The social media giant has given no reason to Christine Assange who had turned to Twitter to campaign for the liberty of her son.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
The Twitter account of Christine Assange, the mother of the arbitrarily detained founder of WikiLeaks, has been restricted, she told Consortium News on Tuesday.
“My Twitter account has been ‘blocked due to ‘unusual activity,'” Ms. Assange wrote in a text message. Twitter, however, has provided her no reason for its action.
Ms. Assange is a prolific user of Twitter in her campaign to free her son who has been a refugee in the Ecuador embassy in London since 2012.
Twitter has posted the following message on her page:
While a user can access her page by agreeing to view her profile, Ms. Assange told Consortium News she is unable to post new Tweets to her account nor see anyone else’s.
Her last post, at 11:55 am on Tuesday in Australia, where she lives, is a retweet of an article published about her son. She posted 12 tweets in the past 24 hours. “Interesting that it followed on from a day of my tweets about free speech and calling on journalists globally to stand up for Julian,” Ms. Assange said in a text message.
Clinton and Bolton
In the past ten days, Ms. Assange tweeted direct replies to Hillary Clinton and John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser. Bolton had tweeted on March 9: “US military should use #Wikileaks for cyber warfare target practice. Take down their capabilities & prevent further harm to nat’l security.”
Ms. Assange’s reply to Bolton is no longer visible under his tweet. Nine replies to Bolton are now “unavailable.” Ms. Assange said in a text message that her reply began by calling Bolton’s tweet, “Fascist talk!”
In response to the New Zealand massacre, Clinton tweeted on March 15: “My heart breaks for New Zealand & the global Muslim community. We must continue to fight the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms.”
Ms. Assange directly replied to Clinton: “Hang on Hillary! My son, published your pre Presidential run bragsheet ‘Tick Tock’ (email) on
#Libya! As a result of your trophy War in Libya, you were responsible for 40,000 deaths, ISIS expansion, womens slave market in Libya, & the subsequent refugee crisis in Europe!”
Clinton was “in nauseating false sympathy,” Ms. Assange said in a text message.
Under Congressional Pressure
Twitter uses algorithms unknown to the public to remove, block, suspend or restrict accounts of its users. Like other social media companies, Twitter has also come under intense U.S. congressional pressure to censor accounts deemed hostile to U.S. interests.
Julian Assange has remained in the embassy to avoid arrest by British authorities for skipping bail from an investigation by Sweden that has since been dropped. He has not been charged with a crime by either Sweden or Britain.
Assange was granted political asylum by the previous government of Ecuador seven years ago. The current government, however, has made it known it wants him to leave and has made various moves to force him out. His contact with the outside world has been restricted. Twitter deleted his account on March 28, 2018. British authorities have not permitted him to leave the embassy for urgent medical treatment without being arrested.
Assange fears that if he is arrested by London police once he leaves the embassy that he will be extradited to the United States where a secret grand jury is preparing an indictment against him, most likely under the Espionage Act. Grand jury proceedings are still underway in an Alexandria, Virginia courtroom.
Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe .
If you value this original article, please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.
I always find it weird that figures like Maduro would actually have an account on twitter or facebook.
Seems counterproductive, as your own followers would need to get on twitter/facebook and you would be indirectly helping the western platforms get more users.
Not to mention it opens up your followers to be tracked by US intel. If they gave their mobile number via 2 factor authentication, US intel can even triangulate their position and send a drone missile to kill them.
Perhaps this has something to do with it…her announcement that the Telesur English twitter account was also suppressed…
“Telesur English account has been supportive of my son, arbitrarily gagged and tortured journalist Julian Assange. They have been one of the few media to factually update the public on his plight and the political context of his persecution.”
As long as we are dependent upon western corporatist, imperialist media and communications this will keep happening and we shouldn’t be surprised that under fascism this is how they roll. We badly need the denial to cease and the revolution to begin. Prepare for it. Free Assange, Free Chelsea Manning, Free yourselves
“Ya gotta break a few…”
Facebook functions as though in The People’s Republic of China as an instrument of political correctness. Were that great revolutionary propagandist, Tom Pain with us today, he, too would be straight jacketed as Mrs. Assange and her son are today; an were they in revolutionary France they would be jailed as citizen Tom Paine was, who was scheduled to lose his head, but was luck as tradition has his cell door was open the execute posted order was hidden. Does any one know the numbe of Facebook posts censored and not shared?
