Facebook Censorship of Alternative Media ‘Just the Beginning,’ Warns Top Neocon Insider

At a Berlin security conference, hardline neocon Jamie Fly appeared to claim some credit for the recent coordinated purge of alternative media, report Max Blumenthal and Jeb Sprague.

By Max Blumenthal and Jeb Sprague
Gray Zone Project

This October, Facebook and Twitter deleted the accounts of hundreds of users, including many alternative media outlets maintained by American users. Among those wiped out in the coordinated purge were popular sites that scrutinized police brutality and U.S. interventionism, like The Free Thought Project, Anti-Media, and Cop Block, along with the pages of journalists like Rachel Blevins.

Facebook claimed that these pages had “broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.” However, sites like The Free Thought Project were verified by Facebook and widely recognized as legitimate sources of news and opinion. John Vibes, an independent reporter who contributed to Free Thought, accused Facebook of “favoring mainstream sources and silencing alternative voices.”

In comments published here for the first time, a neoconservative Washington insider has apparently claimed a degree of credit for the recent purge — and promised more takedowns in the near future.

Russia, China, and other foreign states take advantage of our open political system,” remarked Jamie Fly, a senior fellow and director of the Asia program at the influential think tank the German Marshall Fund, which is funded by the U.S. government and NATO. “They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning.”

Fly went on to complain that “all you need is an email” to set up a Facebook or Twitter account, lamenting the sites’ accessibility to members of the general public. He predicted a long struggle on a global scale to fix the situation, and pointed out that to do so would require constant vigilance.

Fly made these stunning comments to Jeb Sprague, who is a visiting faculty in sociology at the University of California-Santa Barbara and co-author of this article. The two spoke during a lunch break at a conference on Asian security organized by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 15 and 16.

The remarks by Fly — “we are just starting to push back” — seemed to confirm the worst fears of the alternative online media community. If he was to be believed, the latest purge was motivated by politics, not spam prevention, and was driven by powerful interests hostile to dissident views, particularly where American state violence is concerned.

Fly: A Rising Neocon

Fly: Neocon rising.

Fly is an influential foreign policy hardliner who has spent the last year lobbying for the censorship of “fringe views” on social media. Over the years, he has advocated for a military assault on Iran, a regime change war on Syria, and hiking military spending to unprecedented levels. He is the embodiment of a neoconservative cadre.

Like so many second-generation neocons, Fly entered government by burrowing into mid-level positions in George W. Bush’s National Security Council and Department of Defense.

In 2009, he was appointed director of the Foreign Policy Initiative(FPI), a rebranded version of Bill Kristol’s Project for a New American Century, or PNAC. The latter outfit was an umbrella group of neoconservative activists that first made the case for an invasion of Iraq as part of a wider project of regime change in countries that resisted Washington’s sphere of influence.

By 2011, Fly was advancing the next phase in PNAC’s blueprint by clamoring for military strikes on Iran. “More diplomacy is not an adequate response,” he argued. A year later, Fly urged the US to “expand its list of targets beyond the [Iranian] nuclear program to key command and control elements of the Republican Guard and the intelligence ministry, and facilities associated with other key government officials.”

Fly soon found his way into the senate office of Marco Rubio, a neoconservative pet project, assuming a role as his top foreign policy advisor. Amongst other interventionist initiatives, Rubio has taken the lead in promoting harsh economic sanctions targeting Venezuela, even advocating for a U.S. military assault on the country. When Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign floundered amid a mass revolt of the Republican Party’s middle American base against the party establishment, Fly was forced to cast about for new opportunities.

He found them in the paranoid atmosphere of Russiagate that formed soon after Donald Trump’s shock election victory.

PropOrNot Provides the Spark

A journalistic insider’s account of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Shattered, revealed that “in the days after the election, Hillary declined to take responsibility for her own loss.” Her top advisers were summoned the following day, according to the book, “to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up … Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.”

Post: Ran with unverified story. (Photo credit: Daniel X. O’Neil)

Less than three weeks after Clinton’s defeat, The Washington Post’s Craig Timberg published a dubiously sourced report headlined, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news.’” The article hyped up a McCarthyite effort by a shadowy, anonymously run organization called PropOrNot to blacklist some 200 American media outlets as Russian “online propaganda.”

The alternative media outfits on the PropOrNot blacklist included some of those recently purged by Facebook and Twitter, such as The Free Thought Project and Anti-Media. Among the criteria PropOrNot identified as signs of Russian propaganda were: “Support for policies like Brexit, and the breakup of the EU and Eurozone” and “Opposition to Ukrainian resistance to Russia and Syrian resistance to Assad.” PropOrNot called for “formal investigations by the U.S. government” into the outlets it had blacklisted.

According to Timberg, who uncritically promoted the media suppression initiative, Propornot was established by “a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.” Timberg quoted a figure associated with the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, Andrew Weisburd, and cited a report he wrote with his colleague, Clint Watts, on Russian meddling.

Timberg’s piece on PropOrNot was promoted widely by former top Clinton staffers and celebrated by ex-Obama White House aide Dan Pfeiffer as “the biggest story in the world.” But after a wave of stinging criticism, including in the pages of The New Yorker, the article was amended with an editor’s note stating, “The [Washington] Post… does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet.”

PropOrNot had been seemingly exposed as a McCarthyite sham, but the concept behind it — exposing online American media outlets as vehicles for Kremlin “active measures” — continued to flourish.

Taxpayers Pay for Russian Bot Tracker

By August, a new, and seemingly related initiative appeared out of the blue, this time with backing from a bipartisan coalition of Democratic foreign policy hands and neocon Never Trumpers in Washington. Called the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), the outfit aimed to expose how supposed Russian Twitter bots were infecting American political discourse with divisive narratives.

It featured a daily “Hamilton 68” online dashboard that highlighted the supposed bot activity with easily digestible charts. Conveniently, the site avoided naming any of the digital Kremlin influence accounts it claimed to be tracking. The initiative was immediately endorsed by John Podesta, the founder of the Democratic Party think tank the Center for American Progress, and former chief of staff of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Julia Ioffe, the Atlantic’s chief Russia-gate correspondent, promoted the bot tracker as “a very cool tool.”Unlike PropOrNot, the ASD was sponsored by one of the most respected think tanks in Washington, the German Marshall Fund, which had been founded in 1972 to nurture the special relationship between the U.S. and what was then West Germany.

Weisburd: Brains behind Dashboard.

The German Marshall Fund is substantially funded by Western governments, and largely reflects their foreign-policy interests. Its top two financial sponsors, at more than $1 million per year each, are the U.S. government’s soft-power arm the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt). The U.S. State Department also provides more than half a million dollars per year, as do the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the foreign affairs ministries of Sweden and Norway. It likewise receives at least a quarter of a million dollars per year from NATO.

Though the German Marshall Fund did not name the donors that specifically sponsored its Alliance for Securing Democracy initiative, it hosts a who’s who of bipartisan national-security hardliners on the ASD’s advisory council, providing the endeavor with the patina of credibility. They range from neocon movement icon Bill Kristol to former Clinton foreign policy advisor Jake Sullivan and ex-CIA director Michael Morell.

Jamie Fly, a German Marshall Fund fellow and Asia specialist, emerged as one of the most prolific promoters of the new Russian bot tracker in the media. Together with Laura Rosenberger, a former foreign policy aide to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, Fly appeared in a series of interviews and co-authored several op-eds emphasizing the need for a massive social media crackdown.

