VIPS Asks Twitter to Restore Van Buren’s Account

The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in a memo to the Twitter board of directors questions its decision to suspend the account of one of its members without due process.

August 8, 2018

TO: Twitter Board of Directors

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Suspension of VIPS Associate Peter Van Buren’s Twitter Account

We at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) are greatly disturbed by the recent decision of your management to permanently suspend the Twitter account @WeMeantWell of our colleague Peter Van Buren. Peter is a highly respected former Foreign Service Officer possessing impeccable credentials for critiquing current developments that might lead to a new war in Eastern Europe or Asia, something which we Americans presumably all would like to avoid.

In 2011 our colleague Peter published a book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, about the poor decision- making by both civilians and military that led to the disastrous occupation and faux-democracy development in Iraq. It is Peter’s concern that our country may well be proceeding down that same path again — possibly with Iran, Syria and other countries in the Middle East region.

It is our understanding that Peter became involved in an acrimonious Twitter exchange with several mainstream journalists over the theme of government lying. One of the parties to the exchange, reported to be Jonathan Katz of @KatzOnEarth — possibly joined by some of his associates – complained. Subsequently, and without any serious investigation or chance for rebuttal regarding the charges, Peter was suspended by you for “harass[ing], intimidate[ing], or us[ing] fear to silence someone else’s voice.” Peter absolutely denies that anything like that took place.

We have also learned that Daniel McAdams, Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and a highly respected former Congressional staffer, weighed in to defend Peter and was also suspended by you. And Scott Horton, editorial director of Radio, was suspended for use of “improper language” against Katz. Horton and McAdams cannot add new tweets while under suspension, but Peter’s “permanent” suspension included deletion of all of his seven years’ archive of tweets, so the actual exchanges leading up to his punishment cannot currently be examined.

Your action suggests three possibilities — all of which are quite plausible given that your system for punishing users is far from transparent. First, you may be engaged in systematic manipulation if some of your users are able to complain and have their friends do likewise in order to sully the reputation of a Twitter user who is doing little more than engaging in heated debate over issues that concern all of us.

Second, there is a distinct possibility that you are responding to either deep pocketed or particularly strident advocacy groups that may themselves have agendas to silence opposition voices. We note that Google is currently working with some powerful foundations to censor content they object to which comes up in search engine results.

Finally – third — we also suspect a possible government hand in that companies like yours, to include Facebook, have become very sensitive to alleged “subversive” content, deleting accounts and blocking users. Kowtowing to government suggestions to silence critics of administration policies may well be considered a desirable proactive step by your management as well as by other social media companies, but censorship is censorship, no matter how you dress it up.

We Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity believe that systematic and/or institutionalized censorship of tweets and account users is fundamentally the wrong way to go unless there are very explicit and sustained threats of violence or other criminal behavior. The internet should be free, to include most particularly the ability to post commentary that is not mainstream or acceptable to the Establishment. That is what Peter has been doing and we applaud him for it. We respectfully request that you examine the facts in the case with the objective of reconsidering and possibly restoring the suspension of Peter Van Buren’s twitter account. Thank you.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Richard H. Black, Senator of Virginia, 13th District; Colonel US Army (ret); former chief, Criminal Law Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, the Pentagon (associate VIPS) (@SenRichardBlack)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) and Division Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Bogdan Dzakovic, former team leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.) (@infangenetheof)

Larry C. Johnson, former CIA and State Department Counterterrorism Officer (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (ret.); Wing Commander, RAAF (ret.); former intelligence officer and master SERE instructor (@msk6793)

John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee (@johnkiriakou)

 Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS) (@usalinda)

Edward Loomis, NSA, cryptologic computer scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.) (@raymcgovern)

Annie Machon, former intelligence officer in the UK’s MI5 domestic security service (affiliate VIPS) (@anniemachon)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.) (@elizabethmurra)

Todd E. Pierce, Maj, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.) (@ToddEPierce)

Scott Ritter, former Maj., USMC; former UN weapons inspector, Iraq (@RealScottRitter)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.) (@coleenrowley)

J. Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA (ret.) (@kirkwiebe)

Sarah Wilton, Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.) and Defense Intelligence Agency (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel (Ret) and former US Diplomat

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington’s justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at

98 comments for “VIPS Asks Twitter to Restore Van Buren’s Account

  1. Laurie Clark
    August 9, 2018 at 16:56

    Do any of the VIPS listed still have their Twitter account? Twitter is run by a bunch of gutless assholes! They allow Trump to harass and threaten anyone he feels like. If anyone else did that they would be permanently banned!

  2. August 8, 2018 at 23:48

    Yea, Twitter kowtows to the government, even as Alex Jones remains on there. Twitter is imperfect in many ways. Kowtowing to the government is not one of them.

    Regular Twitter users know that Jack’s and Biz’s policies for user regulation are a clusterfück in general. They’ve been used against a variety of people, primarily left of center to leftist in politics from what I can tell. I’ve been in a 24-hour Twitter jail myself.

    That said, Twitter usually provides warnings before actions, and actions it takes are often graduated. It’s quite possible this did not appear out of nowhere.

  3. Rong Cao
    August 8, 2018 at 21:47

    This means the war with Iran is near. Deep state have to suppress any voices that would have waken up the vast populations to the facts that America have been fighting wars not for the benefit of Americans.

  4. Delia Ruhe
    August 8, 2018 at 20:21

    Looks as if PropOrNot’s blacklist is being implemented, one account at a time. First, get the intelligentsia, who are really dangerous to the status quo, people like VanBuren.

    As for the ignorantsia, they can wait. They know nothing that will damage the elites—or anyone else, for that matter—which is obvious by the way know-nothings lace their unintelligible prose with lots of foul language.

    Thank you, VIPS. Since I don’t facebook or twitter or do any of that kind of thing in the age of full-spectrum surveillance, I would not have known about this otherwise. Thanks again.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 8, 2018 at 21:16

      Delia – “ignorantsia” gave me a good giggle. Thanks.

  5. backwardsevolution
    August 8, 2018 at 14:42

    Twitter and the New York Times are fine with hate speech if it’s coming from the Left:

    “Racism is acceptable if it is employed against white people.

    New York Times editorial board member Sarah Jeong can make all the racist tweets she wants and not be banned from Twitter or fired by the New York Times.


    ‘Oh man. It’s sick how much joy I get from being cruel to old white men.’

    ‘Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.’

    ‘Are white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins.’

    The New York Times have no problem with employing people like Sarah Jeong.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 8, 2018 at 14:48

      “Post racist things about white people and Twitter won’t bat an eyelash. Hell, the New York Times might even defend you.

      But post something racist about any other race, and Twitter will be all over you like black on rice…see what I did there?

      According to the Daily Caller, Turning Point USA’s Candace Owens tweeted out Sarah Jeong’s words verbatim, but replaced the word “white” with “Jew,” just to show that in any other context, Jeong would have looked an awful lot like a neo-Nazi. This point was well made, but it seemed to fly right over Twitter’s head.

      Twitter then suspended Owen’s account for twelve hours, claiming that Owen’s tweets violated Twitter’s rules and conditions. That’s an interesting thing for Twitter to say seeing as how Jeong’s racist anti-white tweets survived long enough for the world to find them after she was hired by the New York Times.

      The pattern holds that racism is perfectly acceptable, so long as it’s against the right group. Identity politics is having its heyday, and Twitter, as well as various other corporations such as Google and the New York Times, are going along for the ride.”

      • August 9, 2018 at 09:30

        Identity politics is the glue that keeps us all apart.

        • Joe Wallace
          August 9, 2018 at 11:13

          Bryan Hemming:

          Nice! A brilliant observation crisply expressed!

    • Mild - ly Facetious
      August 8, 2018 at 18:09

      could ‘backwards evolution’ be the synthetic (Trump ism) for ‘greasing the wheels’ ?

