Both the Free Thought Project and The Anti-Media lost their social media accounts in a coordinated attack today by Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook alone removed 559 pages and 251 accounts.
Facebook has unpublished our page
After 5 years of building fans Facebook has officially unpublished our page (3.1 million fans) so we can’t post on it anymore. This is truly an outrage and we are devastated. We will do everything we can to recover our page and fight back. pic.twitter.com/H3AmHTT8Qo
— Free Thought Project (@TFTPROJECT) October 11, 2018
Dan Dicks is another victim.
“The Press For Truth FaceBook Page with 350k followers has just been memory holed form the internet! 350k followers gone in the blink of an eye as we are right before our eyes witnessing the results of what happens when these big tech companies appoint themselves as the gatekeepers of political thought and opinion,” a headline story at Press For Truth reports today.
The midterm election is being used as an excuse to purge social media accounts and thus reduce traffic to websites on the target list.
First it was alt-right figures like Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike Cernovich who had their accounts pulled for behavior that is an everyday occurrence by others on social media.
Then Alex Jones was taken down. This was a landmark event that served notice on other websites diverging from the establishment narrative and spreading dangerous “alternative facts.”
Now the effort has moved on the the next level of targets, those with moderate to high social media traffic and successful websites with growing viewership. Not millions like Jones, but a couple hundred thousand all the way down to tens of thousands.
Numbers are way down for sites banished from the corporate social media kingdom. Traffic is drying up and thus support.
This is precisely what the establishment and its political class have in mind. It has nothing to do with “inauthentic” content as they claim. It is a concerted effort to wipe out for good entire segments of the alternative media.
If Democrats take control of Congress next month, watch out. They will make it impossible for another Donald Trump to get elected with the help of social media.
They leveraged the patently absurd and widely discredited Russian influence scam. The accusation Trump somehow colluded with the Russians has been used to tarnish his supporters, conservatives in general, and other groups not part of the establishment engineered political arrangement.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others are building an algorithmic filter. It will not permit entire segments of the population to weigh in on political issues during federal elections.
That model, most recently tested in Brazil, will be used. If successful in November, it will be further implemented after the election.
The European model (not based on constitutional liberties) will be adopted. This is a collectivist arrangement where certain groups are protected by the government while individual Germans and Swedes are singled out and prosecuted for criticizing the arrangement on social media.
Finally, I believe somewhere down the line many of us will barred access to the Internet if were appear on a government list similar to the malfunctioning no-fly list. This will be easy to implement. Pass a law forbidding ISPs from selling service to Americans espousing political ideas considered racist, homophobic, misogynistic, transphobic, etc., by the government.
In the current political climate, it’s easy to fall into one of these categories. Others will be memory holed simply due to their political philosophy, most notably conservatives and libertarians, but also nonviolent radical leftists and progressives opposed to the military-industrial-surveillance complex and neoliberal globalism.
Lobbyists for “creators” threw their lot in with the giant entertainment companies and the newspaper proprietors and managed to pass the new EU Copyright Directive by a hair’s-breadth this morning, in an act of colossal malpractice to harm to working artists will only be exceeded by the harm to everyone who uses the internet for everything else.
Here’s what the EU voted in favour of this morning
Upload filters: Everything you post, from short text snippets to stills, audio, video, code, etc will be surveilled by copyright bots run by the big platforms. They’ll compare your posts to databases of “copyrighted works” that will be compiled by allowing anyone to claim copyright on anything, uploading thousands of works at a time. Anything that appears to match the “copyright database” is blocked on sight, and you have to beg the platform’s human moderators to review your case to get your work reinstated.
Link taxes: You can’t link to a news story if your link text includes more than a single word from the article’s headline. The platform you’re using has to buy a license from the news site, and news sites can refuse licenses, giving them the right to choose who can criticise and debate the news.
Sports monopolies: You can’t post any photos or videos from sports events — not a selfie, not a short snippet of a great goal. Only the “organisers” of events have that right. Upload filters will block any attempt to violate the rule.
Here’s what they voted against:
“Right of panorama”: the right to post photos of public places despite the presence of copyrighted works like stock arts in advertisements, public statuary, or t-shirts bearing copyrighted images. Even the facades of buildings need to be cleared with their architects (not with the owners of the buildings).
User generated content exemption: the right to use small excerpt from works to make memes and other critical/transformative/parodical/satirical works.
Having passed the EU Parliament, this will now be revised in secret, closed-door meetings with national governments (“the trilogues”) and then voted again next spring, and then go to the national governments for implementation in law before 2021. These all represent chances to revise the law, but they will be much harder than this fight was. We can also expect lawsuits in the European high courts over these rules: spying on everyone just isn’t legal under European law, even if you’re doing it to “defend copyright.”
In the meantime, what a disaster for creators. Not only will be we liable to having our independently produced materials arbitrarily censored by overactive filters, but we won’t be able to get them unstuck without the help of big entertainment companies. These companies will not be gentle in wielding their new coercive power over us (entertainment revenues are up, but the share going to creators is down: if you think this is unrelated to the fact that there are only four or five major companies in each entertainment sector, you understand nothing about economics).
But of course, only an infinitesimal fraction of the material on the platforms is entertainment related. Your birthday wishes and funeral announcements, little league pictures and political arguments, wedding videos and online educational materials are also going to be filtered by these black-box algorithms, and you’re going to have to get in line with all the other suckers for attention from a human moderator at one of the platforms to plead your case.
The entertainment industry figures who said that universal surveillance and algorithmic censorship were necessary for the continuation of copyright have done more to discredit copyright than all the pirate sites on the internet combined. People like their TV, but they use their internet for so much more.
In a major victory for the open internet that could have ripple effects throughout the United States, the California Senate on Friday thwarted aggressive lobbying by the telecom industry and passed the strongest, most comprehensive net neutrality bill in the nation.