Big biz is big biz. You and me are just marks for their con games.
Don’t forget that this dumb-down instrument has been internationallyembedded and sanctiond globally by the dumbed-down president of America. Twitter is heavily indebted to Trump for their vast wealth today and if he says “Squat”, the poo starts to flow before they can hit the toilet.
The developers of Twitter, owners in Board of Directors are all absolutely complicit in the crimes of the Western powers and should be held accountable, when that happens no one can say but seeing how agent orange is driving US/western hegemony into the ground that day is getting closer, Viva La Revolution!
Christine is desperately trying to seek help for her son and to stop her using this platform to it’s full use is just cruel.
Her comments are just and thoughtful. I admire Christine, her son and Chelsea Manning. They bring the truth to light and suffer for their actions.
Eggboy was removed by Twitter while Fraser Anning remained. – That shows that twitter is on the side of lies and hatred.
“The social media giant has given no reason”
We know the reason.
Meanwhile, this morning Trump attacks another social medium, and then all of them, for being “anti-conservative “ because one of the Hitler youth in his office was behaving like a troll/bot/ whatever, according to its”algorithms “. He gets right back on with a full apology, which only spurs His Orangeness on to greater wrath. The victory of our two fact-free competing “narratives “ in the USA is nearly complete. But, once it is, will anyone relying on the MSM (which includes at this point every commercial source, and all fascist sources to and including 8chan, whatever the hell that is) even notice? Will there be any difference TO notice?
What algorithms? Twitter was more than likely instructed directly by the likes of CIA, NSA, et al, to take it down. Mrs. Assange should create a blog or share her thoughts via Consortium’s website that we can all access.
Yes, yes, a blog! Seems a very good idea. It could be promoted by Consortium news and others. Stuff twitter.
Political censorship in the US has existed all along, and has clearly increased over the past 25 years. When it comes to our government’s retaliation against Assange for shining a light on our own government, note the silence of those Dem politicians who are commonly referred to as “progressives.”
As long as this country has citizens like they have, they will have continue to have a 100% Corrupt, Inverted-Corporate-Totalitarian, Police-State Government that increasingly becomes more and more tyrannical and despotic as time marches onward. Were 95-97% of citizens are braindead, care-about-nothing-of-value-or-substance, are apathetic, valueless, worthless, stand-for-nothing, never-had-an-original-thought, know-nothing, are oxygen thiefs on a good day.
This usually happens when someone tries to access the account by guessing the password and failing. Twitter than restricts the account to make it harder to break into the account this way.
Well that is what Twitter say. Turning on login verification on the account may help.
Does Twitter have any value? How does somebody benefit from spending time on it? Why use it?
If voting makes very little difference in domestic and international actions the US takes, how does posting or reading anything on Twitter lead to anything of substance?
Similarly, people complain about what garbage mainstream news/info is – and they’re right, it’s socially/politically destructive garbage.
But how many of these people support this garbage with subscription money paid to cable tv, satellite tv, magazine and newspaper corporations?
Eric, your points are very well taken.
Perhaps those who tweet on Twitter, might we call them “twits”, seek a “following”, a “status” of continuing narcissistic celebrity?
Clearly, Mrs. Assange is not among that group nor, likely are those making informed, well researched and critically important counter-arguments to some of the nonsense of certain public figures who delight in both adoration and outrage.
Apparently, twittering is the present-day equivalent of “fifteen minutes of fame” on TV.
One thinks of the young woman whose parents are involved in buying her way into a prestigious university by less than, shall we say, honorable means (I do wonder how bought access, or “legacy” status, for individuals or political parties, may ever be honorable, or reflect the “high ideals” this nation loudly claims to cherish)?
