions of dead Americans to defeat Trump and other political enemies. 

Let’s not forget: Rep. Jim Trafficant was expelled from Congress for asking his staffers to wash his boat. Shouldn’t there be at least equal punishment for Senators and Members who are lying us into World War III?

Copyright © 2023 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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From the Twitter Files: Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb secretly pressed Twitter to hide posts challenging his company’s massively profitable Covid jabs

Posted by M. C. on January 13, 2023

To funnel his demands, Gottlieb used the same Twitter lobbyist the White House did – fresh evidence of overlap between the company selling mRNA shots and the government forcing them on the public.

Alex Berenson

On August 27, 2021, Dr. Scott Gottlieb – a Pfizer director with over 550,000 Twitter followers – saw a tweet he didn’t like, a tweet that might hurt sales of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccines.

The tweet explained correctly that natural immunity after Covid infection was superior to vaccine protection. It called on the White House to “follow the science” and exempt people with natural immunity from upcoming vaccine mandates.

It came not from an “anti-vaxxer” like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., but from Dr. Brett Giroir, a physician who had briefly followed Gottlieb as the head of the Food & Drug Administration. Further, the tweet actually encouraged people who did not have natural immunity to “Get vaccinated!”

No matter.

By suggesting some people might not need Covid vaccinations, the tweet could raise questions about the shots. Besides being former FDA commissioner, a CNBC contributor, and a prominent voice on Covid public policy, Gottlieb was a senior board member at Pfizer, which depended on mRNA jabs for almost half its $81 billion in sales in 2021. Pfizer paid Gottlieb $365,000 for his work that year.

Gottlieb stepped in, emailing Todd O’Boyle, a top lobbyist in Twitter’s Washington office who was also Twitter’s point of contact with the White House.

The post was “corrosive,” Gottlieb wrote. He worried it would “end up going viral and driving news coverage.”

See the rest here

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Twitter Files Reveal More Deep Corruption & Silencing of Debate on Natural Immunity

Posted by M. C. on January 11, 2023

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The Twitter Files Are So Good At Revealing Government Actions That Are So Bad!

Posted by M. C. on January 5, 2023

CIA, FBI, Twitter. If you didn’t understand “Deep State” before, this is a good place to begin.

The Ron Paul Liberty Report

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