“The passage of SB 822 in California has huge implications for our fight to restore neutrality nationwide,” declared the advocacy group Fight for the Future (FFTF) following Friday’s vote. “We also need to harness the momentum from this huge victory to put pressure on our elected officials in Congress.”
“Finally,” FFTF added, “y’all should be really proud of yourselves. Giant telcos like AT&T and Comcast spent enormous amounts of money lobbying to kill SB 822. They almost succeeded more than once, but we fought back. We drove phone calls, tweets, crowdfunded billboards, attended meetings.”\
Having cleared both houses of California’s legislature, SB 822 will now head to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for a signature.
Brown, who has 30 days to sign the measure, is already facing pressure from the telecom industry to veto the bill, so open internet advocates are warning Californians to remain vigilant and keep up the pressure.
If SB 822 is ultimately signed into law, it would restore the net neutrality protections repealed by the Republican-controlled FCC last December and implement even stronger rules by establishing “an outright ban on zero-rating—the practice of offering free data, potentially to the advantage of some companies over others—of specific apps.”
“We did it,” Democratic state Senator Scott Wiener, the primary author of SB 822, said in a statement. “We passed the strongest net neutrality standards in the nation. The internet is at the heart of 21st century life—our economy, our public safety and health systems, and our democracy. So when Donald Trump’s FCC decided to take a wrecking ball to net neutrality protections, we knew that California had to step in to ensure our residents have access to a free and open internet.”
As the fight for strong net neutrality protections gains steam at the state level, open internet advocates are hoping the resulting energy and momentum will translate into action in Congress, where the House is working to assemble enough votes to pass a Congressional Review Act resolution to undo the FCC’s deeply unpopular repeal.
Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, argued that lawmakers who don’t support net neutrality will feel the wrath of voters in the upcoming midterm elections and beyond.
“Internet users are still royally pissed off about the FCC’s repeal,” Greer said in a statement following Friday’s vote. “They’re still paying attention. And they’re not going to let their elected officials get away with it if they sell out their constituents by siding with big telecom companies.”
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For more than a decade now, activists and truth-seekers have been watching the growing influence of the Internet on society and politics, pointing out that when millions of people become informed to truth, it would drastically change the political landscape in America and around the world.
And it has.
At the same time, we’ve been warned that when mass, virtually free information sharing by the general public became a genuine threat to the establishment and status quo, that an ‘Internet kill switch’ was ready behind the scenes to shut it all down.
And it is.
But while ten years ago, this prospect conjured up images of an actual switch in a DARPA facility somewhere in the Rocky Mountains that would literally power down the infrastructure and backbone of the World Wide Web, we are seeing today what the ‘kill switch’ really looks like. It really is more of a corporate/government affair that targets unwanted information.
This is the true form of the Internet kill switch as it appears in 2018.
1.) “Violation of Community Guidelines” (The Outright Ban) – First and foremost is the now ubiquitous, blanket statement that users of corporate media platforms get when their pages, channels, accounts are shut down. It never points to anything specific, or offers an opportunity to right the transgression. It is legalese for ‘f$#k off, you’re not wanted around here.”
2.) Shadow Banning – This is the act of allowing a persona non grata to continue to use a corporate media platform, but not allowing their posts or content to actually be seen by anyone.
3.) Throttling of Reach – Businesses and media organizations across the board have been seeing a steady and dramatic decline in their ability to reach their audience. The number of page likes really means absolutely nothing, and while these people have signed up to receive content from you, the social media platforms make sure that only a tiny fraction of your audience actually gets what they signed up.
4.) Blacklisting Domains – Platforms like Facebook have demonstrated the ability to prevent a specific domain from getting any reach.
5.) Deleting Posts and Content – If a particular post or piece of content is unwanted on a platform, for whatever reason, it can be deleted.
6.) Flagging Content as ‘Fake News’ – This one is particularly insidious because social media platforms are using corporate news organizations like ABC and discredited private companies like Snopes to supposedly fact check independent content. These labels are often erroneous and can sometimes be appealed, but the flag itself damages the content providers’ reputation and reach.
7.) Downranking and Search Indexing – Google is using their algorithms to target and hide information from search results.
8.) Timeouts for ‘Bad Behavior’ – Twitter, Facebook and others will often timeout a page or page admin for violating some hidden policy. Admins will be locked out of their pages for set periods or have their functionality reduced, thereby preventing them from posting content and reaching or communicating with their audiences.
9.) Shutting Down Websites and Confiscation of Content – WordPress.com is now shutting down sites hosted with its hosting services, again for the ambiguous ‘violation of community guidelines.’ Page owners are locked out without warning and are prohibited from accessing their content or backups of their sites, effectively stealing intellectual property from people.
10.) Shutting Down Business Services – Services such as MailChimp, Spotify, Disqus and a variety of ad networks are now demonstrating the willingness to cease doing business with organizations for political reasons. This one is the most insidious one, because it goes beyond content censorship and aims to shut people out of their legal right to conduct business.
The crisis of Internet censorship in the West is unfolding now and just now coming into view. It appears that government agencies are heavily influencing these policies, along with monolithic tech companies who are now demonstrating the willingness to allow the political beliefs of executives to influence the business services they provide. Given that these are businesses, it stands to reason that it won’t be long before these companies suffer substantial backlash for crossing the line into censorship and thought control.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Under fire for the worst privacy debacle in his company’s history, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg batted away often-aggressive questioning Tuesday from lawmakers who accused him of failing to protect the personal information of millions of Americans from Russians intent on upsetting the U.S. election.
During some five hours of Senate questioning, Zuckerberg apologized several times for Facebook failures, disclosed that his company was “working with” special counsel Robert Mueller in the federal probe of Russian election interference and said it was working hard to change its own operations after the harvesting of users’ private data by a data-mining company affiliated with Donald Trump’s campaign.
Seemingly unimpressed, Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said Zuckerberg’s company had a 14-year history of apologizing for “ill-advised decisions” related to user privacy. “How is today’s apology different?” Thune asked.