      • backwardsevolution
        August 8, 2018 at 20:46

        Mild – ly Facetious – like the article I posted above said: “The pattern holds that racism is perfectly acceptable, so long as it’s against the right group.”

        Which can logically be extended to: “The pattern holds that witch hunts are perfectly acceptable, so long as they’re against the right group.”

        And then on to: “The pattern holds that free speech can be abolished, so long as it’s against the right group.”

        Ending with: Some pigs are more equal than others.

        • Litchfield
          August 8, 2018 at 22:02

          Very well put.

          And this was the interesting thing about the Dershowitz dustup.

          Normally nothing about Dershowitz would I sign on to. But I do think he was right about Trump. I mean, Trump does have civil rights, like any other citizen.
          Quite apart from his executive powers.
          But people who go along with Dersh’s worst Zionist positions and pronouncements chose to cherry-pick the one thing that he said that was on point and to attack him (and shun him) for that position.
          Just as I do not go along with much of anything that Trump has done. Except he is right about rapprochement with Russia. But exactly that is what elicited the “traitor” meme.

          So, all of this guilt tripping and framing up is selectively used for strategic vilification— handy, but not even-handed.

    • Mild - ly Facetious
      August 8, 2018 at 18:36

      The judge even made a suggestion, according to The Hill:

      “Find another term to use,” said Judge T.S. Ellis,
      saying government prosecutors can instead refer to oligarchs as “people who financed the campaign.”

      The word comes from the Greek ‘oligarch?s,’ made of ‘olig’ (“few”) and ‘arch?s’ (“ruler”).

      Koch Brothers ????
      Federalist Society ??
      Dark Money / Vote Rigging?

      “could this be the End… ?”

      the final end

      ———- of ….. “democracy”?

      as Paternalistic, Plutocracy and Phlegmatic Stoicism,
      corralling/ engulfing the Majority of The People into
      a New Depression – and…
      there will be death – – – – – – and Not Peace. …

      The judge even made a suggestion, according to The Hill:

      “Find another term to use,” said Judge T.S. Ellis,
      saying government prosecutors can instead refer to oligarchs as “people who financed the campaign.”

      The word comes from the Greek ‘oligarch?s,’ made of ‘olig’ (“few”) and ‘arch?s’ (“ruler”).

      Koch Brothers ????
      Federalist Society ??
      Dark Money / Vote Rigging?

      “could this be the End… ?”

      the final end

      ———- of ….. “democracy”?

      as Paternalistic, Plutocracy and Phlegmatic Stoicism,
      corralling/ engulfing the Majority of The People into
      a New Depression – and…
      there will be death – – – – – – and Not Peace. …

      as we transition into a New form of gov’t
      under uncompromising dictatorial Edicts,
      Under Trump.

      • backwardsevolution
        August 9, 2018 at 07:42

        Mildly – the star witness for the prosecution in the Paul Manafort trial turns out to be a crook. Yes, another crook who was given immunity. I haven’t been following the trial, couldn’t tell you what Paul Manafort is charged with, but this will not help the Mueller team. To have called a crook to the stand smacks of desperation. But what do I know.

        If we’re going to air Manafort’s dirty laundry, let’s at least be fair and go over with a fine-toothed comb the Uranium One deal and the Clinton Foundation. You could probably pay off the national debt with the embezzlement and corruption in Washington, D.C. alone.

        • Laurie Clark
          August 9, 2018 at 17:00

          Does it hurt?

        • caseyf5
          August 15, 2018 at 19:15

          Hello backwardsevolution, I’m glad that you prefer only the past instead of both the past and the present. The past I am for totally giving a thorough rectal examination starts with the Right Wing Godhead Ronald (6) Wilson (6) Reagan (6) then Bush the elder, then Wild Bill Clinton, followed by the Shrub and the current occupier of 1600 Pensey Ave Wash AC/DC! I feel that not one of them has been given the total attention that they deserve. Their lam-administrations deserve the newest fashion color of “ORANGE”! If they could be shipped back in time I would like it just after the end of World War II. Some would be tried by the Nuremberg courts while others could have the courts set up in Japan! It would be an interesting experience as justice prevails! Since that is the fantasy that I would like to see but won’t I can only expect the current situation to continue to deteriorate until their is not much left on this somewhat little round ball floating in space. The longer we are on the current path the less that the flora and fauna will survive!

    • Dunderhead
      August 8, 2018 at 20:23

      Try not watching television, why do people even bother with it the MSM have become irrelevant to the argument because it is taken for granted that they will tow the line for big brother, now Facebook and twitter are working their way toward irrelevance, in a sense, we have won. So let it go, in a perfect world who cares what other people think anyway, it is their media, we are not wanted we will have to create our own.

  6. Antiwar7
    August 8, 2018 at 14:27

    “O cynical, malevolent entity, please do the right thing in defiance of all you stand for.”

    Hmmm, doesn’t sound like it has a great chance of success…

    • Antiwar7
      August 8, 2018 at 14:29

      A better chance of success, in getting them to change their behavior, may be trying to launch some memes ridiculing them for their ham-fisted censorship. Make them look uncool.

      • Elizabeth
        August 8, 2018 at 15:33

        Any cartoonists in the house?

      • August 11, 2018 at 08:17

        “memes?” Wish people would stop mangling the definition of the word. Stop using it altogether since it’s never used correctly.

  7. August 8, 2018 at 12:35

    Thank you again VIPS,

    For again standing strong for the free flow of ideas in the face of either government suppression or spineless self-censorship by these highly influential social platforms that may not form public opinion, but they sure as hell can rapidly spread viruses rather quickly, and not always without harm. Their business model is for sale, and anybody can buy in. (PS. Is it any surprise that Russia is in line with a lot of other users to pay for the privilege of influencing public opinion the way our political parties do?)

    • August 11, 2018 at 08:22

      There is still no proof of Russian interference. There is ample proof that the US interferes in elections and coups and background manipulation all over the world. Not to mention all its illegal wars. It’s NOT Russia that is aggressive. It’s the damnable USA. After all, how moral can you be if you back Israel?
      Thank goodness for the VIPS and their consistent revelation of the truth.

  8. Mark Thomason
    August 8, 2018 at 12:34

    Under cover of cleaning up things like Alex Jones, this is a big push to crush opposition to the Establishment. It is an extreme abuse of the original concerns of the First Amendment, even if it is not technically government action. Of course government allows monopoly power, and imposes requirements on it, so really it is government action, by proxy, like so many of our wars.

    • eyesopen
      August 8, 2018 at 13:23

      Matters are heating up.

      Is Democratic Senator Mark Warner The Mastermind Behind Weaponizing US Tech Giants?

      A Four Person NATO-Funded Team Advises Facebook On Flagging “Propaganda”
      ….. This is not at all comforting: during a week that’s witnessed Alex Jones’ social media accounts taken down by Facebook, Apple, Spotify and Google, and what appears to be a growing crackdown against alternative media figures including several prominent Libertarians, notably the Ron Paul Institute director, and the Scott Horton Show, who found their Twitter accounts suspended — we learn that the Atlantic Council is directly advising Facebook on identifying and removing “foreign interference” on the popular platform.

      While the initiative was initially revealed last May through an official Facebook media release, more details of the controversial think tank’s role have been revealed.

      Supposedly the whole partnership is aimed at bringing more objectivity and neutrality to the process of rooting out fake accounts that pose the threat of being operated by nefarious foreign states.

      And yet as a new Reuters report confirms, Facebook is now itself a top donor to the Atlantic Council, alongside Western governments, Gulf autocratic regimes, NATO, various branches of the US military, and a number of major defense contractors and corporations…..

      …… Among the DFR Labs partners include UK-based Bellingcat, which has in the past claimed “proof” that Assad gassed civilians based on analyzing YouTube videos and Google Earth. And top donors include various branches of the US military, Gulf sates like the UAE, and notably, NATO.