During a March 2018 interview on C-Span, Fly complained that “Russian accounts” were “trying to promote certain messages, amplify certain content, raise fringe views, pit Americans against each other, and we need to deal with this ongoing problem and find ways through the government, through tech companies, through broader society to tackle this issue.”

Yet few of the sites on PropOrNot’s blacklist, and none of the alternative sites that were erased in the recent Facebook purge that Fly and his colleagues take apparent credit for, were Russian accounts. Perhaps the only infraction they could have been accused of was publishing views that Fly and his cohorts saw as “fringe.”

What’s more, the ASD has been forced to admit that the mass of Twitter accounts it initially identified as “Russian bots” were not necessarily bots — and may not have been Russian either.

‘Not Convinced on This Bot thing’

A November 2017 investigation by Max Blumenthal found that the ASD’s Hamilton 68 dashboard was the creation of “a collection of cranks, counter-terror retreads, online harassers and paranoiacs operating with support from some of the most prominent figures operating within the American national security apparatus.”

These figures included the same George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security fellows — Andrew Weisburd and Clint Watts — that were cited as experts in the Washington Post’s article promoting PropOrNot.

Weisburd, who has been described as one of the brains behind the Hamilton 68 dashboard, once maintained a one-man, anti-Palestinian web monitoring initiative that specialized in doxxing left-wing activists, Muslims and anyone he considered “anti-American.” More recently, he has taken to Twitter to spout off murderous and homophobic fantasies about Glenn Greenwald, the editor of The Intercept — a publication the ASD flagged without explanation as a vehicle for Russian influence operations.

Watts, for his part, has testified before Congress on several occasions to call on the government to “quell information rebellions” with censorious measures including “nutritional labels” for online media. He has received fawning publicity from corporate media and been rewarded with a contributor role for NBC on the basis of his supposed expertise in ferreting out Russian disinformation.

However, under questioning during a public event by Grayzone contributor Ilias Stathatos, Watts admitted that substantial parts of his testimony were false, and refused to provide evidence to support some of his most colorful claims about malicious Russian bot activity.

In a separate interview with Buzzfeed, Watts appeared to completely disown the Hamilton 68 bot tracker as a legitimate tool. “I’m not convinced on this bot thing,” Watts confessed. He even called the narrative that he helped manufacture “overdone,” and admitted that the accounts Hamilton 68 tracked were not necessarily directed by Russian intelligence actors.

We don’t even think they’re all commanded in Russia — at all. We think some of them are legitimately passionate people that are just really into promoting Russia,” Watts conceded.

But these stunning admissions did little to slow the momentum of the coming purge.

Enter the Atlantic Council

In his conversation with Sprague, the German Marshall Fund’s Fly stated that he was working with the Atlantic Council in the campaign to purge alternative media from social media platforms like Facebook.

The Atlantic Council is another Washington-based think tank that serves as a gathering point for neoconservatives and liberal interventionists pushing military aggression around the globe. It is funded by NATO and repressive, US-allied governments including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Turkey, as well as by Ukrainian oligarchs like Victor Pynchuk.

This May, Facebook announced a partnership with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) to “identify, expose, and explain disinformation during elections around the world.”

The Atlantic Council’s DFRLab is notorious for its zealous conflation of legitimate online dissent with illicit Russian activity, embracing the same tactics as PropOrNot and the ASD.

Ben Nimmo, a DFRLab fellow who has built his reputation on flushing out online Kremlin influence networks, embarked on an embarrassing witch hunt this year that saw him misidentify several living, breathing individuals as Russian bots or Kremlin “influence accounts.” Nimmo’s victims included Mariam Susli, a well-known Syrian-Australian social media personality, the famed Ukrainian concert pianist Valentina Lisitsa, and a British pensioner named Ian Shilling.

Shilling: ‘I am not a bot.”

In an interview with Sky News, Shilling delivered a memorable tirade against his accusers. “I have no Kremlin contacts whatsoever; I do not know any Russians, I have no contact with the Russian government or anything to do with them,” he exclaimed. “I am an ordinary British citizen who happens to do research on the current neocon wars which are going on in Syria at this very moment.”

With the latest Facebook and Twitter purges, ordinary citizens like Shilling are being targeted in the open, and without apology. The mass deletions of alternative media accounts illustrate how national security hardliners from the German Marshall Fund and Atlantic Council (and whoever was behind PropOrNot) have instrumentalized the manufactured panic around Russian interference to generate public support for a wider campaign of media censorship.

In his conversation in Berlin with Sprague, Fly noted with apparent approval that, “Trump is now pointing to Chinese interference in the 2018 election.” As the mantra of foreign interference expands to a new adversarial power, the clampdown on voices of dissent in online media is almost certain to intensify.

As Fly promised, “This is just the beginning.”

This article originally appeared on the Grayzoneproject.com

Jeb Sprague is a visiting faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of “Globalizing the Caribbean: Political economy, social change, and the transnational capitalist class” (Temple University Press, 2019), “Paramilitarism and the assault on democracy in Haiti” (Monthly Review Press, 2012), and is the editor of “Globalization and transnational capitalism in Asia and Oceania” (Routledge, 2016). He is a co-founder of the Network for the Critical Studies of Global Capitalism.

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the PartyGoliath: Life and Loathing in Greater IsraelThe Fifty One Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, and The Management of Savagery, which will be published later this year by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie and the forthcoming Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

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107 comments for “Facebook Censorship of Alternative Media ‘Just the Beginning,’ Warns Top Neocon Insider

  1. gzorp
    November 3, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    German Marshall Fund Hmmmm… wasnt that money looted out of europe in ww2 and recycled through Harvard and Yale to fund Nazi Petroleum Radio in the late 1940’s ?

    • jigsawjuggler
      November 7, 2018 at 7:33 am

      Heehee.. “Nazi Petroleum Radio”.. would make a cool band name..

  2. October 31, 2018 at 1:45 am

    Another question is how do these companies that supposedly didn’t make a profit for a long time (FB, Amazon) continue to stay afloat (back then)? Were there investments from the government for access or control of supply chains in the future?

    What of investors such as In-Q-Tel/US Intelligence Agencies Venture Capital Arm Investing In Tech?

    “It’s actually really hard to tell where the social media berms begin and where the deep state ends. They’re practically one in the same and this has been true from the start. A lot of these big social media companies ended up getting seed money from the intelligence community through In-Q-Tel the investment arm of the US intelligence community.

    http://globalproject.is/forum/showthread.php?t=3245&highlight=government+investor

  3. O Society
    October 28, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Glen Greenwald on the marriage between the Democratic party and the neoconservatives exemplified by Fly and his Alliance for Securing Hegemony:

    https://theintercept.com/2017/07/17/with-new-d-c-policy-group-dems-continue-to-rehabilitate-and-unify-with-bush-era-neocons/

  4. October 28, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Social media is limiting our freedom. Measures should be taken…

  5. Peter
    October 27, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Please see also:

    Who’s Behind PropOrNot’s Blacklist of News Websites
    http://wallstreetonparade.com/2016/12/whos-behind-propornots-blacklist-of-news-websites/

  6. mike k
    October 27, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Without truth there is no freedom. Most are enslaved to the manipulated narratives of their culture. Those who seek truth and freedom must work to penetrate several layers of falsehood and illusion.

    • Maxwell Quest
      October 27, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Well said, mike! Been there, done that.

  7. Zhu
    October 27, 2018 at 6:29 am

    “Alliance for Securing Democracy” sounds like one of those outfits that overthrow legit governments install Nazis.

