At some point, the U.S. people, and those they elect to higher office need to bring Twitter in line with the ideals and values Americans collectively espouse when it comes to free speech and online identity protection.
By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News
Monday, April 4, 2022: It was, from my point of view, just another day in the life of @RealScottRitter—my Twitter “handle.” I had a phone call scheduled with the editor of a publication I write for where we would discuss topics for a weekly column I was responsible for. I was also under deadline for another article I was writing for a second outlet that published my work, and was preparing a pitch to a third platform for another article. Such is the lot of a freelance writer—it is literally publish or perish.
Part of my routine is to watch the news and keep up to speed on breaking events. This usually involves sitting in an overstuffed arm chair surfing news channels using a remote while simultaneously monitoring the various news feeds and social media applications on my smart phone. On this morning I was monitoring the breaking news out of the Ukrainian town of Bucha, north of Kiev, where the bodies of civilians had been discovered strewn along a major thoroughfare.
The Ukrainian government was blaming the Russian troops, while the Russian leadership blamed Ukraine. As usual, getting to the bottom of an issue like this from my vantage point thousands of miles distant from the literal scene of the crime was a mission impossible.
On the television screen before me, the President of the United States was making a live appearance, where he addressed the Bucha killings. “You may remember I got criticized for calling Putin a war criminal,” Biden told the gathered reporters. “Well, the truth of the matter,” he continued, “you saw what happened in Bucha. This warrants him [Russian President Vladimir Putin]—he is a war criminal.”
Biden went on to declare that his administration was gathering evidence for a possible war crimes trial. “We have to gather all the details so this can be an actual—have a war crimes trial,” Biden said. “This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone’s seen it.”
I had just finished an article for Russia Today (RT) on the Bucha incident, and had assembled what I believed to be the available data regarding what had transpired on the ground there. As such, Biden’s words took me by surprise.
The available data coming out of Bucha was ultimately inconclusive but, if anything, strongly suggested Ukrainian culpability, not Russian. The certainty expressed by the President led me to believe that he was privy to classified information otherwise unavailable to the general public.
My curiosity was piqued as much as my ego was pickled—RT had published my article, and now it looked like I might be in the uncomfortable position of having to withdraw my conclusions and correct the record. That, however, was the price of credibility—if you are wrong, say so, correct the mistake, and move on.
Shortly after Biden spoke, however, my cellphone alerted me to a Reuters article with a headline proclaiming, “Pentagon can’t independently confirm atrocities in Ukraine’s Bucha, official says.” The article quoted an unnamed “senior defense official”, speaking on condition of anonymity, that “the Pentagon can’t independently and single handedly confirm that, but we’re also not in any position to refute those claims.”
President Biden doubled down on his previous statement calling Vladimir Putin a war criminal on Monday. He's calling to have Russia removed from the U.N.’s Human Rights Councilhttps://t.co/SEMNrQCKYS
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) April 5, 2022
I turned off the television, and proceeded to spend the next 40 or so minutes researching the available information about the Bucha incident. One of the leading news stories was a New York Times report based upon commercially available imagery which the authors of the article, Malachy Browne, David Botti and Haley Willis, claimed was taken on March 19, 2022, putting a lie to Russian claims that when its troops pulled out of Bucha on March 30, no bodies were present.
However, when I examined the video and still photographs of the Bucha bodies, I was struck by the fact that they didn’t appear to have been left in the street to decompose for two weeks (the bodies were “discovered” by the Ukrainian National Police on April 2.) Bluntly speaking, bodies begin to bloat some 3-5 days after death, often doubling in size. They will remain this way for up to ten days, before they burst, spilling a puddle of putrid liquid into the ground around the corpse.
In comparing The New York Times’ image with the video of the bodies on the ground, I was struck by a scene in the movie My Cousin Vinny, where Vincent Gambini, a streetwise New York lawyer played by Joe Pesci, cross examined a witness on the issue of the preparation of Grits. “Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than on any place on the face of the earth? Well perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist on your stove!”
All I could do is stare at the satellite image and the bodies and wonder if the esteemed journalists of The New York Times expected their audience to suspend belief for a moment and accept that the laws of biology that govern the decomposition of human remains were suspended in Bucha.