      The Atlantic Council has frequently called for things like increased military engagement in Syria, militarily confronting the “Russian threat” in Eastern Europe, and now is advocating for Ukraine and Georgia to be allowed entry into NATO while calling for general territorial expansion of the Western military alliance.

      Further it has advocated on behalf of one of its previous funders, Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and gave a “Distinguished International Leadership” award to George W. Bush, to name but a few actions of the think tank that has been given authorization to flag citizens’ Facebook pages for possible foreign influence and propaganda.

      Quite disturbingly, this is Mark Zuckerberg’s outside “geopolitical expertise” he’s been seeking.

      US Senate Calls On Julian Assange To Testify
      Julian Assange has been asked to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee as part of their Russia investigation, according to a letter signed by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA) posted by the official WikiLeaks Twitter account.

    • Litchfield
      August 8, 2018 at 13:38

      Thanks to VIPS for this clear letter.
      Are the MSM covering this Twitter development?
      The idea of “cleaning up” Alex Jones is not valid, IMO. That is, he has a right to say what he wants, as long as not libeloius, and listeners have a right to listen. I have tuned in a couple of time to Alex Jones, and I found most of his broadcasts very tedious. He is not a very good journalist. I didn’t learn much from him.

      It is terrifying that very young, inexperienced, and conceited men such as Mark Zuckerberg—who strikes me as some kind of robotlike idiot savant—and the google and Twitter entrepreneurs have the power to decide who gets to speak. This has been the problem with Facebook and Google all along: they are private companies, their provenance is a bit murky (i.e., who funded them), and with the willing connivance of their users they have come to be seen as “universal” and indispensable. If these services are indispensable for “normal” modern communications, then they must be nationalized. The silencing of some voices should be viewed as the obvious red flag signal that it is time to nationalize these electronic media, or turn them into public utilities that at least have some public oversight.

      That a respected group of seasoned prfessionals such as VIPS must plead with whoever owns Twietter to restore the free speech rights of an American citizen is extremely troubling. All dissenting voices (Assange) are being silenced. It is the equivalent of assassination via cutting the telephone lines, as in The Shining and so many other horror movies. We are living it.

      • caseyf5
        August 15, 2018 at 19:39

        Hello Litchfield, Anyone who believes that Alex Jones is a journalist is in serious need of a reality check! He’s an anarchist bomb throwing excrement that will do anything for media attention. He and others of his ilk do their jobs well. If you fill minds up with lies and other bullshit plus flattery then there isn’t much capacity for the truth to enter and displace what they have heard. It doesn’t hurt that this propaganda is repeated on as close to a 24/7/365 basis as possible!!!!!! There are some people from the early part of the 20th century that made this possible. William Bernbach, Ivan Pavlov and Paul Joseph Goebbels who combined their theories with his own and became one of the finest propagandists ever! Of course he used it for the “dark side”! Without his evil influence World War II Would have been different! Flash forward to today and his disciples are attempting to recreate what he did with less than his success as individuals but collectively they will exceed what he accomplished!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Maxwell Quest
      August 9, 2018 at 23:22

      We are going to see more of this intertwining of state and the giant monopolistic corporations like Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, etc., which are not your typical private company that sells hamburgers or washing machines. Most here are aware that what they provide are platforms that allow 100’s of millions of users to share personal data with each other.

      And thanks to Edward Snowden, we know that our intelligence community (IC) is armpit deep in that honey-pot of free info. Well, not free really, because these tech giants get special treatment; tax breaks, for example, allowing them to repatriate offshore profits in order to fund their lucrative stock buyback schemes, and State Dept muscle directed at any foreign entity that might try to shake them down for antitrust penalties, for starters.

      And now that Tony Soprano and his gang (the IC) have their offices in the suites next to the top exec’s, they’re going to start asking for more special favors, like “We needs ya to rub out a few more undesirable bloggers for us that are cuttin’ in on our action… and hey, make it look like an accident.”

  9. mike
    August 8, 2018 at 12:28

    Alex Jones still have a Twitter account?

  10. Hide Behind
    August 8, 2018 at 11:53

    What is the USA?
    What makes that government or its peoples different from say Europe; or in the reality the difference in economic management.
    Could it be history?
    And if so, how is history portrayed within US, and how many within US know of history from times before they were born.
    As to the VIPs , all are of and from that period of time called Cold War mentality that runs through too this day, a period of time where enemies are made, manufactured, not just by those seeking political power or positions within , but by financial interest.
    Hands of time are not controlled by the masses, the masses have always adjusted to the times, it is a minority who control the clockworks.
    Lots of talk of 1 and 2% who own US but in reality it is they and another 28 % that manage the system and benefit the most from it.
    Even our VIPs’ move, and associate themselves with,not in step with the 70%, but the 28 %, the very systems they opportunisticly took advantage of and helped helped create, is their historical legacy.
    There was no difference in overall .mental direction of US being superior over rest of world and how they covered up the real US actions and players, than is what is ongoing today, a minority rules.
    Do the US populace as a common give a damn what games the 28% play, not realy, and in that respect there is no difference between they and peasants under any of modern nations, China, Russia included, or subjects in third world.
    It is profitable to play with the 28% group, so.etimes you win, sometimes you lose, the material loss is no more than monetary, hard assets of individuals hardly ever as the wordsmith have no physical assets In the game.
    The 70% group know not what the lost, they sure as he’ll never gain.

  11. Bernadette Evangelist
    August 8, 2018 at 10:52

    How can we support you in your petition to Twitter? I have posted this to my FB page and will try to post it to my Twitter page.

  12. August 8, 2018 at 10:05

    You’re right, Realist, USA is worse than the Soviets! Our press has become a mockery, much as the Russians made fun of Pravda In those times. Partially it’s worse with the trajectory of history especially through greater digital and technological controls.

    • August 11, 2018 at 08:41

      Thing is, the USA thinks there is still a Soviet Union with whom the US is in a new cold war, an idea as crazy as the US policy makers. There are no more Soviets in existence. Russia is a socialistic democracy (wish we were) and wants to live in peace with the rest of the world. Too bad the rotten leaders of the US won’t let them. That includes the first Bush, the Clintons, the second Bush, and Obama who re-signed the Patriot Act and the Authorization to Use Force, willy nilly as he then proceeded to do. There’s no Russian aggression, only US aggression. Ever think how the world would look without the US?

      • August 11, 2018 at 08:42

        P.S. Moscow and St. Petersburg are far better places to live in than anywhere in the US.

  13. August 8, 2018 at 09:21

    As was said in some mafia gangster movie you can’t fight the feds etc —–they have the power to print money & declare war.

  14. Known Unknown
    August 8, 2018 at 09:16

    The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in a memo to the Twitter board of directors questions its decision to suspend the account of one of its members without due process.

    Due process? Twitter is a private company and thankfully not encumbered by cumbersome and archaic concepts like “due process”. If Twitter users feel strongly about Van Buren’s account suspension they can log out in protest and go start their own communications monopoly. Simples!

    (It’s insane how quickly we let these devious tech giants become our masters. They not only own the means of communication we use every day, they own the very content of our communications, which they sell for a tidy profit and dutifully hand over to the boys from the spook agencies when they come knocking. We are well and truly f****d in so many ways.)

    • Realist
      August 8, 2018 at 09:26

      That’s why all legal monopolies, like the phone company, gas company, radio and television networks, etc, used to be REGULATED or broken up. These little Napoleons in digital media who’ve got the public by the short hairs have been ceded far too much power and prerogative by a totally hands-off federal government. The formal discarding of net neutrality a few weeks ago was another major step in the WRONG direction.

      • Maxwell Quest
        August 8, 2018 at 22:40

        I don’t believe the govt is using a “hands-off” approach with the high-tech giants. These corporations have a symbiotic relationship with the intelligence community, and thus work closely together.