  8. JWalters
    October 26, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    “(and whoever was behind PropOrNot)”

    I think we know who was behind PropOrNot, and who benefits from silencing the media. A lot of information is out there, e.g. http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

    Jill Stein recently talked about the resistance to these people to CN.
    “Jill Stein Talks to Consortium News: ‘We Are Being Robbed Blind by the War Profiteers’”
    https://consortiumnews.com/2018/10/23/cn-video-jill-stein-talks-to-consortium-news-we-are-being-robbed-blind-by-the-war-profiteers/

  9. JWalters
    October 26, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Studies have shown that organizations get more useful feedback when anonymity is allowed. The reason this occurs is obvious. There is a fuller spectrum of feedback. It makes it harder for people in central positions to intimidate the feedback. The MSM is already under lockdown, so websites are next, even the comment sections (or especially the comment sections).

  10. DH Fabian
    October 26, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    That idea really doesn’t make sense, assuming you’re referring to the media marketed to (middle class) liberals. Those in power are well-educated about US history. What they fear most is a large People’s push-back, such as the country saw in the 1910s, 1930s, 1960s. In those eras, Those were times when the poor and middle class, workers and the jobless, united (at least for a time), hit the streets, and MADE those on government listen. By the1970s, the government’s strategy became one of long-term “divide and conquer.” What every US politician knows: Rising up is futile for the poor today. Of the more fortunate, few can risk losing their jobs by standing up and pushing back. The right wings of both parties sit back easy.

    • October 31, 2018 at 1:35 am

      This goes beyond the vacuum of American politics. This is globalization. That push-back by people… it’s happening… against one another. Now we have a huge narrative that ICE and borders are “bad”. America is “bad”. Globalists are the ones “sitting back easy” as they fund all this chaos to bring about order… globally.

  11. Dunderhead
    October 26, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    First off it just has to be said, Obviously this amount of censorship is coming down because things are going badly for the Empire. Of course there has been generational propaganda that is part of the American body politic this goes back to America’s very beginnings, there are many stories and many points of view, all sides generally have there points as well as propaganda, on the other hand our republic has long since turned into an empire and our internal inconsistencies plus Imperial overreach not to mention some pretty bad bets regarding allies particularly Saudi Arabia and Israel, these were mind bogglingly self-fulfilling recipes for disaster but I digress, what the United States has wrought on the rest of the world, the economic and cultural destruction our government has perpetrated around the world will be visited upon the people of the United States in the west in general there is very little difference between our security services at this point and criminals/Terrorists they supposedly protect us from it will be interesting to see the west’s response to this internal colonialism.
    It’s tough when the B List spooks like fly get to screw with your businesses not to mention free-speech, I guess you smart folks should really think about continuing to explore different media options,notice that these people are making themselves irrelevant, by banning dissension they are actually pushing innovation, alternative media is on the rise and that trend is not going to stop anytime soon, it and the various spins/points of view from both the right and left our now themselves a commodity, if the Internet moguls don’t figure this out soon, the inter-web is going to seem a lot like television soon, i.e. no one watches it.
    I personally predict a long steady decline of the Pax Americana followed by a multipolar stability, either that or we’ll all be dead from nuclear war one of those, one can only hope that the average neocon from either party wishes to be able to walk on a beach sometime next week or next year, opposed to spending the rest of their lives in a bunker waiting out the radiation, we can only hope.

    Oddly enough, the sensors have decided to jump back onto me again and this is the third time I am posting this comment I wonder which particular part in my post gives them the most offense?

    • DH Fabian
      October 26, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      Those in power really aren’t concerned. How many people here could risk losing their jobs by “rising up,” knowing there’s nothing to fall back on? Years of work went into successfully pitting us against each other by class and race, ensuring that this time (unlike the 1930s, 1960s) there can be no People’s push-back. Over 20 years into this country’s war on the poor, we knew the Obama years represented our last chance to turn things around and repair those divisions. There was virtually no public interest in doing that.

      • October 31, 2018 at 1:37 am

        How many people know how to live off the land, fish, hunt, grow food, make a fire… and who can even afford land to do all this on today? Slaves to the system… tempted by convenience.

  12. October 26, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve just received the following Paul Craig’s newsletter

    ” Dear Readers:

    It is all over the internet and international media that Twitter has suspended my account.

    This is not the case.

    I do not use social media.

    I discovered that a Twitter account was operating in my name.

    I requested that the account be taken down.

    I have no recollection of giving anyone permission to operate a Twitter account in my name. I am still extremely busy trying to help family relatives impacted by Hurricane Michael and could only quickly look at the Twitter postings. It seemed to be mainly innocuous, consisting of links or quotes from my posted columns.

    However, there were other things, such as appeals that money be sent to Alex Jones InfoWars and other things. I have no objection to Alex Jones. However, my webmaster and I were concerned that things could be posted that would be dangerous for me, such as libel, death threats to others, and so forth.

    To repeat, the account was closed at my request.

    To repeat, I do not use social media.

    Paul Craig Roberts

  13. Robert Edwards
    October 26, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I would like to thank you all for taking the time to comment, as Margaret Meade said “it takes only a handful of dedicate people……..” There are so many good comments and most spot on that it would take me all day to reply. Please keep commenting as the world needs people like you to turn the coin…

  14. October 26, 2018 at 2:47 am

    KPFA-Berkeley’s Upfront host Brian Edwards-Tiekert featured the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) during morning drive time. Uncritically. He referred listeners to the website “to do their own reaearch.”

    • DH Fabian
      October 26, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      The point that Democrats miss entirely: Technically, we have a democracy in the sense that most can vote, and we can usually pick from between two or more candidates for each office. What we utterly lack is a representative form of government. The rich have full representation, the middle class have as much as they’re willing to demand, and the poor have no representation whatsoever.

  15. October 26, 2018 at 2:23 am
  16. Curious
    October 26, 2018 at 2:03 am

    I think it’s also interesting that Zuckerberg appeared before Congress in April and was subjected to questions of how FB would find and purge false news (anything Russian or far right Ukrainians as an example) and also faced Twiterized criticism from the executive branch complaining about the censorship and the suppression of ‘conservative voices’ on Google, Twitter and FB.

    In my opinion, in order to placate the criticisms he heard in April of a possible bias against conservative positions it took him only one month , in May, to add The Atlantic Council and use their software and IA to route out alternative voices. This solution may have made some senators happy but it was a terrible cya compromise to include The Atlantic Council in any decision making or the deletion of information and news on FB. It was all about Washington appeasement and had nothing to do with the veracity of the now silenced voices.

    It should be also noted that the defense of CN reporting they have used FB for seven years really doesn’t speak to the reality that FB has changed considerably within the last seven years. As the article reports, I’m sure this is just the beginning of a “clampdown on voices of dissent in online media”. A lot of serious people and articles of real, important news will not make its way to the many (foolish ones) who use FB as a news source. Many politicians have wanted this censorship for years, and now they have their wish, since Zuckerberg values money over integrity.

  17. October 26, 2018 at 12:55 am

    This piece has suggested to me one deux questions :

    1 why Americans fear the use of Fascism in place of Conservative or Neo conservative ? where is the difference between American Conservatives and Neo Conservatives ?

    2- Is really a danger for alternative media the Social media censorship ?