“We have made a lot of mistakes in running the company,” Zuckerberg conceded, and Facebook must work harder at ensuring the tools it creates are used in “good and healthy” ways.
The controversy has brought a flood of bad publicity and sent the company’s stock value plunging, but Zuckerberg seemed to achieve a measure of success in countering that: Facebook shares surged 4.5 percent for the day, the biggest gain in two years.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says his company is “working with” special counsel Robert Mueller in his probe into Russian interference. (April 10)
In all, he skated largely unharmed through his first day of congressional testimony. He’ll face House questioners Wednesday.
The 33-year-old founder of the world’s best-known social media giant appeared in a suit and tie, a departure from the T-shirt he’s famous for wearing in public as well as in private. Even so, his youth cast a sharp contrast with his often-elderly, gray-haired Senate inquisitors. And the enormous complexity of the social network he created at times defeated the attempts of legislators to hammer him on Facebook’s specific failures and how to fix them.
The CIA has its own investment capital firm called “In-Q-Tel,” and it’s been funding innovative tech firms for years. This is both good news and bad. One the one hand, it allows the CIA to invest in technologies they deem useful for the intelligence community; however, some of these technologies are a little creepy when it comes to personal space and privacy.
In-Q-Tel has the ability to reach deep into the pockets of the U.S. government’s Black Budget, which is pretty hefty given that the Washington Postreported that a staggering $52.6 billion was set aside for Black Budget operations in the fiscal year 2013. If you’re unfamiliar with the Black Budget program, that’s not very surprising; the entire point of the program is to keep these funds and the programs within it top secret.
To learn more, check out the following CE article:
Though these investments are much smaller than the total Black Budget spending, amounting from somewhere between $500K and $2 million per investment as per a 2005 story in Washington Post, they’re still strategic contributions made in hopes of using the technology in the future.
Here’s a list of 14 firms the CIA has funded:
The CIA invested in Cylance last year, the company behind the product CylancePROTECT. It uses artificial intelligence to distinguish whether or not a file is malware prior to opening it, and if it detects it as malware, it can prevent it from being opened entirely. It’s easy to understand why an intelligence agency would love to have this product on their hands, or anyone else, for that matter.
The CIA invested in this company last year as well. Orbital Insight will search through millions of satellite images of Earth in order to answer a variety of questions. It could count the precise number of cars on a highway and all sorts of other things. Can you imagine how much data is stored in satellite images?
The company intended to use the data to help big box stores understand how they’re performing by determining how many people walk in and out of their stores, how many people are parked in their parking lots, etc.
It would be fascinating to know how the CIA would use this technology because it would essentially give the intelligence agency insight into operations occurring all over the world. Talk about “Big Brother!”
The CIA invested in Cyphy (pronounced Sci Fi) in 2015, which has designed a drone that can spy on anyone from up to 10,000 feet high. That’s right, you may not even know that someone’s spying on you, even if you’re in the middle of nowhere!
That’s not all though — the company even has a tiny drone called a “pocket flyer” which can fly through doors and windows and is small enough to fit in your pocket. Again, it’s easy to understand how the CIA could use this technology, particularly in military or undercover operations, but it’s still a little creepy.
4. BlueLine Grid
An investment that In-Q-Tel made in 2015, BlueLine Grid created a platform for communication that’s entirely web-based, similar to Slack (a communication platform that’s become popular amongst smaller and online-based businesses).
GridTeam is the name of the platform, and it’s extremely secure, allowing users to share messages, images, and even files quickly and safely. It can even host conference calls! The app is typically used by law enforcement and first responders, but since it was designed with security in mind, it’s understandable why the CIA would consider taking advantage as well.
5. Atlas Wearables
The CIA invested in this company in 2015, and it designs fitness trackers similar to FitBits, but a little more accurate. For example, the Atlas wristband would know when you’re doing a bicep curl versus when you’re doing a specific form of cardio.
In addition, the company also designed an app that works with you, sort of like a personal trainer. It’s effective enough that it would literally know whether or not you did the exact amount of push-ups asked of you, which is pretty neat!
An investment made by the CIA in 2014, Fuel3d created a handheld device that can literally scan anything in an instant, including three-dimensional items. The device is called Scanify, and it’s already being used to advance different industries!
For example, full-face scans have been used to create and design eyewear, and it can even build 3-D models to help solve crime scenes. Who knows how the CIA would use this technology, but the opportunities seem endless.
Perhaps one of the creepiest investments made to date, the CIA invested in MindMeld in 2014, which is creating a voice command system for practically everything. Think of Siri for your iPhone, but then applying that wide-scale. Seriously, imagine a voice-activated computer, oven, anything.
The creepy part is, this means that your appliances and electronics are always listening to you, which begs the question, where’s all that data being stored, and who’s listening to it? It’s pretty interesting to ponder how the CIA would use this technology if it were to be implemented large-scale.
The CIA invested in this technology in 2012, and it has some pretty incredible capabilities. The company designed a device that allows DNA to be completely analyzed in a matter of minutes. Typically, this process takes hours and requires DNA samples to be sent to a lab, which then need time to be analyzed.
Instead, this handheld, portable device allows you to analyze the DNA immediately — no lab time required.
The CIA invested in this company back in 2009, and it’s pretty cool. Imagine a fun adventure/spy movie in which high-level spies are communicating with one another on tiny, fancy earpieces. Well, Sonitus makes this a reality but takes it one step further, as their tiny products go inside the mouth and allow users to communicate with one another.
These products can be used in even the nosiest of environments, like during skydiving!
The CIA invested in this company in 2005, and some U.S. spies are already using their software. Palantir’s software is able to connect tons of data from the CIA, NSA, and other intelligence agencies. The military can use it to establish who built certain bombs, detectives can use it to build a greater understanding of different criminals and their connections, and more.
11. BBN Technologies
This investment was made in 2004, and it serves as one of the oldest startups the CIA invested in, as the company was born in 1948. The company has supplied the military with numerous high-tech gadgets, so the investment has certainly paid off.