        Just think of it, tons of personal data at their fingertips, with building upon building of supercomputers analyzing the public mind from one minute to the next. And office upon office staffed with MIT and Caltech geniuses writing software to predict within a 2% error of probability whether or not you’ll wear your brown or black loafers today. Who needs expensive and possibly double-crossing spies with such a powerful surveillance system?

        • Realist
          August 9, 2018 at 01:14

          It is “hands off” for the very reason you mention. There is no imposition of regulation by a popular government implementing the wishes or interests of the people. It is one private clique (Carlin’s “big club which you ain’t in”) of corporate-owned government, i.e., the oligarchs and their deep state tools, which makes sure the people keep their dirty mitts off all levers of power. You have no influence: it’s “hands off!!” to you. That’s what I meant by “hands off” government which never intercedes on behalf of the people. “Hands off” and “laissez faire” do not always mean the government allows popular forces or the market place to have their way.

          • Maxwell Quest
            August 9, 2018 at 10:38

            Silly me! This faithful follower actually thought you might have missed something. :-)

          • Maxwell Quest
            August 9, 2018 at 10:56

            There I go coaching the coach again. And I actually thought you might have missed something. Should have known better.

  15. August 8, 2018 at 08:56

    Interesting that Sen. Mark Warner’s leaked memo, referenced by Joe Tedesky, was circulating.among Democrats before this Twitter censorship of Jones and others. Classic “Problem-Reaction-Solution” Hegelian dialectic restatement to put in place government controls of Internet further? The Democrats are becoming the instrument of the Totalitarian Tiptoe of Orwellian control of the people.

    The situation is heating up, along with summer temperatures, while the persecution of Julian Assange is occurring simultaneously. They’re trying for a digital “Star Chamber” as England started under the Tudors and became abused under the Stuarts. Meanwhile, McCain-Cardin-Graham are trying to get the most severe sanctions on Russia bill introduced. USA is becoming like the Soviets before the crackup, and i have read articles making this analogy. All while most severe weather events are occurring.

    • Realist
      August 8, 2018 at 09:16

      We are becoming much worse than the Soviets, Jessika. At least the Soviets did not purport to tell the entire rest of the world that to trade with the United States was now entirely disallowed and any violators anywhere on the planet would be sanctioned. That is the gist of McInsane’s legacy to posterity, only substitute “Russia” for “United States.” The SOB would love to provoke WWIII even from his grave. This has escalated beyond all reason. It will either end in a nuclear Armageddon or a full-blown coup d’etat and martial law in this country. Soon, it would seem. Maybe McStain wants to see it before he croaks. And his play mate Lindsey will do his best to make it happen.

      • Realist
        August 8, 2018 at 16:01

        Oh joy! RT just announced that Washington has issued yet MORE sanctions against Russia. This time for “poisoning” the Skripals, sans evidence of course. We don’t need no steenkin’ evidence. We are Amerika. We can do anything. Look for more sanctions against Russia every time the Washington Nationals or the Washington Redskins lose a ball game.

    • Litchfield
      August 8, 2018 at 13:43

      What was the Mark Warner memo you mention?

      BTW, why does the software suddenly ask me to fill in my name and email? I don’t recall this occurring before.

      • Litchfield
        August 8, 2018 at 13:50

        OK, another casualty of the upside-down order of comments.
        The referenced item is *below* the reference to it.
        CN, please fix this.
        And why oh why must I fill in new info for every “reply”?

        • August 8, 2018 at 17:03

          I remember being taught that our country was special because we have a Bill of Rights. Our First Amendment, gauranteeing freedom of speech and the press was a foundation of our society. I do not hear any politicians standing up for this right. Did they all fail to understand how crucial defending the freedom of speech is?

          • Realist
            August 8, 2018 at 18:36

            “Did they all fail to understand how crucial defending the freedom of speech is?”

            Perhaps, but they surely see it as a threat to their grasp on power.

            The way the government is supposed to work is that we support these high-minded principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

            The way the system has come to work is that all politicians are in the game to maximize their own personal wealth and power, the public order and interests be damned.

  16. August 8, 2018 at 08:34

    I read this site more for the comments than the articles. The articles are generally good, but most effective when they energize the readers.

    “Progressives” and “liberals” often use the word fascism to create an emotional response to anything they oppose, but what is going on now is close to the dictionary definition of what it is, the marriage of government with corporations and powerful interests to govern the rest of us.

    I thank all of those who comment for enlightening this old guy by creating narratives that hang together. Not only that, I like them because they agree with me most of the time.

    • Realist
      August 8, 2018 at 09:06

      Herman, I get the impression that most of the people who post here are “old guys.” You can tell because the comments so often include remarks like “I’ve never seen things so extreme before in my long life.” Are there many 20-somethings or other millennials who post here? If not, is it because they have no basis upon which to compare how bad things have gotten from some reasonable base line in the receding past?

      • backwardsevolution
        August 9, 2018 at 02:23

        Realist – yep. “They have no basis upon which to compare how bad things have gotten from some reasonable base line in the receding past.” It’s something they almost have to learn on their own, not something that can be taught.
        When the baseline shifts from what they know, they will feel the loss then.

    • Tayo
      August 9, 2018 at 08:44

      As they say, “The proof is in the pudding”, and so are the comments in response to articles in Consortium News. Even though I almost never ever comment myself, I make it a habit to read the comments to important and urgent articles such as these. My “awakening” was brought about from sites such as Consortium News but the comments from so many informed, intelligent and – perhaps most importantly – brave individuals are indeed gems!

  17. michael
    August 8, 2018 at 08:22

    There is no spectrum of discourse, no debates allowed in America today. Now it just becomes who is the one (the CIA?) who officially sanctions what is allowed and what is ‘offensive’ speech (forget Free Speech altogether). When I was a kid, hurt by an ethnic slur, my parents said I had “small feelings” and that ‘sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt you’, to get over it (or be just as nasty in return).
    The old civics class of my youth was wrong. The view that everyone is allowed to say hurtful things, which reflect on them rather than their target, is now wrong. ‘Community standards’ has replaced the old nostrum:
    “I wholly disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it”– Voltaire’s biographer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall.
    As noted by others it is curious that hateful speech is silenced, but slaughtering millions of innocents by Americans is not only tolerated but cheered proudly. The psychopathy runs deep.

    • Realist
      August 8, 2018 at 08:59

      “Give us Barabbas!” seems to have eclipsed the quote by Voltaire.

      Fascists, turns out there’s one in every elected office these days.

  18. Joe Tedesky
    August 8, 2018 at 08:04

    A leaked memo supposedly authored by Senator Mark Warner might be a sign of things to come.

    All in effort to control the public, and blame Russia for any and all suspected breaches in our national security, while America burns. This manipulation of public trust, is just exactly what the American citizen doesn’t need. Instead of allowing information to flow in order to educate a well informed citizenry the strong arm of deception is at work more determined than ever to hide the uninformed from the truth. The diverse equilibrium of our society is being weighted down to only leave the citizen to rely on a government crafted versions of what reality it is the government wants its people to believe in. This can’t be the democracy we all grew up with learning about, as we are seemingly living through a government we thought we were protecting ourselves from.

    Read your history to how we got here, and there in find the key to how we get out of the mess. If that doesn’t work, well then at least you will be better educated to what went wrong. I guess?

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 8, 2018 at 08:30

      Read the above to see what we are losing.

    • Realist
      August 8, 2018 at 08:50

      What horse manure. These proposals simply use an exaggerated threat from Russia to control US, not protect us from any Russians or their dangerous ideas. We should implement measures to ensure that the authorities have definitive proof of exactly who we are and where we are located before we are allowed to communicate on-line? Makes it much too easy for the tyrants to round people up for expressing dissent or other forms of thought crime. Next we’ll need to register our radios and qualify for a license to use them. Warner must be a reincarnated Gestapo officer. They all seem to have ended up in American government.

      There is good reason to believe these maniacs are pushing this country to the edge of war with Russia just so they can impose martial law within our borders. It’s so much easier to get full compliance from the citizens that way than bothering with the niceties of constitutional rights.