    • O Society
      October 26, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      First, be aware the majority of Americans have no idea what the term “Fascism” actually means. To most, it is just an all-purpose slur meant to be derogatory, similar to the term “asshole” or something like this. A mean person.

      https://opensociet.org/2018/06/27/what-is-fascism/

      Second, Donald Trump has no ideology except for “Me.” Therefore, he cannot be an ideologue, such as a Nazi or fascist, at least not intentionally. He is not organized or disciplined enough to enact or believe in any sort of ideology. He just has a set of attitudes. Like a list of people he resents and wants revenge upon. That’s about as deep as it gets philosophically. Seriously. Can you imagine Donald Trump reading a book about WWII (or anything else)? No. No you can’t. Perhaps the best term for Trump is demagogue, though it is doubtful he knows what this word means either.

      https://opensociet.org/2018/10/20/how-fascism-works-the-politics-of-us-and-them-and-its-normalization/

      Third, what many of us call Neoliberal Fascism or Creeping Fascism also could be called “Oligarchy” or “Plutocracy” since it is at the behest of the filthy rich class. Authoritarianism. White Nationalism. Many descriptors, again, most of which the average American could not define for you.

      https://opensociet.org/2018/10/20/billionaire-funded-fascism-is-rising-in-america/

    • O Society
      October 26, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      On the other hand, Neoconservatism is generally used as a justification for empire and interventionist foreign policy. Neoconservatives delude themselves into believing the world would be perfect if only America was in charge of everything and everyone did as Americans do. So they get “world peace” out of what everyone else sees as never-ending war.

      https://opensociet.org/2018/09/30/the-pax-americana-utopia-a-liberal-world-order-by-robert-kagan/

      Neoconservatives are typically Zionists, meaning they support Israel’s sovereignty as a Jewish state. This is basically the opposite of the historical Nazi/ Fascist right-wing extremist view of Jews (and Communists) as being the root of all the world’s problems.

      https://opensociet.org/2018/09/11/what-is-neoconservatism-in-a-nutshell/

      Donald Trump espouses the “conservative” views he sees from watching TV on Fox News. However, he doesn’t really have his own philosophy. Instead, he rewards the Republican party because they elected him. So he says what he thinks they (his base) want to hear. He also rewards Israel because they (Adelson, Netanyahoo, etc) give him, and especially his daughter and son-in-law (Kushner) lots of money and favors. It’s all transactional for Trump rather than his being a neoconservative (or a conservative for that matter). He’s just in it for “what can you do for me?”

    • AR
      October 26, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      Couple things most need to recognize in this situation are:

      1.) Max Blumenthal is a full-blown and well-recognized smear artist, son of Sydney Blumenthal, who corresponded with Hillary Clinton during her worse moments, when she’d celebrated our deepest and most corrupt connections with Saudi Arabia, and certain actions in Libya. Sydney has been known in Journalist circles as ‘Syd Vicious’ for this behavior, and most likely propagated the birther lie during Hillary’s run against Obama (see Sheryl Attkison’s great book ‘The Smear’)- it had gotten so bad that when Obama gave in and appointed Hillary, Obama forbade she work with Sydney while a part of his cabinet. In Hillary’s wikileaks emails, it shows that she and Sydney have worked with Max Blumenthal to write articles covering her tracks, that Max did so knowingly with his father, and she congratulated him excitedly to his father during their correspondence.So anything here is likely to be provocative and partisan at best.

      2.) Clearly, if one looks at the overall data from the censorship and deplatforming movement,it happens on both sides. I don’t like defining myself on the political spectrum, usually because its better to deal by issue, but overall on paper i still fall left of center. That being said, since the 80s, when media/art censorship was almost exclusively done by the neoconservative movement, who’s primary goal it is to seek out and destroy an evil bad guy/group, since the Clintons, the liberals have grown increasingly like them, until now, w the emerging igeneration and progressive left, where they have dominated the censorship and deplatforming movement, I am sad to say. Those who are true defenders of the humanities and freedom of discourse on the left need to shoulder this and address it on their side, within their own groups, not just point the finger where it emerges as it always has with the christian right, where it is unlikely to move, but instead to die off as culture becomes more secular. Culture will regress and become more tribal if the left does so was well, and lately, the have become more liberal in their attitudes toward government, but much more conservative, neoconservative even, i would say, toward their own culture.

      3.) Sites like this one, Quilette, and many individual voices/podcasts/publications have become pretty outspoken on this issue. Although he is part of the more fringe libertarian right, with fringe being an understatement (i think many listened for entertainment over the years, honestly, like coast to coast am), Alex Jones has mainly gained support and popularity from his deplatforming, according to a number of sources. Now this may have to do with his material- not sure if that would work for everyone. But I do think as long as so many voices are loud and outspoken about such things, these sites have a pretty strong check on them, even if the overall effect may take years to see, as the events pile on, and new platforms emerge. No matter what you think of them, people like Jordan Peterson (actually the most listened to intellectual in history at this point) being so vocal on these issues has kept the platforms from having the power they’d like to have- so if i had to bet, articles like these popping up around election time are just ways to try and create clickbait to throw the election/opinions one way or the other. The right likes to take firm, brutally honest (to the left:rude) stances on class/economics/social identity because they know people on the left will get ‘outraged’ about it, esp on social media, which the newspapers will then report as ‘people on twitter.’ Then the right just confirms what they already believe- the left is a bunch of spineless, whiny imbeciles who cant handle anything less than utopia where the poor are rich and the rich are poor. Meanwhile, in the center, sorry to say- but in a time of chaos, disorder- folks are probably going to choose the folks who seems more coherent, cohesive, realistic. It’s a bleak picture, but it doesn’t have to be if the left can quit being so socially conservative, pointing fingers at everyone else, including its own, and get back to being what it’s good at, liberal.

    • DH Fabian
      October 26, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      Ironically, what we consider “alternative” media today has leaned well to the capitalist right — especially on core socioeconomic issues, while maintaining fear campaigns against Russia and Israel. Regardless, the US has slowly been implementing fascism (by definition) for years, from the bottom up. As a capitalist/corporate state, ours is a class-based form of fascism. We already stripped the US poor (the Democrats’ scapegoats of choice) of a list of fundamental civil and human rights.That’s fascism, and it trickles up.

    • Zhu
      October 27, 2018 at 6:35 am

      “why Americans fear the use of Fascism” Because it’s just another meaningless insult.

  18. Waldemar
    October 25, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Why is there not a class action law suit against these vermin

    • Robert Edwards
      October 26, 2018 at 10:35 am

      My thoughts exactly… Though Zuckerberg would pay-off the attorney’s

    • MBeaver
      October 27, 2018 at 2:41 am

      Because they are private corporations. Freedom of speech doesnt count for them. They can do whatever they like, and they decided for fascism.
      We needs laws that prevent corporations from being able to prevent freedom of speech. Especially when its social media ones.

    • O Society
      October 27, 2018 at 9:40 pm

      Yes. As I stated at the beginning of this thread. People don’t understand Freedom of Speech has nothing to do with Megyn Kelly talking about blackface on CNN.

      She wasn’t working for the government. She was working for a corporation. The TV corporation will fire you if you are a liability to their advertising dollars.

      The Amendments regulate what the government can and cannot do. The FCC or whatever regulate CNN. They are not the same thing.

      Social media corporations censoring media by not promoting specific articles or news sites has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

      No one said Alex Jones can’t do his performance art. What they said was Jones can’t do it in my living room, which is perfectly legal and ethical for a corporation to do.

      Jones can do InfoWars on whatever radio station will amplify his mental illness on the airwaves. Neither they, nor Facebook or Twitter or CNN or anyone else is obligated to do so.

      That’s America. You can say whatever wacky shit you want for the most part, but they can still fire you.