The available evidence that could be extracted from the images from Bucha showed bodies that by appearance appeared to have been killed within 24-36 hours of their discovery—meaning that they were killed after the Russians withdrew from Bucha. The exact time of death, however, could only be determined after a thorough forensic medical examination.
Many of the bodies had white cloth strips tied to their upper arm, a visual designation which indicated either loyalty to Russia or that the persons did not pose a threat to Russians. The bodies that lacked this white cloth often had their hands tied behind their backs with white cloth that appeared similar to that which marked the arms of the other bodies.
Near to many of the bodies were the green cardboard box adorned with a white star which contained Russian military dry rations that had been distributed to the civilian population of Bucha by Russian troops as part of their humanitarian operations.
In short, the evidence suggested that the bodies were of civilians friendly to, or sympathetic with, Russia. It would take a leap of faith to conclude that Russian troops gunned these unfortunate souls down in cold blood, as alleged by the Ukrainian government.
On April 2, an article appeared in an official Ukrainian government website, LB.ua, entitled “Special forces regiment ‘SAFARI’ began to clear Bucha of saboteurs and accomplices of Russia.” According to the article, “Special forces began clearing the liberated, by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, city of Bucha of the Kiev region from saboteurs and accomplices of Russian troops.” According to the article, the Safari Regiment was comprised of personnel from various special police units, including the Rapid Operational Response Unit and the Tactical Operational Response Police.
There was other information—a video where a Ukrainian official warns the citizens of Bucha that on April 1 a “cleansing operation” was going to be conducted in Bucha, and that the citizens should remain indoors and not to panic. Another video, also from April 1, purported to show members of the Safari Regiment shooting civilians who were not wearing the blue distinguishing armbands signifying loyalty to the Ukrainian cause.
By the evening of April 5, I believed I had more than enough information to try and put forth a counter-narrative to the one being pushed by The New York Times and President Biden, namely that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for the Bucha killings.
“The Ukrainian National Police,” I composed on Twitter, “committed numerous crimes against humanity in Bucha.” Drawing on the precedent of the Nuremburg International Military Tribunal established at the end of the Second World War to prosecute Nazi war criminals, I then went on to state that “Biden, in seeking to shift blame for the Bucha murders onto Russia, is guilty of aiding and abetting these crimes. Congratulations, America…we’ve created yet another Presidential war criminal!”
At 9:42 p.m. I hit “send,” and the deed was done.
As far as Twitter metrics go, this tweet didn’t do so badly—5,976 “likes”, 2,815 retweets, and 321 comments, for a total of what Twitter calls 265,098 “impressions.”
It also got me suspended from Twitter.
Scott Ritter has been banned *again*. Here is the tweet in question and their reasoning: pic.twitter.com/lfljkKA2Sp
— Richard Medhurst (@richimedhurst) April 10, 2022
The next day, April 6, at 11:57 a.m., I received an email from Twitter Support, notifying me that my account, @RealScottRitter, “had been suspended for violating Twitter Rules,” specifically for violating rules against abuse and harassment. “You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone or incite other people to do so. This includes wishing or hoping that someone experiences physical harm.”
I re-read the tweet in question, wondering how anyone could possibly interpret its contents as violating the rules cited by Twitter Support. Who had I harassed or incited others to harass? I followed the procedures to appeal the suspension and went on with my daily routine—minus the part where I interact with the people I follow, and those who followed me, on Twitter.
My suspension caught the eye of several people who follow my tweeting activity. Several of these people reached out to inquire as to what happened and were as confused as I was over the grounds cited by Twitter for the suspension.
The end result of this was a very heart-warming grass-roots protest against the Twitter decision to suspend my account of such intensity, that one had to believe it caught the eye of one of the Twitter bureaucrats tasked with monitoring the temperature in Twitterdom. On April 6, at 11:54 p.m., I received an email from Twitter Support notifying me that “After further review, we have unsuspended your account as it does not appear to be in violation of the Twitter Rules.”
Life, it seemed, could return to normal, with me safely ensconced in my overstuffed arm chair, frantically working the controls to the television remote while monitoring my all-important, and recently restored, Twitter account.