      Who is the federal government trying to kid? The NSA and CIA put to shame any efforts made by the Russians to manipulate or sabotage other nations using the internet or other forms of digital information exchange. It’s called cyberwar and Obama threatened, even bragged about, using it against the Russians. For chrissake, it’s common knowledge that they (DARPA) already vacuum up EVERY bit of information you (and everyone else) ever sends or receives via electronic communication. They intercept and store it all–every keystroke typed or word spoken, from all over the friggin’ planet, and they have the means to manipulate and distort any of it. They have already been doing what Warner proposes since the Bushbaby administration. They just want to formalize their actions as lawful, hold a palpable threat over you, leave you impotent to use digital communication for holding the wrong opinions and even to lock you up if advantageous to them.

      Name any U.S. senator who is not a greater threat to our personal liberty and rights than the Russians whom they purport to be our blood enemies.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 8, 2018 at 09:17

      No matter how hard America tries to craft its own view of reality there is still a world out there which knows better.

      The U.S. is soon officially becoming an island. Keep it up DC boys & girls, because eventually no one will like us. Create any narrative you want, but the rest of earth’s inhabitants aren’t buying it. And we thought we were so smart.

    • Realist
      August 8, 2018 at 11:34

      Joe, I wish you had simply copy-pasted the most pertinent text from this article. It would have saved me the frustration of trying to describe and analyse its provocations in words that for some strange reason have ticked off the moderator to the point of censoring me in a debate on censorship twice… as of present count. But, by all means keep digging up this stuff. It underscores how the string pullers will only escalate their attempts to control the people. And thanks to whomever leaked the discussed memo. You win today’s Assange Award.

      • Realist
        August 8, 2018 at 11:45

        Censored three times now. For what? At least post a reason when you delete a comment. You are doing exactly what the article and all the readers here condemn. Do you not realise that? What about the article itself that Joe cites? It can be referenced, but not discussed? What’s the logic of that?

        • Realist
          August 8, 2018 at 15:23

          Well, I see that someone has decided to override the moderator who chose to delete my post several hours ago. At any rate the first post, the next two were mostly complaints about their deleting the first. Thanks for coming around. Some may not like what I said about the onerous authorities involved in this suppression of free speech, but it deserves protection just like the subjects of the opinion piece by VIPS.

          • Skip Scott
            August 12, 2018 at 08:01

            Perhaps CN’s moderating team has been infiltrated. Sam F has been having a hard time too. CN’s got some “splainin’ to do.”

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 8, 2018 at 13:58

        “So, how does he (Trump) make everyone happy while tearing down the parts of the world order he doesn’t like while using its remnants to shore up those he does?

        By backing every demand Israel makes on Iran, that’s how. He placates the neocons in D.C. and Tel Aviv this way. But, he’s not fooling anyone really.

        They are still convinced he’s not on their side and use independent means to put more pressure on Russia and him. They want control of the Congress after the mid-terms and need the narratives to hold through November.

        Case in point, the recent announcement that the British government will demand extradition of the mythical Russian agents who poisoned the Skripals earlier in the year. There’s no proof, but the British Deep State continues on, to distract from reality.

        The cries of treason for Donald Trump meeting with Vladimir Putin. The new sanctions bill introduced by Senator Lindsay Graham, said to throw everything at Putin to make him know the US is serious.

        Like Putin hasn’t gotten that idea yet?

        Trump is still being targeted for impeachment by shutting down dissent domestically (Alex Jones, Ron Paul) while he attempts to pursue a somewhat independent foreign policy.

        And that’s why he has to go nuclear in his use of sanctions because Trump, despite all appearances, is not interested in any more Americans dying overseas for the dreams of the Empire. And he knows that’s what will happen if any military option is on the table with Iran.

        There is little hope of the kind of makeover of US and European leadership Mr. Crooke feels is necessary to change the dynamic between the US and its geopolitical rivals. So, Trump will pursue this sanctions strategy to the bitter end.

        Because, Iran, like Venezuela, Russia and China will not negotiate with someone who has nothing to offer except the back of his hand.“ …..Tom Loungo

        I hope this helps. I wasn’t aware the censorship on this comment board is so restrictive. This got to change, or be clarified, as I will stop donating to this site… it’s that simple. I’ll hold out hope that the Consortium is having minor technical difficulties for now. Joe

        • Realist
          August 8, 2018 at 15:31

          The excerpt which really frosted my balls was this lengthy bit, Joe:
          (especially the part about locking in any users identity and location–which the NSA already knows!)

          “the draft policy paper—penned by Sen. Mark Warner and leaked by an unknown source to Axios—the paper starts out by noting that Russians have long spread disinformation, including when “the Soviets tried to spread ‘fake news’ denigrating Martin Luther King” (here he fails to mention that the Americans in charge at the time did the same). But NOW IT’S DIFFERENT, because technology.

          “Today’s tools seem almost built for Russian disinformation techniques,” Warner opines. And the ones to come, he assures us, will be even worse.

          Here’s how Warner is suggesting we deal:

          Mandatory location verification. The paper suggests forcing social media platforms to authenticate and disclose the geographic origin of all user accounts or posts.

          Mandatory identity verification: The paper suggests forcing social media and tech platforms to authenticate user identities and only allow “authentic” accounts (“inauthentic accounts not only pose threats to our democratic process…but undermine the integrity of digital markets”), with “failure to appropriately address inauthentic account activity” punishable as “a violation of both SEC disclosure rules and/or Section 5 of the [Federal Trade Commission] Act.”

          Bot labeling: Warner’s paper suggests forcing companies to somehow label bots or be penalized (no word from Warner on how this is remotely feasible)

          Define popular tech as “essential facilities.” These would be subject to all sorts of heightened rules and controls, says the paper, offering Google Maps as an example of the kinds of apps or platforms that might count. “The law would not mandate that a dominant provider offer the serve for free,” writes Warner. “Rather, it would be required to offer it on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” provided by the government.

          Other proposals include more disclosure requirements for online political speech, more spending to counter supposed cybersecurity threats, more funding for the Federal Trade Commission, a requirement that companies’ algorithms can be audited by the feds (and this data shared with universities and others), and a requirement of “interoperability between dominant platforms.”

          The paper also suggests making it a rule that tech platforms above a certain size must turn over internal data and processes to “independent public interest researchers” so they can identify potential “public health/addiction effects, anticompetitive behavior, radicalization,” scams, “user propagated misinformation,” and harassment—data that could be used to “inform actions by regulators or Congress.”

          And—of course— these include further revisions to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, recently amended by Congress to exclude protections for prostitution-related content. A revision to Section 230 could provide the ability for users to demand takedowns of certain sorts of content and hold platforms liable if they don’t abide, it says, while admitting that “attempting to distinguish between true disinformation and legitimate satire could prove difficult.”

          “The proposals in the paper are wide ranging and in some cases even politically impossible, and raise almost as many questions as they try to answer,” suggested Mathew Ingram, putting it very mildly at the Columbia Journalism Review.”

  19. mike k
    August 8, 2018 at 07:50

    Being deprived of the right to publicly communicate, is like having the oxygen sucked out of your world – to be replaced by corporate pollution and lies.

  20. Deschutes
    August 8, 2018 at 06:50

    The censorship is really getting out of hand, and its not only Twitter and Google who practice it, but even liberal or progressive website moderators as well. For example, the Youtube channel of The Real News Network aggressively censors comments under their videos–even when the comment falls within community guidelines. Youtube gives channel mods a ‘hide user’ function that is pretty sneaky: when a user is ‘hidden’, only that targeted user can see their comments in the comments thread–and nobody else. They’re tricked into thinking their comment is there for all to see. I think this type of stealth censorship is rather unethical. Many Youtube channels and news websites now see their comments section as a public relations and marketing tool to attract a preferred demographic and little else, least of all a place for the freedom of expression: they want comments that fit into their narrative, or the given video’s message. Posts which are critical or otherwise don’t fit into their marketing message are deleted or disappeared, regardless of whether the comment fits into ‘community guidelines’ or not. This is especially troubling when leftist or liberal news sites do this as they are supposed to uphold freedom of speech and expression.