That the young woman then takes to twittering or whatever to assure her faithful admirers that she really is not there, at the university to study or learn, but rather for the social scene and, one cannot help but suspect, for the spectacle and the networking opportunities always afforded the glamorous few, sparkling in their splendor and basking in the glow of their unique and special “brand”. A trait shared by most of the political class it might be added.
Where indeed is substantive discussion, not public preening to be found?
On Twitter? Facebook?, Google?
Why even Wikipedia is edited to “standards” of very questionable “merit”.
Beyond the shallow, simplistic, and superfluous fluff of the deep insights most often shared on these engines of social ascendency, what is happening to language itself?
Words have no longer common meaning, merely being what those who use them “mean”. What, for example, does the much bandied about term, “progressive” mean? Or “socialism”?
And consider the use of “anti-Semitic” used to attack Omar or Corbyn.
We do, most certainly, live in interesting, even thoroughly absurd times.
I wonder if anyone has noticed?
I use Twitter to get a general idea of current public ideology, particularly among Democrats and liberals, based on the perspectives promoted by current media. I began doing this in hopes of finding a way to stir interest in a more human (rather than capitalist) perspective. Turns out, one really can’t compete with the power of such neoliberal entities as MSNBC and the Dem Party establishment. Still, Twitter is an interesting pastime.
You assume that the people tweeting are not trolls. An unwise assumption.
>You assume that the people tweeting are not trolls. An unwise assumption.<
Right, and some those "trolls" are working in groups that systematically use social psychology techniques in trying to shape peoples' views, create diversions at various times, and so on.
In other words, there are "professional" trolls out there.
A couple years ago, I started binging on Stephen Kotkin’s books and youtube talks on Stalin.
In one of his talks, he jokes about how poor some of his (Princeton) students are, and how they get passed along despite poor performance.
I think I know how these dummies whose parents pay to get them accepted survive and graduate.
but then they ascend to become top decision makers in our government (i.e. Trump, Bush, Kushner, …) Would we be better off if admissions were based solely on merit? How are corruptibility and poor character measured?
>but then they ascend to become top decision makers in our government (i.e. Trump, Bush, Kushner, …)<
Exactly – I had to laugh when I read that – of course the laugh is on us regular people.
I use Twitter to follow independent journalists. You hear directly from them. No filters, editors in between. Granted, Twitter overlords can censor any of it’s users if they so choose, but so can ISP’s censor any and all information formats on the Internet. Thus the need to keep the Internet open source and free of tyranny.
I must agree. I am surprised that this twittering nonsense has become the norm since the election of POTUSTRUMPET, and have managed to live without facebook, twitter, instagram ad the other “social media”. Surely contributing to the riches of the already absurdly rich and powerful gentlemen at the helm of these organizations is not compulsory in the modern age?
When human beings who have not bought their way into prestigious universities, or “networked” their way into “highly leveraged” positions of excessive power or obscene wealth, that is the hoi paloi, people like the vast majority of the planet’s human population, you and I and Mrs. Assange, have the means to actually share their thoughts and concerns with each other, then, obviously, that is a threat to the elite who have historically controlled all lines of communication, have owned the big media and had the power to “shape” public opinion, to “manufacture consent”, and to “control the narrative”.
The elite apparently believed they could control the new “social media” with enforcers who would browbeat or shame those who strayed too far from conventional wisdom, but of course Julian Assange blew that notion to pieces as did many lesser known individuals who asked dangerous or embarrassing questions, who insisted that truth needed to be revealed.
That is why Obama was so vicious to those whistle-blowers who opened the public’ eyes, those who cared to look, to things like torture as policy, widespread civilian surveillance, and crimes against humanity.
Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other “private companies”, being private are permitted to silence or deplatform anyone whom they choose.
They also happily convey all sorts of things to the government which punishes those who run afoul of the interests of Big Money (in all its corporate and financial forms), Full Spectrum Dominance (the US Military killing machine), and the ambitions of politicians who service money and power.