Nothing good, however, lasts forever.
I went to sleep on Saturday night, April 9, content that all was well in the world. I woke up to find yet another email from Twitter Support notifying me that my Twitter account had, yet again, been suspended. The offending tweet this time pre-dated the original alleged rule-breaker by three days.
On April 3, sometime prior to 7:16 p,m., Matt Gallagher, an Iraq War veteran-turned author who uses the Twitter handle @MattGallagher0, had tweeted out a tweet that has since been deleted. I took umbrage at Gallagher’s remarks and tweeted the following reply:
“The Marines [murdered] more Iraqis in Haditha than the Russians killed Ukrainians in Bucha, for the simple fact that Haditha wasn’t a case of false flag mass murder. Bucha, on the other hand…”
Once again, I was accused of violating Twitter’s rules against abuse and harassment.
I repeated the appeals process, spelling out my position in detail. “The tweet you have singled out,” I wrote, “is a response to a tweet that has since been deleted by its author, so it is difficult to put it into its full context.”
My understanding of the now deleted tweet is that its author, @mattgallagher0, made the argument that the U.S. had not engaged in acts of violence against civilians similar to what Russia had been accused of in Bucha. My response, which you have flagged for suspension, pointed out, factually, that the U.S. Marine Corps had actually murdered more innocent civilians in Haditha (my tweet inadvertently left out the word ‘murdered’). I then pointed out that the Haditha case had actually been prosecuted, meaning it wasn’t a false flag incident.
I then reiterated my long-standing position that Bucha was a false-flag event where the Ukrainian National Police carried out the murder of Ukrainian civilians and that the blame for these deaths is being wrongly transferred onto Russia (i.e., a ‘false flag’).
This tweet is fact based, expressing a point of view derived from a consistent fact set, and in no way constitutes harassment or abuse. Likewise, this tweet does not wish or hope that anyone experiences physical harm. No rules have been broken. Please restore my account to its full capacity as soon as possible.
Twitter Support replied to my appeal, noting that “it looks like this is connected with your original case, so we’ve added it to that first report. We’ll continue our review with this information. If you have more details you think we should know, please respond to this email to send them our way. We appreciate your help!”
.@RealScottRitter was suspended from Twitter for expressing an opinion opposite to the official version of events in Bucha. @Twitter can’t acknowledge it censors opinions contradicting the mainstream US line, so it justifies Ritter’s suspension on grounds he engaged in “abuse” pic.twitter.com/GdN5FqcvMy
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) April 11, 2022
Concepts of Free Speech
I was flummoxed, to say the least. I fired off a reply to Twitter Support. “Just a reminder,” I wrote,
“that you decided in my favor in the original case, and lifted the suspension imposed then. How this can be a continuation of an already resolved issue is disconcerting, to say the least. Please lift this current suspension, since no rules have been violated, and fix whatever issue within your system, whether human or algorithm, which flags my tweets on the basis of somehow being connected to a past case that had been resolved in my favor.”
The silencing of any voice, let alone one which had gained a semblance of traction in the national debate about the war in Ukraine (one of my threads assessing Russian military operations had gone viral, amassing some 1,639,386 “impressions”), should be a disturbing event for all those who claim to respect the concepts of free speech enshrined by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
U.S. courts have often struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech when it comes to social media platforms such as Twitter. A recent case, Knight First Amendment Institute v. Donald J. Trump, has argued that Twitter’s actions in blocking an account represent a violation of the First Amendment, which on the face of it, seems like a legally questionable assertion, given that the First Amendment only protects free speech from government infringement.
The argument in support of this position holds that Twitter is essentially a state actor, and as such bound by the First Amendment. According to this line of thinking, a private corporation can be classified as a state actor if it has been working with the government, either from collusion or coercion, to accomplish the state’s agenda.
Such an exception is important because it stops the government from simply using private businesses to accomplish otherwise unconstitutional goals. Indeed, in Norwood v. Harrison (1973), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the government “may not induce, encourage, or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.”