For example, BBN’s “Boomerang” technology communicates to helicopters and on-ground personnel when they’re being fired at, tells them where the firing came from, and it even has advanced speech recognition capabilities to help military personnel comprehend different languages.
In the face of attempts by the Trump administration to roll back recent net neutrality gainsand hand the web over to large telecommunications companies, Open Internet advocates, civil rights groups, and thousands of websites are joining forces on Wednesday to participate in a national day of action to highlight the importance of preserving net neutrality.
The efforts of activists—highlighted on the Battle for the Net Campaign’s official website, which outlines the various ways in which organizations plan to participate—have already drawn significant attention to an issue that too often remains on the outskirts of public debate.
“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) docket for public comments on the existing net neutrality rules has already surpassed all records, with more than 5.6 million comments from individuals, organizations, companies and other interested parties—and many more to come as a result of Wednesday’s day of action,” noted Free Press, an Open Internet advocacy group, in a statement on Tuesday.
Recent moves by the Trump administration have only served to intensify opposition efforts. Specifically, President Donald Trump’s decision to renominate FCC Chairman Ajit Pai—who, as Vicenotes, “wants to abolish the 2015 FCC decision to regulate internet providers as utilities”—has alarmed supporters of net neutrality who have witnessed the Republican-controlled FCC move quickly to scale back regulations.
“The rules…generally require telecommunications companies that provide online access, such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp., to treat all internet traffic the same and not slow or block some sites,” the Wall Street Journalexplains.
Candace Clement, action fund campaign director for Free Press, argues that eliminating these regulations would effectively allow Comcast and other telecommunications giants to dominate the Internet for financial gain while limiting the freedom and privacy of consumers.
“The existing net neutrality protections put Internet users in the driver’s seat and keep big cable and phone companies from controlling what you see and do online,” Clement said in a statement. “That’s why millions of people support Title II: It prevents these companies from charging us pricey tolls to access the online content we want—and from throttling, blocking or discriminating against the apps, websites and services of our choosing.”
“The polling shows that voters from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly agree we don’t want our cable companies to be able to censor us, charge us extra fees, or essentially be the editors-in-chief of the Internet.”
—Evan Greer, Fight for the Future
In an interview with Democracy Now!, Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, called net neutrality “the First Amendment of the Internet” and argued that the struggle to preserve it is “the free speech fight of our generation.”
“The polling shows that voters from across the political spectrum—Democrats, independents, Republicans, doesn’t matter—overwhelmingly agree we don’t want our cable companies to be able to censor us, charge us extra fees, or essentially be the editors-in-chief of the Internet,” Greer concluded. “So, this is why it’s so important that people use these tools, speak out, show up at their member of Congress’s offices and make this an issue that they know they will be burned by if they burn their constituents.”
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Battle for the Net: On July 12th the Internet Will Stand Together to Save Net Neutrality
“The FCC wants to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies control over what we see and do online,” warns the coalition behind the day of action. “If they get their way, they’ll allow widespread throttling, blocking, censorship, and extra fees. On July 12th, the Internet will come together to stop them.” (Image: Fight for the Future)
In order to confront what they consider a frontal attack on the Internet by the Republican Party and the powerful telecommunications industry, defenders of net neutrality joined with some of the web’s most influential companies on Tuesday in announcing a new campaign and global day of action designed to defend rules enshrined by the Federal Communications Commission just two years ago.
“The FCC’s plan to dismantle net neutrality will unfairly pad the bottom lines of Comcast and the rest of Big Cable, while undermining the public’s ability to freely communicate, organize, and innovate.”
—Mark Stanley, Demand ProgressUnder President Donald Trump, and his FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, the hard won victory to classify the Internet as a public utility and the establishment of rules to protect net neutrality—which stipulate that all web traffic must be treated equally by internet service providers (ISPs)—have come under renewed threat in recent months.
But with the announcement of the “Battle for the Net” campaign—spearheaded by Fight for the Future, the Free Press Action Fund, and Demand Progress—a large and growing coalition of concerned citizens, public interest organizations, online advocacy groups, and businesses are declaring jointly that the open internet and the concept of net neutrality will be fiercely defended from those seeking to wall off innovation, undermine privacy, and exert hegemonic control of the web in the name of profits.
“The FCC wants to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies control over what we see and do online,” reads the call to action on the coalition’s website. “If they get their way, they’ll allow widespread throttling, blocking, censorship, and extra fees.”
Announcing the day of action—which will take place on July 12—the group urged people to “come together” to protect the Internet from the FCC’s attack. In order to do so, the coalition explained, the groups involved will mobilize their members and major web platforms will provide special online tools while urging their users to contact members of Congress and the FCC.
“The Internet has given more people a voice than ever before, and we’re not going to let the FCC take that power away from us,” said Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s executive director. “Massive online mobilization got us the strong net neutrality protections that we have now, and we intend to fight tooth and nail to defend them. Politicians in Washington, D.C. need to learn that net neutrality is not a partisan issue and Internet users will not tolerate these attacks on our basic rights—we will come together to protect the web as an open platform for free expression and exchange of ideas.”
Alongside the numerous progressive advocacy groups and civil libertarians, web-based companies—including Amazon, Vimeo, Kickstarter, and Mozilla—argue that without net neutrality, the Internet as people have come to know it will cease to exist.
“Net neutrality is vital to a healthy Internet,” declared Denelle Dixon, Mozilla’s chief legal and business officer, in a statement. “It protects free speech, competition and innovation online. It’s also something a majority of Americans support—76%, according to a recent Mozilla-Ipsos poll. By reverting to a Title I classification for ISPs, the FCC is endangering Americans’ access to a free and open web. The FCC is creating an Internet that benefits ISPs, not users.”