As an aside, I do wonder if sites such as CounterPunch, Truthdig, and Black Agenda Report, among others, might feel, even though they are, themselves private entities and vested with all the rights that private ownership confers, including the right to disappear commenters who offend, a certain vulnerability since they “off shore”, for very practical reasons, cost-savings and wider exposure being but two, their comment sections to Facebook?
Do these sites ever ponder what recourse they might have should Facebook decide, as is its right, to deplatform or disappear them?
Clearly, the powers that be, feel threatened and I am very certain that platforms like Twitter are more than willing to accomodate suggestions from those powers and even willing to anticipate, in advance, when it might be politic to remove voices, sites, and ideas that might discomfit Authority or power without even being asked to do so.
How may the people preserve their capacity to be heard, to communicate, to even have the small capacity to help shape understanding or even encourage change in our shared global society if the channels of communication, the lines of connection may be cut or disrupted at the private whim of those who “own” the private “property” of those lines or channels?
How might a communally “owned” network be established and protected?
Are those questions we all must ponder and seek to answer?
Or should the few decide?
What do you think?
In principle communications (voice and data) networks and sites like Twitter need not and should not be owned directly by businesses or government. Our fundamental right of freedom of communication should be translated to a system of tax-sponsored infrastructure with prohibitions against government control, censorship. or spying.
The organizations that manage such infrastructure, including mass media, should be restricted in funding to limited individual contributions or tax sponsorship, and monitored for fairness in their composition at all levels, and systematically tested for fairness. This is not costly and need not impact technology innovation.
The reason we don’t have such protections is that the battle has already been lost: the tools of democracy (elections, mass media, communications) are already controlled by the economic power of oligarchy. So we need amendments to the Constitution to restrict such funding. We won’t get that until the People rise up in unison, which they won’t do until they are in personal jeopardy, which is rarely in a relatively wealthy nation. Otherwise the oligarchy must be recycled by external forces, ideally a world government. The alternative is massive embargo and isolation by rising superpowers, which is more likely in our case.
With the gutting of Smith Mundt in 2014, the State Department (read: CIA) is legally allowed to foist propaganda, the approved foreign policy narratives through MSM to the American people. Since social media (Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, etc) are privately owned and operated, the owners are free to silence those they dislike and shape the narrative. When ordered to shut down individuals, groups and companies on their services by Establishment (government, censors, ideologues), they quickly comply. Much like the American Intelligence Agencies not being allowed to spy on Americans without cause and warrants, there is always the workaround, having foreign spy agencies spying on Americans and trading information on their citizens. In the case of Government not being able to block free speech (including hate speech, as ruled repeatedly by SCOTUS), they can at least block opinion and subversive speech and ideas on social media by controlling the few owners, much as with the MSM since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed consolidation of the MSM under six owners. Regulation will probably not help (the FCC was always more concerned with decency than allowing free speech). Probably nationalizing at least one major social media platform, allowing total free speech is necessary to break the Soviet style police state America has become (but with better technology). However, even if there is only one such open, free, uncensored social media site, most will gravitate to it, and our Establishment will find a way to disrupt it.
Michael, it would be a very good thing if most USians were to understand that the US government can, and does, propagandize the people of the US and, as you point out, since 2014 and the trashing of Smith-Mundt, such propaganda is now perfectly legal if yet still odious and contrary to what is best practice in furthering the development of an educated and informed citizenry capable of rational and thought self governance, thus protecting civil society and ensuring that the people actually are the ones who decide the life and death questions that a democracy, even a purported democracy ought decide at the individual level.
Now, clearly, the political class and the oligarchy they serve have no interest in that form of participatory democracy or even allowing the current presence to develop in that direction.
(At this point, the obligatory snort, “This is not a democracy, it is a republic will likely issue from some deeply offended original intentist.)
If society cannot evolve or be permitted to evolve toward greater egalitarian perspectives and ever greater participation by all its members, then society is doomed to the persistent tyranny of little minds and a consistency of oppression masquerading as compassionate intervention from the ruling classes whose notion of compassion is sending the children of the lower classes to the front of the line when mayhem and state murder are afoot while promoting their own children to the ranks of “best and brightest”. But it is the lies, the propaganda, that justify the creation of enemies and wars AND the notions of elite entitlement because, the propaganda proclaims, in a capitalist system, it is the wealthy elite who not only create the jobs but also know best in every conceivable way.