  19. JD2021
    October 25, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Well, it’s obvious now that Twitter and Facebook, among some others ‘t aren’t monopolies that .need to go ASAP. It’s up to the millions of people using these waste-of-life platforms…..

    • Robert Edwards
      October 26, 2018 at 10:37 am

      They should used just for Happy Birthday’s and baby showers and not for any serious debate.

      • Eric32
        October 26, 2018 at 3:18 pm

        I have a hard time believing that any normal person is really swayed by the kind of stuff that’s on these social media zoos – lots of strange animals and nobody cleaning the cages.

  20. JRGJRG
    October 25, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    The more insanity prospers, the quicker people will line up at the asylum door.

    It’s escalating. There will be an exponential runaway effect into full plutocratic dystopia.

    • October 26, 2018 at 2:25 am

      I thought we were already there.

      • Zhu
        October 27, 2018 at 6:37 am

        We’re in the early stages.

  21. Eric32
    October 25, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    I think they’ll followup the censorship with a propaganda campaign. Something designed to create an environment in which people are reassured that the “authoritative” line is the only credible line, that there are dangers from which we need to be protected, that those adhering to out dated ideas like self defense and the 2nd Amendment are themselves sources of danger, etc. Look for the Constitution more and more to be depicted as an anachronism created by loathsome people.

    Defenseless people are compliant people – many sheep being thankful for the massif dogs patrolling them and protecting them from the wolves. And if no wolves are to be seen, they’ll create some.

  22. jaycee
    October 25, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Isn’t it interesting how, in the space of four years, the official enemy seamlessly switched from ISIS/al-Qaeda to Russia and China. All on the basis of unproven allegation and obvious misrepresentation. And how by simply noting this change one becomes equally an object of suspicion and possible censure.

    • O Society
      October 26, 2018 at 8:00 pm

      Don’t forget, soon we’ll have a Space Force! Then we’ll be able to blame the Cylons like we should have done to start with…

  23. Bart Hansen
    October 25, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    “Fly appeared in a series of interviews and co-authored several op-eds emphasizing the need for a massive social media crackdown.”

    I’ll bet he has no complaints about the liars and misinformers at http://www.toptalkradio.com, the Office of the President and Fox.

    • Steve
      October 26, 2018 at 7:29 am

      I suspect you are wrong there. Hardcore neocon warmongers like Fly are the backbone of the NeverTrump wing of the Republican party. They hated him from the get-go for not buying into their Cold War 2.0 rhetoric and wanting to engage in realpolitik with Putin’s Russia rather than sabre-rattling. Russiagate was largely cooked up by them (Fusion GPS was originally hired by neocons supporting Rubio), then co-opted by the Clinton campaign after Trump won the Republican nomination.

      • MBeaver
        October 27, 2018 at 2:43 am

        Exactly. Robert Parry often talked about this and the neocon-neoliberal alliance in his articles.

  24. Maxwell Quest
    October 25, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    I’m reminded of an old Frank Zappa quote:

    “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

    Back in the 90’s, Zappa’s quote seemed a bit hyperbolic, but in today’s climate of censorship its prophetic accuracy is becoming more apparent. The establishment has already begun pulling on the curtain, and soon the brick wall will be visible for all to see. In the mean time, this process will be well camouflaged with national security type justifications (fake bomb scares and such) until it is too late, and Americans will wake up one day to find themselves in a fully dominated police state.

    • Zhu
      October 27, 2018 at 6:40 am

      The Roman Republic continued having elections, etc., long it had turned into an Empire. Tacitus is eloquent on the subject.

  25. Abe
    October 25, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Facebook Censorship of Alternative Media ‘Just the Beginning,’ Warns Top pro-Israel Lobby Insider.

    Generalized terms like “Neocon” and “foreign policy hardliner” fail to fully identify characters like Fly, former executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) during 2009-2013.

    Fly used his perch at the Weekly Standard blog to propagate pro-Israel Lobby perspectives, including pressing a hardline on Iran, criticizing President Barack Obama for “engaging” “terrorists,” and excoriating the international community for criticizing the mid-2010 Israeli commando attack on an international aid flotilla to Gaza.

    On Alternative Media and Social Media, people have been willing to talk and write about the pro-Israel Lobby openly, instead of being silenced by false charges of “anti-Semitism”.

    Elements of the pro-Israel Lobby, the more obvious “we” of Fly’s remarks, have pushed very hard for censorship of critical discussion of Israeli government actions, pro-Israel Lobby influence on American foreign policy, and Israeli interference in US electoral politics, all under the guise of fighting “anti-Semitism”.

    The appearance of PropOrNot, the formation of the Google-sponsored “First Draft” propaganda coalition, and other attacks on Alternative Media are a concerted effort to marginalize and suppress media outlets that expose the agenda of the pro-Israel Lobby.

    • Abe
      October 25, 2018 at 3:28 pm

      “Fly noted with apparent approval that, ‘Trump is now pointing to Chinese interference in the 2018 election.’”

      “Russian influence”…

      “Chinese influence”…

      Both the right and left wings of the pro-Israel Lobby are laboring to expand the diversionary mantra of foreign power “interference”, while mainstream media continue to ignore the far more influential, and blatantly obvious, adversary of American interests.

      • Zhu
        October 27, 2018 at 6:44 am

        Lots of Americans, “left” & “right” don’t like Chinese people being prosperous & hate both Russian & Chinese governments for being unsubmissive.

    • DH Fabian
      October 25, 2018 at 7:47 pm

      Just a side issue, but many on the left support Israel as well.

      • Zhu
        October 27, 2018 at 6:47 am

        Most of Israel’s US support comes from Christian Zionists & other dispensationalists, who think a Jewish state will bring Jesus back soon. Somehow most anti-Zionists ignore this elephant in the living room.

    • Abe
      October 28, 2018 at 6:01 pm
  26. Steve Naidamast
    October 25, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    So what all this hoopla is about is that if a person gets their news from an outlet like Facebook and that news will now be denied to him or her because said outlet has banned such news from appearing on their site, the user would be too stupid to simply use a URL on their own to get to the sites that they have been reading the articles from that are being banned.

    Seems like this would encourage people to stop relying on such stupid aberrations as social media. However, that would require a level of intelligence many Americans are no longer seem capable of.

    • Abby
      October 25, 2018 at 11:29 pm

      Steve, censorship is starting with Facebook and Twitter, but how long until the websites that they banned from their sites are banned altogether? I think that this is where it’s heading. This started with Alex Jones and it was a trial to see if people would get upset over it. Many didn’t. Why? Because they didn’t like what he said. Many of us told them though that it’s not going to stop with just him. Now it’s moved on to others and people are finally understanding where it’s heading.

      But let’s remember who was the first person who was banned. Julian Assange. And anyone from the media that wasn’t outraged about that and are now being censored and upset about it are hypocrites for not standing up for Julian.

      Besides. This censorship is coming from the government. The Atlantic Council who is working with Facebook gets government funding so there’s the connection. I agree that people should stop playing on Facebook for a number of reasons, but the main one is its censorship. People should stop going on it until it reinstates the websites that they censored. The police ones especially need to be reinstated.

    • Zhu
      October 27, 2018 at 6:48 am

      Yes. Or too lazy to use shotwave radio.

  27. O Society
    October 25, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Google search timestamp says this article posted 11 hours ago.

    However, when I got up this morning, it was not visible on the Consortium News website.

    The article appeared on my phone 3-4 hours ago. I commented on it at this time. The comment disappeared.

    Right now, my phone shows 1 comment: by DDJ October 24, 2018 at 6:36 pm. This is much longer than 11 hours ago.