And Mark Stanley, communications director of Demand Progress, added: “The FCC’s plan to dismantle net neutrality will unfairly pad the bottom lines of Comcast and the rest of Big Cable, while undermining the public’s ability to freely communicate, organize, and innovate. Every few years, a threat so severe confronts the open internet that people, organizations, and companies from across the political spectrum—including some of the largest online platforms—must band together in common cause to fight back. The FCC’s ongoing effort to roll back net neutrality protections represents just such a threat—and on the July 12th day of action, we’ll once again use the transformative power of the internet to defend the internet itself.”
In the wake of the second alleged terrorist attack in England in as many weeks, Prime Minister Theresa May is calling for new Internet regulations and the suppression of digital tools that facilitate online “safe spaces” where attacks can be coordinated. The proposal comes one day after a Saturday night attack in London that left seven dead and nearly 50 injured. It also comes on the heels of an increasingly draconian ‘Big Brother’ counter-terrorism strategy being implemented in the U.K.
We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide.
We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.
May offered no specifics on how the government planned on using Internet regulations to control terrorist chatter on social networks or other online forums. However, the phrase ‘international agreements’ portends a potentially larger movement by governments and corporations across the world to crack down on speech deemed to be dangerous.
The global corporatocracy has already begun working to restrict extremist speech on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google — with varying degrees of success — but not everyone believes this strategy will even be effective at disrupting terrorist activity. Peter Neumann, a professor who studies political violence and radicalization at King’s College in London, says Internet censorship will just cause terrorists to move their conversations to encrypted platforms. As far as the use of social media to radicalize new members, Neumann says online messaging alone is rarely enough to mint new terrorists.
Furthermore, efforts by England’s government to criminalize protest and speech — measures that closely mirror legislation being drafted by U.S. lawmakers — have earned its anti-terror strategy, known officially as “Prevent,” the moniker ‘Big Brother.’ Maina Kiai, who served as the U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly, says “Prevent” is fundamentally flawed.
“Overall, it appears that Prevent is having the opposite of its intended effect: by dividing, stigmatizing and alienating segments of the population, Prevent could end up promoting extremism, rather than countering it,” Kiai recently wrote.
Students, activists, and members of faith-based organizations related countless anecdotes of the program being implemented in a way that translates simply into crude racial, ideological, cultural and religious profiling, with concomitant effects on the right to freedom of association of some groups.
The failure of Western countries to prevent terrorism, in spite of veritable police state infrastructures — and in the U.K., specifically, one of the most powerful surveillance apparatuses in the world — has garnered a plethora of explanations and theories. They range from ‘blowback’ stemming from the now sixteen-year-old War on Terror that has claimed over 1.3 million lives in the Middle East (the same number as low-end estimates of civilian casualties tallied during the Vietnam War) to “false flag” attacks configured to propagate fear in the civilian population and vest more authority in the State.
Draconian regulations on the Internet are likely to only further stigmatize the issue and usurp more civil liberties away from the people. Hopefully, the next Patriot Act won’t have online free speech in its crosshairs.
**EXCLUSIVE** – Richard Dolan on Artificial Intelligence: “This is a RUNAWAY TRAIN!”
Alexis sits down with UFO researcher and alternative historian Richard Dolan to discuss the imminent dangers of A.I. and the future of our world.
Richard Dolan doesn’t pull any punches!
Whether it’s discussing (exposing) the long-standing government coverup of the ET/UFO reality, or the history of false flag events and other such global machinations, he’s thorough and well read. Cautious but bold. This latest interview I conducted with him while on-location at the 2017 Contact in the Desert event in Joshua Tree California was no different.
But this time, we decided to tackle the subject of artificial intelligence (A.I.), and what if any part the ET/UFO component has to play in this push toward merging man with machine.
When I first approached Richard who is a frequent guest on our show, to ask him whether he’d be up for a chat on the A.I. phenomenon, he didn’t hesitate for a moment. “I’m all over it!” he said.
And though the heat was at a max in the desert of Joshua Tree and the atmosphere was buzzing with activity from all angles, that didn’t deter us from a juiced up, ramped up, and passionate discourse!
Dolan’s been looking at the idea of artificial intelligence as an X-factor in the future of our global society for some time. In 2002, he authored an article simply entitled What Are Theyin which he broached the question about the origin of ET/UFO intelligence. Are they organic, synthetic, a product of A.I.? Here’s part of what he had to say in that article…
UFOs are seen as the product of an advanced intelligence, either biological in nature, or else something paranormal, possibly beyond our physics. I have come to a different conclusion. I concede that my position is provisional, and may change in time. But the more I reflect on it, the more persuasive I find it. It is that the UFO phenomenon is the product of an artificial intelligence. – Richard Dolan
This postulate on the part of Dolan made for quite a springboard in our own discussion. I wanted to know whether or not these non-human intelligences (NHI’s) are in fact behind (at least in part) this push for artificial intelligence on our planet.
He danced around this question for a while. His thoughts were well, interesting. But what was even more so were his assessments about what he refers to as the inevitable “runaway train.” The role that technology is and will increasingly play in the very fabric of our lives, and why we need to be concerned!
I count this as one of the most important interviews I’ve done to-date, because it will eventually effect (infect?) all of us to some degree or another.
What are we going to do about it? Can we do anything about it? And how soon will A.I. completely control our lives?
Alexis Brooks is the #1 best-selling author of Conscious Musings, writer/editor for CLN and host of the award-winning show Higher Journeys with Alexis Brooks. Alexis brings over 30 years of broadcast media experience to CLN. For over half of that time, Alexis has dedicated her work to the medium of alternative journalism, having researched and reported on the many aspects and angles of metaphysics, spirituality and new thought concepts.
This article and its accompanying media was originally created and produced by Higher Journeys in association Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alexis Brooks, HigherJourneys.com and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.