    • Litchfield
      August 8, 2018 at 13:57

      My local newspaper does the same.
      Very annoying.
      Still getting Error Message and having to fill in info boxes to post a “reply.”
      also very annoying.

  21. Sam F
    August 8, 2018 at 06:43

    The only real hope is that a president will overreach his powers to seize the corrupted mass media and give them temporarily to the universities (with advance planning), purge Congress for campaign bribery, and demand amendments to the Constitution to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual contributions. Trump should take the opportunity to do this; otherwise it is unlikely before fascism is completely consolidated. He is the first president to see the problem. I avoid judging the chances.

  22. robbi gomes
    August 8, 2018 at 03:54

    George Carlin said long ago: “When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts …” Well folks, Google, Facebook, and Twitter
    fulfil that prediction.

  23. Realist
    August 8, 2018 at 02:46

    If the goddam “social media” is going to take on such sweeping importance in influencing the dissemination of information and the formulation of societal opinion, the stinking operation ought to be regulated by the government in such a way that everyone has equal access to it at all times and is subject to the same rules of due process, not subject to the whims and the biases of those who control the franchise because they had the loot to buy the majority of shares in the corporation. The same principle ought to be re-instituted with respect to over-the-air broadcasts in the form of the “fairness doctrine.” Otherwise ours is a system in which money does all the talking and no one else gets heard. Or, if the corporate ownership doesn’t like what you have to say they can instantly shut you up because they control the only megaphone.

    With the disappearance of the Fairness Doctrine, the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowing a handful of monopolies to control all modalities of information flow, the Supreme Court decision on Citizen’s United equating money to speech and striking down campaign spending limits imposed by the defunct McCain-Finegold Bill, conferring all the constitutional and legal prerogatives of person-hood to corporations (“corporations are people, my friends”) and the gradual nullification or disregard of all anti-monopoly regulations of big business by both the Congress and the Supreme Court, the country has been unmistakably yanked hard into fascism over the course of the past 30-odd years. The latest insult to a free and open society has been the elimination of Net Neutrality just this past year. (Did you notice that the day that decision took effect, most of the click-bait links on your tabs stops working? No great loss you might think, except to free speech.)

    The people are not now so much in danger of being dictated to by a despotic government as they are of being bullied and abused by a small cadre of ultra-rich self-selected tyrants who have come to run the government through its purchase. Those who have seized control include most prominently the media monopolists (amongst the other main culprits in the military industrial complex, the banks, high finance and the intelligence community), which makes it increasingly difficult for the nation’s citizens to discuss or even be apprised of the erosion of their rights under the constitution, let alone be able to mobilize and effectively do something about it, such as restore the regulations which prevented thieves from gaming the system and robbing both the government and the citizenry blind in broad daylight. This band of would-be Napoleons is, of course, also responsible for the almost entirely unopposed warmongering of the U.S. military across the globe. The people are purposefully denied truth and fed only lies via the propagandist media about all the wars, including the kinetic, economic and “hybrid” varieties waged across the globe, not for their interests or for any greater humanistic purpose, certainly not to protect, liberate, or democratize anyone, but solely to preclude any effective opposition to these conflicts, which will ultimately benefit only the war profiteers and the aggregators of raw power. Their operational strategy is to completely prevent any meaningful public discussion of the issues, either by keeping folks in the dark or shutting them up, then they don’t have to worry about winning the arguments because they won’t even happen.

    Those are the stakes involved here, and the VIPS are only asking for one teeny tiny small concession from the mass media monopoly. As Stephen F. Cohen said, Russiagate really ought to be called Intelgate (because it is basically a creation of the intelligence community). Well, this bullshit ought to be christened something like Newsgate, Infogate (for information), Comgate (for communications) or maybe Mediagate. I like the last one.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 8, 2018 at 06:23

      Realist – great piece! You hit all the salient points. Break up the media, healthcare, banking monopolies. Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine and Glass-Steagall. Strike down corporate “personhood”. A darn good start.

    • jean
      August 8, 2018 at 11:50

      Just had to see if Alex Jones still had a twitter account in good standing. He does and a healthy amount of my followers also follow him, 65, mostly anti-war people. I don’t know if they follow him to criticize him, to retweet him, or for some other reason.

      “we assess with high confidence…” the US government announced. Using the same statistics,
      do you know what has for your DNA to be related to someone’s DNA “with high confidence”? High confidence is 6th cousins.

      “we assess they could be your 6th cousins”

      • Realist
        August 8, 2018 at 14:20

        I think you’d on average share something like 1/128 or about 0.8% of your DNA sequences with a 6th cousin. Yet that is really a lot above the background of the general population. You ARE related in a direct line of decent with them (as you are in a vanishing way with every human) but it’s not much at that point. But, consider this, you also descend from thousands of ancestors with whom you share NO DNA sequences. All the common segments have been lost in the multitude of genetic crosses over the eons. Proud to be a descendant of Henry VIII or some such historical figure? You may, in fact, be his descendant but share absolutely no DNA with him.

        That’s the way that goes, but, making no allowances for infidelities and bastard births which can complicate matters, one could still, at least theoretically, quite accurately document familial relationships in deep time, if the written records still exist. I’ve traced my lineage back to the 1600’s from both paternal grandparents. 23&Me collects more robust data (more accurate in my case) and actually provides painted chromosome data to show exactly the sequences that match between you and your alleged relatives. The closest “stranger” related to me showed a whopping 6% identical sequences to mine and was deemed a “second cousin.” Ancestry, which has in its data file at least one direct first cousin of mine (should match 25%), does not show any quantitative data and certainly not any chromosome painting.

        Any evidence provided for intelligence estimates by the spy agencies is orders of magnitude flimsier than genetic data, but is quite often (as we have seen) more likely totally lacking or completely fabricated. Apples and armadillos when the expression “high confidence” is used in these two disparate disciplines. One is highly rigorous (genetics) the other just basically a sham trotted out to leverage a predetermined policy decision. Now, if they could honestly demonstrate Putin’s DNA on the Steele dossier or the Skripal atomizer, I might have to believe the leveled charges, assuming we could preclude any possible fraud.

        • TS
          August 8, 2018 at 16:21

          > making no allowances for infidelities and bastard births

          There is an old French saying about this: “It’s a wise child that knows its own grandfather”

    • dean1000
      August 11, 2018 at 13:30


      Really agree w/you about the Equal Time/fairness doctrine. If president Reagan could nix it by Executive Order, why can’t a succeeding president bring it back by EO?

      Free speech is a bit problematic in a country with 247,813,910 adults. If you are last in the phone lineup at C-SPAN, Don’t count on getting in. If every federal election district had a Radio, TV station and website, the last person in line at the election district phone lineup would be # 569,687 assuming every adult in the district was in line. If all the adults in an election district were married w/two kids, the last in line would be # 284,843. I’m not doing a census bureau apportionment. Just some raw numbers. Fortunately everyone doesn’t want to speak at the same time or on the same subjects.

      Free speech is possible in the election districts, especially for political candidates. They can debate and speechify w/o paying tribute to commercial TV stations which exist only because congress gave them a frequency monopoly. Who needs campaign contributions? The monied interests can take the hindmost.

      I’m not suggesting that free speech for incumbents and candidates satisfies the constitutional minimum for free speech. It is a place to start. Equal Time and the Fairness Doctrine are prerequisites. Between elections, guests like Peter Van Buren (or the VIPS) could appear on 1 or all 435 election district TV or radio stations, without the by-your-leave of a corporation, its owners or advertisers.
      Free speech radio and TV will not require a constitutional amendment. A majority vote of Congress can direct the FCC to start setting it up.