    Are all the technical difficulties the result of New McCarthyism? I don’t think so, but who knows any longer what lengths the government goes to to sabotage dissent?

    https://opensociet.org/2018/07/30/new-mccarthyism-allows-corporate-media-to-tighten-grip-democrats-to-ignore-their-own-failings/

    Right now, on my PC, the article shows 28 comments. I am commenting from my PC, so will be 29 if it posts.

    I dunno how to explain the wormholes where time and comments disappear. I can tell you I have cleared the cache and the history on my browser and the CN website still does weird time travel. AFAIK, CN is the only website this happens to me on.

    • Anne Jaclard
      October 25, 2018 at 7:14 pm

      I’ve had similar problems multiple times in the past with Consortium News, including today. I don’t think it’s part of the censorship but rather a website function. Often it can be resolved by clicking the banner at the top of the site, if you get here by bookmark or a search engine the latest stories and comments might not appear right away. That being said, it would not surprise me if this site eventually faced direct repression from some government or another:

      https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/08/25/18802174.php#18802191

      https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201810211069077168-danish-bill-pro-russia-censorship/

      • O Society
        October 26, 2018 at 10:58 am

        We are on the same page. Thanks Anne!

    • PETER LOEB
      October 26, 2018 at 7:03 am

      TO O SOCIETY, ANNE JACLARD AND CN:

      I have had similar problems with posting on CN. recently. I cannot prove that
      it is censorship. (underline PROVE). A certain number of commenter
      have been posted. My contribution disappaears. I repeat. Still no posting
      of my comment.(I remember posting references to Thomas Suarez anti
      Zionist book and Thomas L. Thompson’s questions about the biblical
      “stories”. Neither of these great books would give comfort to the Israel lobby or
      the Jewish elite (Finkelstein’s phrases). So pernhaps they would be left
      out of the discussion.

      I have never has these problems with posting on CN for at least a decade.
      I remember an occasion when I noted to Robert Parry my difficulties in
      in posting and my post was immediately included. And bracketed.

      I protested CN’s alliance with Facebook earlier. After many days my
      protest was posted. At last!

      Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • O Society
        October 26, 2018 at 8:13 pm

        Thanks for the input, Peter.

        I lost a couple of posts to the void on this thread. Don’t know if these are really gone or whether other commenters can see them and I can’t.

        It’s frustrating. We had 500+ comments on a previous post, but how can such active discourse happen regularly when there is no continuity to the conversations?

    • CoolCORain
      October 27, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      A delay is common on CN. It took almost 24 hours for my comments to post on an article a couple of days ago and they were pretty short comments but also were pretty contentious.

      I think CN is trying to stay on top of things and closely reviewing comments before letting them through. They probably have more human based reviewing of their comment board so they do not “Facebook” you with algorithms. I do not *know* this…just a thought. Be patient.

    • October 29, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      I have written this explanation in a couple of places. This is the last time I will explain because folks don’t seem to read it anyway.

      The ConsortiumNews website is built on WordPress. WordPress uses a spam filter called Akismet.

      https://www.wpexplorer.com/akismet-spam-plugin-wordpress/

      Askismet uses an algorithm to filter comments. For example, the Akismet algorithm flags my comment whenever I use multiple html links in it. It will flag for other reasons as well. This makes a comment *disappear*

      When your comment bounces, ask yourself what would trip the alarm. This is automatic and has nothing to do with an actual human censoring anything.

      An actual human comes by later. All the comments which got bounced by the Akismet algorithm wait for the human moderator to approve them. Manual approval makes a comment *reappear* Often this happens days later.

      If you are trolling or slinging spam or whatnot, a comment won’t get approved by a moderator. It won’t reappear.

      There is a separate issue going on as well. All the comments disappear and reappear. The most recent articles aren’t visible much of the time as well when I visit the main site. The only way I can find these invisible articles is by tracking down the direct URL.

      Therefore, the individual appearing and disappearing comments have an explanation. It is what it is. Deal with it.

      The collective comments and articles appearing and disappearing seems to be a separate issue. It has happened before. Several users tell me they have experienced this glitch in years past. I experienced it last year. So probably people don’t notice, because they can’t see invisible stuff is missing.

      No one has explained this mass appearing and disappearing of comments and articles. The comment count changes in such a way as to show either 0 or a number below the actual number of comments on an article. Sometimes I can’t see your comments, sometimes not mine. What ever is happening is chronological, meaning older comments/ articles have a higher probability of being visible, while newer comments and articles have a higher probability of being invisible.

      This mass invisibility of comments may disappear when I post a comment. For example, the comment count on an article may say 0. Yet when I comment, all of a sudden a dozen more comments appear. So now there’s a dozen all at once. However, all of these may disappear as soon as I do something else. Now you see me, now you don’t.

      No one has given us an explanation for this glitch in the matrix. It has started pissing people off though. We will see an attrition of regular commenters unless it gets fixed. Mass disappearing of comments is frustrating and ruins conversations, or at least their continuity.

      The bad news is the Consortium News moderators don’t seem to be aware of the problem. No idea if it will get fixed or what the cause.

      The good news is your disappearing comments aren’t censored. Rather this seems to happens to all commenters without bias due to the glitch, whatever it is.

      I have cleared the cache and history and cookies and used different browsers on the CN website. None of it made any difference. The only difference I have found is using different devices. My PC, phone, and tablet may all show different articles and comments at exactly the same time. No idea why.

      I’m done trying to figure it out from my end. Someone on the Consortium News end needs to figure it out and address it. I don’t think there is anything we can do about it on our commenter end. Hopes this feedback helps someone solve the glitch…

  28. Realist
    October 25, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    “Among the criteria PropOrNot identified as signs of Russian propaganda were: “Support for policies like Brexit, and the breakup of the EU and Eurozone”

    Heavens! When will the British electorate be apprised that, in the majority, they are just mindless “Putin puppets?” Fascinating how a few words from the man asserting his neutrality in British and American elections can insidiously have the exact opposite effect and lead the heedless sheep right into his evil clutches. Now that is the art of deception par excellence. All hail Maestro Putin!

    • D'Esterre
      October 26, 2018 at 12:03 am

      Realist: ” “Support for policies like Brexit, and the breakup of the EU and Eurozone””

      Indeed. This looks like a reductio ad absurdum. Do those making such claims really believe that UK and EU citizens have no agency?

      We have family in central Europe. Around 20 years ago now, a relative living in Bavaria told us that at that time, there was a view widespread among Bavarian citizens that, not only did they not want to be part of the EU, they didn’t even want to be part of a unified Germany. Many of them would, we were told, prefer Bavaria to return to the status of principality, as was the case pre-Bismarck.

      We can be certain that such views are widespread in the EU: when large scale amalgamation of polities took place, the citizens often had no say in those changes. Scarcely surprising that many want to return to previous arrangements; memories are long.

      Nothing at all to do with Russia, and to suggest otherwise is to ignore history.

      • Zhu
        October 27, 2018 at 6:53 am

        “large scale amalgamation” has been going on since the French Revolution. It used to be that Europeans had to all go the same church, now they all have the same language.

  29. Jeff Harrison
    October 25, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    What the hell happened to all the other comments that were here earlier?

  30. Jose
    October 25, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    I wonder where was Mr. Fly when in 2017 Obama Quietly Signs Propaganda Act to Counter ‘Fake News’ – EU to Follow Suit. Basically, the president authorizes the use of fake news when USA decides to lie its why through any particular topic. Case in point, the Iraqi invasion. First, we had to attack Iraq for its participation on 9/11. Later, it was because Saddam was developing weapons of mass destruction. That didn’t work too well so we sent troops there to promote democracy and Iraqis rights to self determination. This last grotesque excuse can be verified easily by taking a look of what US is doing around the world. Russia-gate anyone?