10 More Crazy Conspiracy Theories That Became Conspiracy Facts
Generally speaking, conspiracy theories form where there is a vacuum of verifiable facts associated with a controversial, usually tragic event. The concept has evolved over the years and is a part of our popular culture. There are legions of conspiracy theorists and “truthers” who have devoted their lives to certain theories, and there are legions of skeptics who have devoted their lives to debunking those theories. All the while, conspiracy theories of every stripe and variety festoon the footnotes of history. Even the origin of the phrase itself is subject to conspiracy theory, as some researchers have argued that the CIA invented and promulgated the term in order to marginalize fringe thinkers and neutralize investigations.
The Internet has obviously had a profound effect on conspiracy theories, simultaneously helping and hurting the cause. While a world of information is at people’s fingertips, so too are alternate worlds of manufactured propaganda. While the Internet may appear to be a democratized, unfiltered path toward facts and truth, it is easily manipulated. Powerful corporations pay a lot of money to have their dirty laundry buried in the search results underneath contrived puff pieces.
With nearly the entire mainstream media apparatus at their disposal, the government is a maestro at this practice. As we learned from so-called Operation Mockingbird — a conspiracy theory fact discussed in my first post on the subject, “Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out to Be True,” — hundreds, if not thousands of news organizations have been conscripted into working with the CIA to support pro-government narratives. That was in the 1960s. One can only imagine how vast the network is now. Not to mention the fact that a single proprietary algorithm owned by Google dictates the vast majority of the population’s exposure to a subject.
In Part 1, I noted that the list had been meticulously whittled down to focus only on conspiracies that have been irrefutably proven to be fact. There are hundreds of conspiracy theories I think are likely to be true that are not on this list because there simply isn’t enough hard evidence yet to confirm it 100%. I also aimed for a good mixture of old conspiracies and new conspiracies. With groups like Wikileaks and Anonymous out there, the last decade has witnessed a dam burst of new data and documents. Thanks to intrepid journalists, whistleblowers, hacktivists, and leakers, the human race continues to tear down the wall of lies erected by the corporatocracy.
Without further ado, let’s get to it….ten more conspiracy theories we can start calling conspiracy facts.
1. Operation Ajax, the CIA’s Iranian Coup
In Iran it was called 28 Mordad coup; the United Kingdom contributed under the name Operation Boot. However you refer to it, Operation Ajax was an Iranian coup that in 1953 deposed the democratically elected Muhammad Mossadeq and reinstalled the monarchical power of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The primary cause of the coup was Mossadeq’s attempt to nationalize the Iran’s oil fields, which threatened the oil profits of Britain’s Anglo-Persian Oil Company (AIOC). The U.S. — in addition to protecting its ally’s petroleum monopoly — viewed Mossadeq’s move as communist aggression and therefore helped plan the return to power of one the world’s more insidious dictators, the shah. Operation Ajax resulted almost directly in 1979 Iranian revolution that created an anti-West Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Khomeini.
Though it was long considered an open secret, the U.S. government kept the truth behind Operation Ajax concealed from the American people until very recently. The CIA declassified various documents on the 60th anniversary of the coup.
Because of the recent declassification, much information relevant to this CIA-sponsored coup is now available in the CIA’s archives.
In describing Operation Ajax, the CIA itself has become rather oddly self-reflective:
The world has paid a heavy price for the lack of democracy in most of the Middle East. Operation Ajax taught tyrants and aspiring tyrants that the world’s most powerful governments were willing to tolerate limitless oppression as long as oppressive regimes were friendly to the West and to Western oil companies. That helped tilt the political balance in a vast region away from freedom and toward dictatorship.
In a recent interview on Democracy Now, Bernie Sanders remarked to Amy Goodman that this seminal chapter in the history of U.S./Middle East relations is almost entirely ignored by mainstream media. “Have you seen many shows about that on NBC?” he asked the crowd.
2. “Nayirah,” the False Pretext for the first Gulf War
It’s now commonly believed that the second Iraq War was sold to the American people — and their congressional representatives — based on an elaborate web of lies and manipulated intelligence. What is less commonly known is that the first Iraq War came about in a very similar fashion. While, surprisingly, there is broad agreement that “Operation Desert Storm” was a worthwhile war, many people overlook the role of a fifteen-year-old girl named “Nayirah,” whose 1990 testimony to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus is credited with cementing the idea of Iraqi war crimes in the American popular consciousness. Nayirah testified to having witnessed Iraqi troops tearing babies from their incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals and leaving them to die on the floor. It’s a profoundly disturbing image….and one that was entirely fictitious.
After a lengthy investigation, Amnesty International and other independent watchdog groups discovered that the situation described by Nayirah was fabricated by a PR firm named Hill & Knowlton (the largest in the world at this time), which was hired by the group Citizens for a Free Kuwait in order to create propaganda that would galvanize pro-war sentiment. The man overseeing the campaign was Bush political confidante Craig Fuller. This was a massive project utilizing 119 H&K executives in 12 offices across the United States and even involved casting Nayirah, who turned out to be Nayirah al-Sabah, daughter of Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. The Justice Department, which could have investigated the entire effort under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, turned a blind eye, allowing the Bush administration to pull off a massive “Wag the Dog”-style ideological false flag. Others call it “atrocity propaganda,” a form of psyop (psychological operation).
The “Nayirah” story is just another example of the government falsifying a narrative in order to manipulate the public into supporting war. This kind of psychological propaganda continued all through the second Iraq War and the War on Terror. Just recently, it was revealed that the Pentagon paid PR firm Bell Pottinger $540 million to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq.
3. Operation Paperclip
Originally called Operation Overcast, Operation Paperclip was the codename of the secret American plan to conscript Nazi scientists into U.S. intelligence services at the end of World War II. This ushered in and shielded about 1,500 Germans, including some engineers and technicians. Ostensibly, the purpose of this redeployment by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) was to prevent Nazi scientific intelligence from helping reconstitute a new German government; it was also a tactic meant to ensure the Soviet Union didn’t acquire any new technology.
Whatever strategic mindset might have lived inside Operation Paperclip, at its core, the project gave American identities to some of the most ruthless war criminals the world has ever seen.