Yes, Edward Bernays, and his uncle Sigmund, would both be very proud of the subtle, nuanced, and well-finessed “motivational encouragement” eminatting from the Capitol, today.
Yes, the lowest bullies rise to the top in unregulated market economies, and proclaim that money=virtue as the only virtue they can steal.
Their claim that “this is not a democracy, it is a republic” is deliberate distortion of Aristotle, whose Politics defines a democracy as a small direct-vote city-state, and uses “republic” to mean a constitutional democracy, as are all modern democracies. One of oligarchy’s evasions of their obvious treason against the People.
With present technology we could return to direct voting, with an electorate informed by a prominent College of Policy Debate to protect all policy viewpoints, producing commented debate summaries for public access and comment. But we must eliminate oligarchy control of mass media and elections, not a pretty prospect historically.
Wonderful series on Assange written by Lissa Johnson:
The truth is becoming painful to read. A mother being silenced trying to protect her son.
I wish all those can feel through her heart what they are doing for the love of god.
Here is an article that looks at one of Google’s recent patent applications:
Thanks to recent moves by the U.S.-based technocracy, it is extremely clear that George Orwell was one of the most prescient men of the twentieth century.
Twitter has proved again it can’t be trusted
They banned an account by a feminist who said women are not men because somehow that is now hate speech against transgender men who are now competing against women in sports and the workplace.Its just a biology.A fact.
These “social media” platforms are getting more Orwellian by the day.
As for the Hildabeast and Bolt-on they’re just confirming their credentials as totalitarian control freaks who despise free-speech, citizens rights, transparency, accountability and democracy.
My sympathies go to Mrs Assange, who is quite naturally exercising her maternal instincts for the protection of her child.
Democratic societies should protect whistle-blowers who expose wrong doings.
Mrs. Assange said the truth when she pointed out the fascist tendencies of this 100% evil individual. Truth hurts when exposed to the masses. Truth hurts when the reaction is so swift. Yet there is no denying what is true.
Regarding “this 100% evil individual” I’m not disagreeing with you about that but wonder what you have to say about the President whom in 2010 did THIS…..
“In July 2010, one month before the Swedish investigation began, the FBI had opened its own investigation into Wikileaks, partnering with the Department of Defense and the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. The investigation soon became a “whole of government operation”, taking in the DIA, the DoJ, the CIA, various divisions of the Army, the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and numerous arms of the national security state.
In tandem with this FBI-led operation, in 2010 Julian Assange was placed on a “manhunting target list” by the NSA, and a Grand Jury was convened, in the Eastern District of Virginia. A “war room” was also established, under the direction of a Brigadier General at the DIA, involving a “suite of government offices not far from the Pentagon”, where “120 intelligence analysts, FBI agents, and others” worked “24 hours a day, seven days a week — on the frontlines of the government’s secret war against WikiLeaks”.
Fortunately for that secret war, all eyes were on Sweden at the time.
But why the whole-of-government investigation? What had Wikileaks done to provoke this? Was someone’s life or safety at risk?…”
I have posted here many times in the past my feelings on the scoundrel led shenanigans of the previous President. He, along with his un-elected predecessor, started the witch hunt of/on all of us. Also instigated with the help of the CIA director. You could look it up. Also wish to add that I should have said fascistic tendencies.
So many on the Trump side forget that Russia, a foreign adversary, was HELPING THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN. Does that not click with any of you??? Putin and Russia were helping TRUMP, not Clinton. So! Using normal, everyday common sense, it was inevitable that they investigated TRUMP. The DOJ would not have bothered if there were no smoke coming out of that group of criminals (30-something indictments was it?) In the end, they weren’t able to pin collusion against Trump because, as has been the case, Putin has been playing chess while the US has been playing Solitaire. I look forward to seeing Trump burn in criminal courts after he loses the presidential election by a landslide.