  31. Skip Scott
    October 25, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    An hour ago there were 39 comments on this article, now it is back to one. Very strange happenings here the last few days in the comment section.

    • Realist
      October 25, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      Um, it said “1” just a minute ago when I posted, now there are suddenly 25 posts. I dunno what’s going on other than the situation is entirely fluid.

    • jose
      October 25, 2018 at 4:50 pm

      Same thing happened to me. What is going on?

  32. Juan P. Zenter
    October 25, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Democracies aren’t threatened by free speech because the voters are always right by definition, even when they are deplorable, ignorant and uncouth. Empires, however, are held together by force and that requires suppression of domestic dissent in order to be maintained. That’s why fictions like Russia-gate are invented to justify infringements of the Bill of Rights.

  33. Anne Jaclard
    October 25, 2018 at 11:35 am

    US government officials admitted that in The New York Times yesterday that they were involved in the removal of the “fake news” pages, described by the Times as “poison” that must be “leached.” What are Anti-Media and the Free Thought Project covering? Anti-fracking, Rojava, anti-globalisation, Corbyn, Palestine, NATO protests, antifa, etc, in short, real information. It’s obvious that the Atlantic Council and German Marshall Fund, sponsored by global corporations, want to eliminate anti-capitalist and anti-establishment info, which the elites are extremely fearful of (the term “Fake News” is a Ukrainian intelligence term first seen on the website StopFake). Corporate censorship hitmen Andew Weisburd and Clint Watts have their history in dismantling Indymedia, now they want to dismantle all lefty (and libertarian) websites that were correct during the Iraq War and still are today.

    • Johnmichael2
      October 25, 2018 at 10:40 pm

      Yes !

  34. Zim
    October 25, 2018 at 11:25 am

    You’d think that if the purge on Twiiter and Facebook was due to ‘inauthentic behavior’, there’d be no Democratic Party / DNC pages to be found.

  35. Don Bacon
    October 25, 2018 at 10:23 am

    re: “They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites.”
    Let’s put on our thinking caps, as my first grade teacher Mrs. Adams used to say, and think of some invented stories the US government puts out which then get repeated and spread through different sites.
    –The F-35 fighter jet is combat capable.
    –Iran is the world’s chief state sponsor of terrorism.
    –Osama bin Laden master-minded 9-11.
    –The US has an open political system.
    –Russia, China and Afghanistan are threats to US national security.
    –Wars keep us safe.
    –etc.

    IOW the government, any government, exists on propaganda and we must structure our lives accordingly, recognizing that some things can be changed and others can’t.
    “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” — Henry David Thoreau

    • Zhu
      October 27, 2018 at 7:18 am

      All the leaders labeled “Hitler”

  36. Eric32
    October 25, 2018 at 10:16 am

    There are elements in the US power structure who are making a lot of money the way things are, and they want to keep things the way they are.

    The US is kind of like a weird dysfunctional family hiding some dark secrets, that doesn’t like anybody probing around or talking about things that might disturb its facade.

    Shutting people up is one approach, maybe a whole “new think” propaganda campaign should be expected.

    And these recent pipe bomb “attempts” – I’ll just bet it’s Russian colluders – we should all pray for Hillary’s welfare….

  37. October 25, 2018 at 10:15 am

    What happened? Did those censors the two authors talk about strike again. Forty minutes ago there were a dozen or so comments.

    Took the time to read the authors’ credentials. Good to see them on CN.

    • October 25, 2018 at 10:18 am

      My apologies. Next time I opened up the comment section, all the comments were there. Jumped the gun after reading the article.

  38. Jeff Harrison
    October 25, 2018 at 10:00 am

    This is scary stuff. The United States touts its “free press” as opposed to the press of other countries that we do not like who have “government controlled press”. Right. Do I really need to explain what “free press” means? When are we going to start to admit that we’re just a bullshit democracy?

    I am endlessly amused when people claim that evil Russians (or Chinese or Iranians or any other nationality that somebody is bigoted about) are sowing dissent and discord. Don’t you think we do an excellent job of that all on our own, no help needed? As always, when you hear the regime in Washington whining about some nefarious bit of alleged chicanery, you can pretty much bet that they are saying that because we did it first in some other country.

  39. October 25, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Thank you so much for the update on what is going on. We must remember Freedom of Speech in the First Amendment limits what the government can do.

    If think tanks tell a corporation such as Facebook what to do, this isn’t going to be a freedom of speech issue if the government is not directly involved.

    The corporate neoliberal/ neoconservative ideologies are already controlling the mainstream narrative; now the goal is to silence dissent completely.

    Which means me & you…

    https://opensociet.org/2018/07/05/the-kook-list/

  40. October 25, 2018 at 8:41 am

    “During a March 2018 interview on C-Span, Fly complained that “Russian accounts” were “trying to promote certain messages, amplify certain content, raise fringe views, pit Americans against each other, and we need to deal with this ongoing problem and find ways through the government, through tech companies, through broader society to tackle this issue.”

    I thought the above was the job of our two political parties?

    On a heavier note, this is serious stuff, an assault on free speech, and signs that our society can become a totalitarian nightmare brought about by increasingly power technological powers that George Orwell could only dream about.

    • Skip Scott
      October 25, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Yes, back in the day the Fairness Doctrine forced our MSM to grant equal time for opposing viewpoints. Now those viewpoints are seen as sedition.

      • Jeff Harrison
        October 25, 2018 at 12:24 pm

        Exactly. Not only are they sedition, they’re also off message.

        • Juan P. Zenter
          October 25, 2018 at 7:05 pm

          Save the Narrative!
          Down with Free Speech!

      • Josep
        October 30, 2018 at 6:29 pm

        The Fairness Doctrine was abolished in 1987, last time I checked. (I was born in 1999 and therefore have no first-hand experience, so feel free to confirm or dispute my assumption.) I’m assuming that the American MSM has gone down the tubes (pun intended) ever since. Why the heck did they abolish it?
        Then again, was there still bias on the MSM even before the Fairness Doctrine was thrown out the window?

  41. michael
    October 25, 2018 at 6:45 am

    So we have Facebook and Google censoring anyone these neolib/neocon “think” tanks suggest, basically serving as a cutout for the CIA, since it is “illegal” for spooks to interfere in the USA. Of course Facebook and Google want all the global advertising revenue, but none of the blame for ideas or criticisms that clash with the CIA narratives. Profit without liability, the American way!
    Seems the alternative is for other countries or blocs to set up their own social media and not allow Facebook or Google to do business in their domains. Or open up freedom of expression as an extension of America’s first amendment rights. Since this latter will never be allowed (it’s no longer really allowed here), it is just a matter of time before Facebook and Google publicly become what they functionally already are: instruments of Empire, aiding out-of-control military adverturism and war profiteering.

    • Zhu
      October 27, 2018 at 7:23 am

      “Seems the alternative is for other countries or blocs to set up their own social media and not allow Facebook or Google to do business in their domains”

      China has done so. Probably signing up with tencent weibo would on Fly’s next list.

    • Josep
      October 30, 2018 at 3:28 am

      CN can start by scrapping their Google custom search and either implementing a custom Bing* or DuckDuckGo search, or creating their own.