According to Ynet, the new Nazi CIA scientists helped develop chemical weapons for the U.S. and worked alongside American scientists to develop LSD, which the CIA viewed as a ‘truth serum.’
4. Operation Gladio: Anti-Communist False Flags in Italy
Operation Gladio was the post-World War II love-child of a CIA/NATO/M16 plot to battle communism in Italy. The operation lasted two decades and used CIA-created “stay behind” networks as part of a “Strategy of Tension” that coordinated multiple terrorist attacks from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Authorities blamed these attacks on Marxists and other left-wing political opponents in order to stigmatize and condemn communism. The operation involved multiple bombings that killed hundreds of innocent people, including children. The most notable attack was the August 2, 1980, bombing of the Bologna train station, which killed 85 people.
In an Anti-Media piece written about five confirmed false flag operations (which includes Operation Gladio, I wrote:
How do we know about Operation Gladio in spite of its incredibly clandestine nature? There are two principle sources. One, the investigations of Italian judge Felice Casson, whose presentation was so compelling it forced Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti to confirm Gladio’s existence. The second source is testimony from an actual Gladio operative, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, who is serving a life sentence for murder. In a 1990 interview with the Guardian, Vincenzo stated that Gladio was designed to psychologically coerce the Italian public to rely on the state for security.
Operation Gladio is a textbook modern “false flag.” It used terror and violence to discredit an ideology (communism). And to think, this came at a time before the internet when the CIA didn’t have a fully entrenched mainstream media to trumpet, echo, and build consensus around every little nuance (though they were working on it with COINTELPRO and Operation Mockingbird). Nowadays, the CIA has multinational propaganda machines — the news networks — to make sure all terrorist attacks fit into the carefully scripted narrative that manufactures consent around our wars for oil, natural gas, and other resources.
5. Government uses insect and rodent drones to spy
It’s somewhat of a cliche to jokingly refer to a surrounding insect or bird as a clandestine spy deployed by the government to watch you. While we lack certain specifics on the ubiquity of the technology, we know definitively that the government has the technology to surveil citizens using insects and other small animals, and they use this technology in military applications.
There is some evidence to suggest that insect drones are used domestically to spy on citizens. In 2007, this theory conspiracy theory took shape when anti-war protesters reported strange buzzing insects. Written off as tin foil material, officials dismissed the suggestion that the government used insect drones to spy. Multiple witnesses reported erratic dragonfly-type objects hovering in the sky. The very next year, the U.S. Air Force announced their intended use of insect-sized spies ‘as tiny as bumblebees’ to infiltrate buildings in order to “photograph, record, and even attack insurgents and terrorists.” The government has come clean about its use of drones to spy on American citizens, so it’s difficult to believe they wouldn’t have at least tried insect drones.
While we can’t say with 100% certainty that there are insect drones spying on American citizens, though it’s exceedingly likely, what is irrefutable is the use of micro air vehicles (MAVs) and “spy animals” as war-time tools. DARPA launched its Stealthy Insect Sensor Project in 1999 as an effort to deputize bees as bomb locators in war zones. This was just the first phase in an ongoing project. In her book The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency, journalist Annie Jacobsen revealed that the agency’s near-future trajectory is to introduce “biohybrids” — part animal, part machine cyborgs — into the United States’ military arsenal.
DARPA has already succeeded in creating a rat that will be steered by remote control by implanting an electrode in its brain.
And it’s done the same thing with a moth which is really remarkable because the scientists implanted the electrodes in the pupa stage of the moth when it was still a worm! And then it transformed into having wings, and those tiny little micro-sensors transformed with the moth and the DARPA scientists were able to steer that moth.
6. CIA assassinations and coups in foreign countries
When operatives for the Democratic Party claim the 2016 United States presidential election was tampered with by a foreign entity, it’s hard not to cringe at the irony. Firstly, they’ve presented no evidence, except to claim that government intelligence agencies believe it to be true. Sorry, that’s not actually evidence. That’s like the police saying they have DNA evidence but never actually scientifically presenting it in court. It’s kind of unnerving that we even have to point that out. Secondly, our own government and intelligence agencies, namely the CIA, have actively and aggressively subverted countless foreign elections over the last century and, in some cases, have outright funded the assassinations of candidates.
This subject could easily fill a multi-volume book, and countless authors have worked over the years to uncover the role of the CIA in foreign coups. Using every tool in their arsenal — including white, grey, and black psychological operations, counterinsurgencies, and brutal coups aimed at repressing and destroying radically democratic candidates — the CIA has subverted the “will of the people” across the world.
The most commonly noted instances of the CIA meddling in foreign elections and governments include the following: South Korea (late-1940s); Italy (1948-mid-1970s); Guatemala (1954); Congo (1960), Dominican Republic (1961), South Vietnam (1963), Brazil (1964); Uruguay (1969); Bolivia (1971); Chile (1970-1973); Argentina (1976); Australia (1975); El Salvador (1980); Iran (late-1970s); Grenada (1983) Haiti (1986); Panama (1990) Nicaragua (1990); Czechoslovakia (1990); Peru (1990-2000) Yugoslavia (2000). This is but a small sampling of countries where even mainstream news outlets and, in many cases, the CIA itself, admits calamitous U.S. involvement. There are literally dozens more and, of course, this is restricting the conversation to soft coups — otherwise, we could certainly include the complete military decimation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and other Middle Eastern countries during the War on Terror, as well as the myriad imperial wars against perceived communist threats.
‘A foreign government hacked and subverted our election!’
The irony is thick with this one. Payback’s a bitch…..which, of course, isn’t giving our intelligence agencies, who have proven themselves to be pathological liars, the benefit of the doubt regarding their claims of Russian collusion during the 2016 presidential election. It’s just to kind of say…..you reap the harvest you have sown. When you look at the track record of the United States government, it’s a wonder the average citizen is safe traveling abroad.
