By Jo Nova
Imagine if the national postal service had secret blacklists of people whose mail “should be lost”?
What if the FBI, CIA, or Department of Defence was talking to the postie, and the postie read your letters and threw some out, but not others, and none of the institutions told you they were doing this? Or perhaps the post-office just told point-blank you you were banned from sending mail now “because your letters were wrong”.
In this case the “posties” are private organizations, but to all intents and purposes, their network connection and obedience to Big-Government made them, in effect, another branch of the government. The government wasn’t paying the postie direct, but that was just a technical detail. The government protected the monopoly of the corporate postie team and gave them a legal loophole to hide in, and the media outlets stopped anyone criticizing the government. It was just a Pravda-KGB consortium with AI filters but hidden.
“Undeniably, the making of such lists is a form of digital McCarthyism.”
Where would we be if Elon Musk hadn’t bought Twitter?
In the latest round of Twitter Files, Matt Taibbi shows how Twitter was not just censoring things that would later turn out to be true, but things it already knew to be true.
The truth can be malinformation you see — it might influence people not to take a medicine that Twitter has decided they should take.
For the last few years, your friends and families medical decisions have been made by a quasi government collective. The only people with informed consent were the censors. As Taibbi says malinformation is just a euphemism for “true but inconvenient.”
We can all speak with one voice comrade! The GEC voice…
It’s no accident why commentators everywhere seem to shift messages together like a school of herding fish. The censorship industrial complex is not just the government, and the media, and the social media giants but also some of the non-government organisations that once upon a time were supposed to be watchdogs of the government.
At the centre of this information cabal was the “Global Engagement Center” (“GEC”) — which was established by Barack Obama with Executive Order 13271. This was in 2015-2016 and marked a shift from managing “counter terrorism” to the much broader “disinformation”.
GEK decides who’s on the blacklist, and the lists are looong…
But Twitter was more like a partner to government. With other tech firms it held a regular “industry meeting” with FBI and DHS, and developed a formal system for receiving thousands of content reports from every corner of government: HHS, Treasury, NSA, even local police.
Emails from the FBI, DHS and other agencies often came with spreadsheets of hundreds or thousands of account names for review. Often, these would be deleted soon after.
We came to think of this grouping – state agencies like DHS, FBI, or the Global Engagement Center (GEC), along with “NGOs that aren’t academic” and an unexpectedly aggressive partner, commercial news media – as the Censorship-Industrial Complex.
NGOs ideally serve as a check on corporations and the government. Not long ago, most of these institutions viewed themselves that way. Now, intel officials, “researchers,” and executives at firms like Twitter are effectively one team – or Signal group, as it were.
Michael Shellenberger went with Matt Taibbi to Congress and summed it up on his own Substack:
The censorship industrial complex combines established methods of psychological manipulation, some developed by the U.S. military during the Global War on Terror, with highly sophisticated tools from computer science, including artificial intelligence. The complex’s leaders are driven by the fear that the Internet and social media platforms empower populist, alternative, and fringe personalities and views, which they regard as destabilizing. Federal government officials, agencies, and contractors have gone from fighting ISIS recruiters and Russian bots to censoring and deplatforming ordinary Americans and disfavored public figures.
Importantly, the bar for bringing in military-grade government monitoring and speech-countering techniques has moved from “countering terrorism” to “countering extremism” to countering simple misinformation. The government no longer needs a predicate of calling you a terrorist or extremist to deploy government resources to counter your political activity. The only predicate it needs is simply the assertion that the opinion you expressed on social media is wrong.
You are free to say nice things about the government:
… increasingly, the censors say their goal is to restrict information that “delegitimizes” governmental, industrial, and news media organizations.
The cartel wants to protect the industry and media from being “delegitimized” too. They are all assets in the same mafia-style organization.
hat tip to KP, JB, Honk R Smith, Tombo, Beth the serf, John Connor II, Richard C.
Censored logo: Piotr VaGla Waglowski
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March 10, 2023 at 03:07PM