      The anti-free speech crowd and the professional pinch-pennies will piss and moan about the cost. The costs are really modest. If Congress taxed us directly, a family of four would pay less than $5 a month. A real bargain for free speech and honest elections. Every city that has cable TV has a TV channel reserved for city council meetings. Using those channels for free speech electoral forums would reduce the costs further. Reducing corporate welfare and military spending would be a better way to pay for it.

      BTW: People could use the Election District website as a homepage. It would recognize constitutional and legal rights. No hacking, no tracking. No sharing your personal information with unknown 3rd parties, online peeping Toms, or corporate voyeurs

  24. john wilson
    August 8, 2018 at 02:42

    There is a tacit idea that Twitter, Facebook, Google etc are some kind of sacred public space that is a free platform for public discourse. They are not because they are privately owned corporations in their own right and are being assimilated by the deep state acting like the mythical “Borg” in ‘Star trek’ . Posters here and well meaning people like Pilger should realize that appealing to the soul of MSM and large Internet platforms is a waste of time because they have no soul and like the Borg, are ever planning on how to assimilate us with the express view of shutting us down. Give it another five years or so and the internet will be completely under the control of the deep state(s) when you me and us will have been completely devoured!! Get used to it, we’re all screwed

    • mike k
      August 8, 2018 at 07:44

      It seems to be going that way John (sigh). But we have to fight it anyway, however we can. Fighting for an apparent losing cause is no bed of roses, but what else are you going to do? The isolation of Winston Smith in 1984 was symbolic of what all us lonely awakeners can expect.

    • Realist
      August 8, 2018 at 14:47

      Jimmy Dore made the pertinent point that the major social media (at least Facebook, You Tube, and Twitter) are de-facto monopolies like the phone company which is also a private corporation (also true for the limited number of mobile phone companies). The phone company is regulated because it is a monopoly, and even though it is private, it cannot constrain your freedom of speech. It cannot deny service to you on the basis of what you say or hear over its equipment. The sundry delivery services like UPS and FEDEX, though private companies, have no right to refuse delivery of your packages or envelopes based upon written content, any more than the U.S. Post Office could do so under the constitution.

      I believe that most so-called public accommodations are not allowed to deny you service or your constitutional rights just because they are private companies. At least the Warren Court so ruled, did they not? (Any barristers with an educated opinion?) A restaurant cannot control your conversation at the dinner table. As your employer, they may, but that is a totally different relationship.

      These social media are getting too big for their britches and need to be regulated to ensure equal protection for all under the constitution, in other words, the first amendment should be enforced against them as it is against the government and the aforementioned public accommodations. Of course, I suspect that the Deep State branch of the government, the branch that actually runs this insane asylum, would prefer to just eliminate the entire Bill of Rights. Things would be so much easier for them…

  25. David G
    August 8, 2018 at 00:45

    From the most recent Facebook purge of sorta-kinda-maybe Russianish accounts (which crippled a planned anti-racism demo as allegedly collateral damage), to the all-platform takedown of the odious Alex Jones, to this silencing of the estimable Van Buren, Horton, et al., …

    Taking these together, I detect a queasy resemblance to one of those scenes from fiction – such as the baptism montage in “The Godfather”, or the end of the “Rick & Morty” Atlantis/citadel episode – where the unrestrained violence we always felt was impending is finally cut loose. As in those fictional examples, the diverse victims probably never dreamed they were, in some sense, on the same side.

    One might say that no actual blood has been spilled in these acts of censorship, but deep in the roots of the World Tree, the Nidhogg dragon has perhaps shifted his bulk a little.

    • Joe Wallace
      August 9, 2018 at 15:57

      David G:

      Everybody knows (our intelligence agencies have proclaimed it with “high confidence”) that the populace should not be exposed to “sorta-kinda-maybe Russianish accounts,” lest they be stirred to subversion. Good citizens must remember that the government, for our own good, has a monopoly on Truth (official, certified government lies), and anything deviating from that Truth is “fake news.” See how easy it is to be a patriot?

      I love your characterization of the Facebook purge that keeps us safe from “sorta-kinda-maybe Russianish accounts.” Well done!

  26. August 7, 2018 at 23:03

    Obviously Mr. Van Buren must have violated the sacred “community standards” doctrine. You know, the “community standards” by which one can claim bringing about the willful deaths of a half a million Iraqi children is “worth it.” Or the “community standards” by which our Peace Prize winning former president could be bombing 7 Muslim nations as he left office all considered apparently quite “normal” and just fine according to “community standards.” Perhaps the referenced – “community standards” – refer to Hillary Clinton’s cackling laughter in response to the bayonet sodomizing of the Libyan head of state – leader of the nation with then the highest standard of living in Africa, and now a place with slave markets.

    Ah yes, the West’s “community standards” are an amazingly flexible, plastic and quite amoral sort of concept. Obviously justifying the murder of a half a million Iraqi children fails to count as “hate speech” in the West, nor does hearty laughter and jokes at mention of the overthrow and murder of a foreign leader -along with the destruction of his nation. Both also fail to violate Western – “community standards” – one can surmise. This tells of course tells one a great deal about the Orwellian meaning of the words “hate speech” and “standards” and who exactly is being referred to by the word “community” when the imperial West is busy crushing free speech that is critical of it’s war crimes.

    I should add that although I may not agree with it, or even find it offensive, the First Amendment rights to free speech of an Alex Jones are just as important to protect as Mr. Van Buren’s. The crushing of dissent by the fascist corporate state will not care one iota if one is “right” or “left” – “radical,” “liberal” or “conservative” as collectively they ban the words of all those who dare challenge the narratives of power, greed and war.

    • August 7, 2018 at 23:06

      Great missive Mr. Weglarz!

    • August 7, 2018 at 23:38

      Well said!

    • Jeff Harrison
      August 8, 2018 at 00:35

      Well said, Mr. Weglarz. I do have one objection. In the crushing of dissent by the fascist corporate state, it will care if you’re left or right. Fascism is pretty much by definition right wing.

      • backwardsevolution
        August 8, 2018 at 02:45

        Jeff Harrison – it doesn’t really matter what you call something, what “ism” you attach. If it’s totalitarian in its thinking, then it can come from the Right OR the Left (the Bolsheviks, Stalin).

        Right now we appear to have an upside down world where some on the Left are actually aligning with the corporate state. Some, not all, are cheering for globalism, for war, for censorship, for violence, for witch hunts. They are chomping at the bit for impeachment. They are showing more allegiance for illegals than their own countrymen, who are offing and overdosing themselves by the thousands, and all because there are no jobs left, the country has been gutted.

        From where I’m sitting, the Left’s Antifa and others like them are looking a lot more violent than the “deplorables” standing in line at a Trump rally. The Left are shutting down conservative speakers, trying to limit their speech. They’re shouting people down and if they don’t get their way, they start breaking windows.

        The Occupy movement was shut down rather quickly. People were thrown in jail and pepper-sprayed. But oddly, none of this is happening with Antifa. In most cases the police are just standing down and allowing this behavior. Why is that?

        • Realist
          August 8, 2018 at 03:37

          The conflict has totally degenerated into naked tribalism, pure partisanship. It is not even based in ideology any longer. Hence, “liberal” and “progressive” Democrats embrace fascistic tactics to “get” Trump in any way possible, though his stated positions during the campaign were closer to theirs than Hillary’s on many issues (most notably foreign policy). They have reflexively (certainly not thoughtfully) turned to a dark side that invites thermonuclear war with Russia just because they still cannot wrap their minds around the fact that Hillary lost when she was pretty much guaranteed to win by the media. They rally round her clearly bullshit excuse that Russia stole the election from her rather than the reality that she turned out to be an even more unpopular candidate than the man she hand-picked as her opponent! What’s really bothersome is the cheating that both Hillary and Obama conducted during the campaign, going so far as to tamper with primary results and spying on the Trump campaign using intelligence agency assets (this is much WORSE than Watergate: at least Nixon used freelancers to do the plumbing). The only “leftists” who can see this obvious truth post on this blog, and on ICH before the trolls inundated that site to the point where the public forum has been closed.