      * Microsoft surely isn’t an angel either (remember when the DoJ sued them back in the late 1990s?), but I wonder how bad they are compared with Google. I currently use an Android phone, and since Apple is just as bad as Google here (remember, they’re one of the so-called ‘FAGS’ (Facebook, Apple, Google and Skype)), I’m thinking my next phone after my Android should either be a Windows phone, a phone with some other OS (e.g. Sailfish OS), or a standard cell phone.

  42. john Wilson
    October 25, 2018 at 4:53 am

    The obvious solution is for the mass of the public to stop using Facebook, Twitter, google etc. Already there is a world wide consensus that the almighty dollar can be bypassed and trade can be conducted in other currencies. Other platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc can be set up and could easily rival anything else that’s out there if the public used them instead. You don’t have to use Facebook etc anymore than you have to use the dollar. The sheer size of the Facebook /Twitter platforms worldwide makes it difficult to break away, especially if ones business is linked to them, but if they can take your site down over night, then you face instant bankruptcy. People could take their vote away from the main corrupt political parties just as they could leave Facebook, but they don’t so the big internet giants will own their opinions as well as their minds.

    • Skip Scott
      October 25, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Exactly John. We need to refuse to be coopted, whether it’s by the top two political parties or huge monopolies like Facebook, Twitter, google, Amazon, Walmart, etc, etc. Boycotting is the easiest way to “hit ’em where it hurts”.

      I would also like to see people refuse to watch MSM TV channels or buy their newspapers.

      • Josep
        October 26, 2018 at 9:22 pm

        Some can take a step further and move to another country, become citizens there, and renounce their American citizenship; believe it or not, the US is only one of two countries in the world that forces its citizens to pay taxes for both the citizenship country and the country they’re residing. Not only is the abroad-American required to pay taxes twice, but the US taxes are likely to further fund the American war machine.

        Re: MSM TV channels and newspapers, little question: Have you ever seen/read Russian TV and newspapers? If so, what’s your experience with them, and how bad are they compared with those in America?

        • Skip Scott
          October 31, 2018 at 8:44 am

          I have seen some RT stuff on the internet, and find it a lot better than our MSM. I also see/read most of Putin’s speeches and interviews and believe he has a very rational viewpoint on most major issues, and the depth of discussion is much greater. Lee Camp’s “Redacted Tonight” is fabulous. I haven’t read any Russian newspapers.

          • Josep
            November 6, 2018 at 4:39 pm

            Putin’s speeches/interviews aside, I was thinking more in terms of Russian-language TV, radio and newspapers in Russia, but thanks nonetheless.

            Side note: The reason I ask is that I don’t want to completely give up TV, newspaper, or radio as news sources. Some commentators in a few other sites talked about getting rid of their TVs, not only because of the biased news “reporting” in the MSM, but also because of the dwindling quality of programming in general. Of course, this describes American television, if not Western-world television, succinctly, and I immediately wondered if Russia is one place where this wasn’t the case. That being said, I respect their decision to not own a TV set.

          • Skip Scott
            November 7, 2018 at 3:50 pm

            Josep-

            I don’t speak Russian, and I have no way that I know of to access Russian language TV in the USA. All I’ve seen are Russian News programs available on the Internet that have subtitles or translations in English. I find those to be much more in-depth than our MSM, with a wider variety of viewpoints.

            I haven’t had cable or broadcast TV in my house for over two years, and I don’t miss it at all. I do like to watch baseball and college basketball now and then. I just go to a friend’s house for those. I have a DVD player to watch the occasional movie, but I mostly read and listen to music for indoor entertainment. It is amazing how many other things you find to do and enjoy once you give up the “boob tube”. Most TV programming is a mind numbing experience, not to mention the constant bombardment of commercials.

    • Zhu
      October 27, 2018 at 7:24 am

      Why do you think 1/2 of Americans never vote.

  43. DDj
    October 24, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    I’m in total sympathy with the main points of the article. But — the lead, the new piece of information, seems to be based solely on this Fly guy’s use of “we” when he says, “We are just starting to push back.” Supposedly that means that he’s claiming credit for the shutting down of some social media accounts. But to say that’s a stretch would be generous. He had just mentioned “our open political system,” and it seems much more likely that he was using “we” in this loose sense than that he was claiming some direct role. For all I know he and his organization were directly involved. Wouldn’t surprise me. But the pronoun is not good evidence of that.

    (From my experience, you can now cue the accusations that I’m a government troll. I’ll preemptively respond that I’m just hoping for better journalism from this site. This article has lots of good information, but shoots itself in the foot with its main claim.)

    • John Wilson
      October 25, 2018 at 5:02 am

      On the contrary, DDJ, I think the article underestimates the problem of the deep state and their lackeys taking control of privately owned platforms like Facebook/Twitter etc. To all intents and purposes, the deep state owns the MSM so its inevitable that anything as influential as Facebook will be targeted by them.

      • October 25, 2018 at 8:59 am

        Several months ago, I turned on CSpan which was showing a Senate hearing about Russian interference and the witness was someone from Facebook. Aside from the fact that the media event occurred after lunch and one of our solons was slurring his words, what was remarkable was how intimidated the Facebook representative appeared when Facebook was accused of “allowing” Russians to use its forum to sabotage our elections. They seemed so anxious to prevent such “sabotage” that one wondered how far they were willing to go to satisfy the Committee and our government. This response from powerful corporations is not unusual and not unusual for them to be not only responsive but to be overly so. Such is the power of Washington.

    • Barbarossa
      October 25, 2018 at 9:41 am

      DDj, I thought the same thing reading the article. I absolutely agree with the overarching concerns articulated by Mr. Sprague and many of his specific examples are applicable. However, the claims about Jamie Fly’s comments seem to be tendentious since he was explicitly speaking in reference to foreign governments. If a comment such as “It’s great that we can use the excuse of foreign interference to shut down alternative media.” had been captured, that would be very different.

      For the record, I do think that dissident political voices are intentional casualties in the “fight against foreign interference”.
      However, we don’t do the cause any favors by taking the comment of some minor neocon operative out of context and spinning it to fit a predetermined conclusion.

      I’ll tune into Fox and MSNBC if I want that.

      • DDj
        October 25, 2018 at 5:08 pm

        Thank you, Barbarossa. Well said.

    • Jeff Harrison
      October 25, 2018 at 9:45 am

      I imagine that this site would like some more astute readers. The piece identifies the various and sundry organizations that Mr. Fly is a part of (The German Marshall Fund, the Alliance for Securing Democracy). So when Mr. Fly says “we” clearly he’s referring to his henchmen in these other organizations and not just himself which, by the way, also includes The Atlantic Council, who he works with but is not a part of, which the article says has a campaign to purge alternative media. Furthermore, the article also says “sites that were erased in the recent Facebook purge that Fly and his colleagues take apparent credit for”.

      It’s not just we.

      • Skip Scott
        October 25, 2018 at 10:38 am

        Jeff, I agree with you, John, and Herman on this. I think it is obvious that “we” is referring to himself and the organizations he is associated with.

    • EamsG
      October 25, 2018 at 11:25 am

      What an asinine observation. The journalism is fine – one of consortiums better recent pieces in fact. If all you can take away from this article is that you’re unhappy with what you perceive is an ambiguous use of a pronoun, you’d be much better off getting your information from a mainstream source.

    • mike k
      October 25, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Way to nit pick DDj! That nit was so tiny, I might have missed it without your help.

    • torure this
      October 25, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      If he weren’t involved his statement would be very weird. If you don’t want to believe he’s involved, lawyering his verbiage is one way to do it, I suppose.

Comments are closed.