The extent to which Twitter qualifies as a state actor has not been fully tested in the U.S. court system. A key element to any such consideration would be the degree to which the various congressional hearings, which have been convened for the purpose of chastising the CEO’s of social media companies including Twitter for allowing disinformation to be posted in forums they control, is congressional pressure that, it can be argued, rises to the level of inducement to violate speech otherwise protected by the First Amendment.
If Twitter is found to be acting as a de facto “state actor”, then, under the First Amendment, it may not exclude speech or speakers from the [public] forum on the basis of viewpoint, a point driven home by the Supreme Court in its decision in Hartman v. Moore (2006), which affirms that “the First Amendment prohibits government officials from subjecting an individual to retaliatory actions…for speaking out.”
The bottom line is that Twitter’s suspension of my account on the basis of activity Twitter itself has determined did not violate its rules, runs dangerously afoul of First Amendment free speech protections.
Fake Scott Ritter
It would be one thing if Twitter stopped at simply trampling my First Amendments rights. But the icing on the cake, so to speak, regarding the insanity that is the brain-dead world of Twitter policy, was revealed to me when, on April 12, I was approached by people on another social media platform noted for its ability to censor free speech—Facebook/Meta—who asked me if I was back on Twitter. “Hi Scott,” this person asked. “Are you on Twitter? If so, what exact name/moniker is it? I got people who follow your work asking.”
I responded by noting that “I’m currently banned, awaiting resolution of an appeal. But when I’m not banned, my Twitter is @RealScott Ritter.”
This individual wrote back. “Scott, it appears there is a new account using your name…I have a friend checking it out and says there are followers gaining fast.”
I investigated the issue, and sure enough, there it was: @NewScottRitter. Same profile set up, same photographs—the cover art for my new book, Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika, and the iconic image of U.S. inspectors posing with the U.S. flag outside the gate of a Soviet missile factory in Votkinsk.
“Scott Ritter—new account for @RealScottRitter,” it proclaimed. “Banned from Twitter for speaking the truth Formerly @RealScottRitter.”
Joined in April 2022, the page noted, and already had 5,394 followers (as of Wednesday morning).
I knew it was fake. I joined in July 2018, and it took me three years to accumulate 4,000 followers.
A quick review of the Twitter content made it clear that this was no parody account, and that someone was using my name and identity to promulgate policy issues, such as Hunter Biden’s laptop, that I assiduously avoid.
I reached out to Twitter through their online help platform, where I filed a complaint about someone impersonating me. “My account, @RealScottRitter”, I wrote, “is currently suspended. I have appealed this suspension. I have been informed by others that a new account, @NewScottRitter, has emerged, pretending to be me. It is not, and should be removed from Twitter as soon as possible.”
As a parting shot to the insanity of my current suspension, I closed with, “The sooner you lift the unjustified suspension of my account, the less opportunity will exist to impersonate me on your platform.”
Twitter responded in short order, asking me to verify that I was, in fact, Scott Ritter. To do this, I had to provide an image of a government issued photo identification. Twitter got my current New York driver’s license, which still uses the photograph from my first New York State driver’s license, issued back in 1992.
The 1990’s haircut and oversized eyewear notwithstanding, Twitter seemed to accept my submission as de facto proof that I was, indeed, the real Scott Ritter. I waited for justice to prevail, and the fake New Scott Ritter to be unceremoniously kicked off Twitter for impersonating me.
It was not to be.
Twitter replied, having taken all of one hour to review this issue (my suspension, by way of comparison, was closing in on its 96th hour of review.)
“We have an update about @NewScottRitter,” the email from Twitter Support announced, providing me with the case number. “We investigated the reported account,” the email read, “and determined it is not in violation of Twitter’s misleading and deceptive identities policy.”
My jaw literally hit the floor.
“In order for an account to be in violation of the policy,” the email continued, “it must portray another person or business in a misleading or deceptive matter. For more information, please make sure to read and understand our full policy.”
I dutifully clicked the link provided by Twitter, and was taken to a page that read “Misleading & Deceptive Identities.”
“You may not,” the page started, “impersonate individuals, groups, or organizations to mislead, confuse, or deceive others, nor use a fake identity in a manner that disrupts the experience of others on Twitter.”