          As an objective ideologist, not a partisan, I must defend the “processes” outlined in the constitution and not individual people based on their group associations. If this means arguing that the unprincipled mob action to oust Trump from office is tantamount to a coup, so be it. Besides, most of the leadership, and back-benchers, in the Democratic Party no longer subscribe to its democratic philosophies as refined under FDR, JFK, LBJ, and JEC, probably the last “liberal” president we will ever have. I have no inclination to support the “Republican light” corporatist agenda of the DLC or the latter day DNC. They are NOT Democrats, they are corporatist sell-out poseurs of supposed progressives.

          The paleoconservatives in the Republican Party leadership have their own demons with which to wrestle. Trump should have unequivocally taught them that the public does not like their extreme corporatist agenda either. Yet the party leadership refutes him even while the rank and file voters embrace him expressly because of his platitudes, whether sincere or not. He is genuinely a Maverick, which used to be a winning self-appellation in Republican circles (ask McStain, Sarah or even Mittens), but that obviously gets no love today–not from the honchos.

          • backwardsevolution
            August 8, 2018 at 06:13

            Realist – yes, the two parties are joined at the hip. Ninety-something per cent of Democrats and ninety-something per cent of Republicans are beholden to corporate interests. Principles? Not a hope. Trump is trying to at least question this Russiagate nonsense, but he turns around for support from his own party and most of them look the other way. It’s a terrible situation; dangerous, even.

            If the public ever wake up from their indoctrination, hopefully a good man like Jimmy Carter will step forward again.

          • Eddycurrent
            August 9, 2018 at 18:44

            and what happens if normal Republican (not Trump) becomes president – with left pushing Russia case so hard, they’ll be even even more hardline – not a good situation – I have not idea about Pence, or if he could hold his own

          • Realist
            August 10, 2018 at 20:17

            I agree, Eddy, because Trump was the best of a bad lot, not the worst of a good or even mediocre lot. There have been no satisfactory presidential candidates offered by either party over the last several election cycles. The insiders give us who they want, not what we desire or need.

            Would the Deep State allow any president to deviate from its entrenched hard line on Russia? Fact of the matter seems to be that nothing Russia does in response to Washington’s many provocations seems to appease them. They plan on methodically escalating the crisis irrespective of actual Russian actions. Washington’s description of events is entirely a false matrix making any attempt at normalization of relations futile.

        • Jeff Harrison
          August 8, 2018 at 12:49

          It is interesting that you make the claim that Antifa is getting a free ride. In Portland, Antifa was the only one that the cops were hammering. But on to your prime (I think) point. No. You are wrong. While I would agree that extreme left and extreme right meet at totalitarianism, before you get to totalitarianism, different groups are going to get hammered by the state. I was quoting the author’s words for the front half of my statement. A fascist corporate state is by definition a right wing state. The other end of the spectrum – communism is your left wing state. In communism the state is the corporation. In fascism, the state and the corporation are actually different, albeit working in tandem.

          I will be one of the first to agree with your comment that the world seems upside down. We seem to have three things going on at once – a police state, which is neither communistic nor fascistic, a fascistic state where the state is the servant of corporate interests, and a proto-communistic state I’ll call it since the US has never had a socialistic state much less a communistic state.

      • Shane Mage
        August 8, 2018 at 10:25

        von Stauffenberg, Erwin Rommel, Hans Oster, Gisevius, Beck, Canaris, and most all the others who had plotted against Hitler from the mid-30’s until July 20 1944 were very conservative men, “right wingers.” Hitler’s buddy Stalin, though passing as a “Communist” the better to murder bolsheviks, was as alien to the traditional parliamentary “Left/Right” dualism as he himself was.

    • Tom Kath
      August 8, 2018 at 00:47

      Yes Gary, it is not the censorship of only the “agreeable”, “righteous” questioning of imposed narrative that we resent. Possibly the most famous precedent is the questioning of the official version of the holocaust ? Were people FORCED to believe that the earth is not flat?
      Even if someone is wrong, you cannot suppress their views without also suppressing the truth !

    • August 8, 2018 at 03:44

      Good points! Love your sarcasm!!! BTW: re: Alex Jones, attorney Farron Cousins on RT’s America’s Lawyer is saying that the corporations dropped Jones because they are trying to prevent being drawn into his 5 defamation law suits.

    • August 8, 2018 at 06:33

      Very well said.

    • Litchfield
      August 8, 2018 at 14:03

      Yes, very well put.
      The ACLU used to defend the right to all speech, even hate speech. Now they have been coopted by the ruling party and its “community standards” tool.

  27. August 7, 2018 at 22:57

    The establishment press and corporate mass media are running scared right now. They’re downright terrified b/c they know the genie is slowly wending its way out of the bottle, they recognize that much of the Western public — who have been lied to, abused, economically exploited, over worked, and humiliated for decades — are finally starting to recognize the developing lie, albeit many are still engulfed in the prevarications and deceit but many are beginning to wake up, to stir and ask pertinent questions, and many of them are irritated, to say the least.

    Ergo, it’s crucial the mass media and the slick corporate dissemblers control the narrative, period. They know more so than me and other critics and irritated scribes and social philosophers that the Wall Street/military empire presides over a precarious house of cards.

    Going after Alex Jones (and yes, he can be a lunatic on certain issues, and never seems to call out Israhell, but on a few things he was generally correct) was essentially the start, now it’s Van Buren, prosecuting Assange will be the next domino. It’s a simple display of muscle, not unlike the shylock on the street corner, the boss has to set an example in order to deter other deadbeats (truth tellers) that broken legs are the price to pay if you have any silly ideas about kicking the truth to the aggrieved people.

    What other thinkers, intellectuals, scholars, critics, websites, activists, etc. will be next on the chopping block? Next to face a massive smear campaign, to be the victims of blatant censorship, prosecuted for daring to speak and write the truth, be browbeaten as conspiracy loons, anti-Semites, or un-American elitists: Noam Chomsky? Joe Lauria? Paul Craig Roberts? Diana Johnstone? Ajamu Baraka? James Petras? Alison Weir? Ray McGovern? Finian Cunningham? Andre Vltchek? Michael Parenti? Chris Hedges? Caitlin Johnstone? Jeff Blankfort? Pilger? Pepe Escobar? Glen Ford?

    • Litchfield
      August 8, 2018 at 14:08

      This is an honor roll of journalists whose writing I follow. Also, Thierry Meyssan and Martin Sieff.
      Don’t forget what happened to Michael Hastings and other crusading journalists in our recent past who have challenged dominant narratives and powerful people. And Paul Wellstone, who was almost alone in challenging the Iraq WMD fairy tale.

    • August 8, 2018 at 17:10

      Drew Hunkins – “The establishment press and corporate mass media are running scared right now.” – “they recognize that much of the Western public — who have been lied to, abused, economically exploited, over worked, and humiliated for decades — are finally starting to recognize the developing lie” – “the Wall Street/military empire presides over a precarious house of cards.”

      – exactly. These are moves out of “fear” not strength. Fear of an educated, informed, and seriously pissed of populace. Freely available information on the web allows both self-education, and the sharing of important information very rapidly these days. Today as quickly as the latest establishment lie re: Syria was being promoted in the NYT’s or WAPO or MSNBC, the progressive web sites were reporting the work of a Vanessa Beeley or an Eva Bartlett on the ground challenging the latest propaganda line. This state of affairs obviously will not do for our betters if they hope to continue their endless wars and endless exploitation of the majority of humanity. It certainly won’t end with Alex Jones and Van Buren.

      By the way, that’s a great reading list you put out there. I’m not familiar with Jeff Blankfort so I’ll have to check his work out. Thanks.

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