Here Are the 50 GOP Senators Who Just Sacrificed Your #BroadbandPrivacy to Corporate Profits
These are the 50 Senators who just voted to gut #BroadbandPrivacy rules & let ISPs sell your private data to marketers without permission,’ the advocacy group Fight for the Future announced in a tweet on Thursday. (Image: Screenshot/with overlay)
As Common Dreams previously reported, the controversial Congressional Review Act (CRA), if passed by Congress and signed by President Trump, would repeal a rule put forth the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under President Obama that forced companies to receive permission from online users before collecting or selling sensitive data, such as browsing history and search queries.
On Thursday afternoon, the Senate passed the resolution along strict party lines with a 50-48 vote. (With two senators, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) voting absent, the full roll call is here.) Widespread disgust was immediately focused on the 50 Republicans who voted ‘yea’:
Evan Greer, campaign director for the the advocacy group Fight for the Future, responded by saying that those 50 members who voted in favor “used a blatantly undemocratic Congressional procedure to gut basic protections that prevent Internet Service Providers [ISPs] like Comcast and Verizon from selling their customers personal information to marketers without their permission.”
Online, internet users themselves were expressing their disgust with the Senate vote under the hashtag #BroadbandPrivacy.
While a major blow to consumers, the measure is seen as a clear gift to the nation’s most powerful media and cable companies.
“It is extremely disappointing that the Senate voted today to sacrifice the privacy rights of Americans in the interest of protecting the profits of major internet companies, including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon,” said Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel for the ACLU, in a statement. “The resolution would undo privacy rules that ensure consumers control how their most sensitive information is used. The House must now stop this resolution from moving forward and stand up for our privacy rights.”
As Kate Tummarello, with the digital rights advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, explained in an action alert following the vote, the major internet service providers (ISPs) have for weeks been deploying their massive lobbying power “to get lawmakers to repeal the FCC’s rules that stand between them and using even creepier ways to track and profit off of your every move online.”
Tummarello warned that ultimate passage of the bill would not only “roll back the FCC’s rules” instituted under the Obama administration, it would also prevent the FCC from instituting similar consumer protections in the future.
As Greer noted, the Republicans who rammed the bill through—many of whom, she noted, have accepted large campaign contributions from the industry groups who lobbied for the legislation—”should be ashamed that they allowed partisan politics and corporate corruption to strip Internet users of our right to use the web safely and privately.”
Because the bill stills needs to clear the House and gain the signature of President Trump, Greer said there remains plenty of time for opponents to block to its ultimate passage.
“The controversial measure passed by a narrow margin [in the Senate],” she said. “This is evidence that many members of Congress are still scared of angering the Internet. And they should be. Internet users are increasingly aware of how legislation and FCC rules impact our basic rights, and we are prepared to fight to defend them.”
Greer concluded, “The Senators who voted today to sell out their constituents privacy will soon learn that the money they get from Cable companies can’t buy back our trust.”
Blanketed beneath the buzz of Christmas, U.S. President Barack Obama quietly signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law the Friday before the holiday. Within the PDF that reveals an authorization of more than $600 billion in military spending for 2017, there lies a provision that allows for a national Anti-Propaganda Center that could hinder the freedom of press.
Today, I have signed into law S. 2943, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.” This Act authorizes fiscal year 2017 appropriations principally for the Department of Defense and for Department of Energy national security programs, provides vital benefits for military personnel and their families, and includes authorities to facilitate ongoing operations around the globe. It continues many critical authorizations necessary to ensure that we are able to sustain our momentum in countering the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and to reassure our European allies, as well as many new authorizations that, among other things, provide the Departments of Defense and Energy more flexibility in countering cyber-attacks and our adversaries’ use of unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016 puts in legal practice a U.S. Ministry of Truth. Besides reporting on the passage of the bill, the corporate mainstream media has been quiet on its details. One can only speculate that, such ins and outs don’t fit their agenda to keep America out of the loop regarding the Information War their own government has put in place.
U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) today announced that their Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act – legislation designed to help American allies counter foreign government propaganda from Russia, China, and other nations – has been signed into law as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report. The bipartisan bill, which was introduced by Senators Portman and Murphy in March, will improve the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation from our enemies by establishing an interagency center housed at the State Department to coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government. To support these efforts, the bill also creates a grant program for NGOs, think tanks, civil society and other experts outside government who are engaged in counter-propaganda related work. This will better leverage existing expertise and empower our allies overseas to defend themselves from foreign manipulation. It will also help foster a free and vibrant press and civil society overseas, which is critical to ensuring our allies have access to truthful information and inoculating people against foreign propaganda campaigns.
H.R.6393, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, passed in the House of Representatives on November 30.
The legislation deals with a number of intelligence-related issues, including Russian propaganda, or what the government calls propaganda.
Section 501 calls for the government to counter “measures by Russia to exert covert influence … carried out in coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly.”
Definitions include media manipulation, covert broadcasting, disinformation and forgeries, and “funding agents of influence.”
It’s easy to see how this law, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, could be used against “fake news” websites.
On November 24, The Washington Post published an article citing “experts” who claim Russian propaganda helped Donald Trump get elected.
“Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on “fake news,” as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem,” the Post reported.
The newspaper cited PropOrNot, an anonymous website that posted a hit list of alternative media websites, including Drudge Report, Zero Hedge, Activist Post, Blacklisted News, and many others.
PropOrNot attempts to make the case the websites are either used directly or covertly by the Russians to spread propaganda.
At this point it is unknown if the bill will work its way through the Senate and become law and if it will be used to shut down or curtail websites anonymously characterized as useful idiots or willing participants in disseminating supposed Russian propaganda.
Russell says that his kind of bill just underlines that there is an antagonistic relationship between the government and the populace. It’s all supposedly done to protect society from terrorists, but there there is no evidence that any kind of surveillance has thwarted any terrorist attacks.
And he also points out that the government has been doing this kind of surveillance all along. The only difference is that now they have legal permission to do so (which means private citizens have no legal recourse against it).