I may be a simple Marine, but @NewScottRitter literally starts off by proclaiming “I’m back on Twitter!” Who, if not the real Scott Ritter, was the new Scott Ritter purporting to be? There is no other way to read “I’m”, literally “I am”, to mean anything other than “I”, meaning “me.”
“We want Twitter to be a place where people can find authentic voices,” the policy continues. How nice. “That means one should be able to trust that the person or organization featured in an account’s profile genuinely represents the account owner. While you are not required to display your real name or image on your profile, your account should not engage in impersonation or pose as someone who doesn’t exist in order to deceive others.”
News flash, Twitter Support: @NewScottRitter is using my name and image to deceive over 5,000 people that “he” is “me.” If that doesn’t fit the definition of “impersonation,” nothing does.
“Accounts that use deceptive identities can create confusion, as well as undermine the integrity of conversations on Twitter.”
You mean like when I have people contacting me on Facebook/Meta to find out if the person their friend is interacting on Twitter is really me?
“For this reason, you may not misappropriate the identity of another person, group, or organization, or create a fake identity for deceptive purposes.”
Unless, of course, you’re misappropriating the identity of Scott Ritter. Then it’s fair game.
Twitter Support then went on to explain what it defines as a “misleading or deceptive identity.”
“One of the main elements of an identity on Twitter is an account’s profile, which includes a username (@handle), account name, profile image, and bio.”
For example, @RealScottRitter uses my real name, a profile image of a real book I really authored accompanied by a real photograph of the real me with real inspectors outside a real Soviet missile factory holding a real U.S. flag, backed up by a real bio that informed the reader that I was a “former United Nations Weapons Inspector, former Marine Corps Intelligence Officer, author, and analyst.”
“An account’s identity is deceptive under this policy,” Twitter Support notes, “if it uses false profile information to represent itself as a person or entity that is not associated with the account owner, such that it may mislead others who use Twitter. Deceptive identities may feature the likeness of another person or organization in a manner which confuses others about the account affiliation.”
When Twitter suspended me, I was put on notice that any effort to bypass the suspension by creating a new account was prohibited. I made it clear to Twitter that I was currently serving a suspension under appeal. As such, one would think that, when I declared that the account @NewScottRitter was not in any way, shape, or form affiliated with me, the real Scott Ritter, that it was, by definition, using “false profile information to represent itself as a person or entity that is not associated with the account owner.”
The fact is that people out in Twitterdom who had followed me when I was able to tweet under my actual account were, in fact, confused by the existence of this fake account.
Twitter’s rules are very specific about what sort of behavior is prohibited under its rules regarding “Misleading & Deceptive Identities.” For instance: “You can’t pose as an existing person, group, or organization in a confusing or deceptive manner.”
You can’t use “stolen profile pictures”, particularly those depicting other people. This, apparently, is a big no-no in Twitterdom. “One of the main factors in our review,” Twitter Support proclaims, “is whether a profile uses an image that depicts another person or entity.”
For instance, a picture of a book cover with the name “Scott Ritter” emblazoned on it, or a picture of a group photo where Scott Ritter features prominently. “If we find evidence that demonstrates an unauthorized use of an other’s image (such as from a valid report from the individual or organization depicted), we will then assess whether the profile image is used in a misleading or deceptive manner.”
Twitter Support then describes the next step—determining whether the account is intended to deceive others. “We are most likely to take action if an account falsely claims to be the entity portrayed in the profile photo.”
A quick review of @NewScottRitter has the fake me claiming to be the real me by using my stolen profile images and then declaring “I’m back” after being “Banned from Twitter for speaking the truth.”
Twitter allows exceptions to its policy if the profile in question contains “context that indicates the account is not affiliated with the subject of the profile image, as with parody, commentary, or fan accounts.”
A cursory review of @NewScottRitter contains nothing that would remotely fit this description. According to Twitter’s own rules, the account @NewScottRitter represents a flagrant violation of its “Misleading & Deceptive Identities” policies.
Unless, of course, the account you are seeking to deceive others about belongs to the real Scott Ritter.
Dissent will not be tolerated. Former U.S. weapons inspector Scott Ritter @RealScottRitter – who helped expose the fake #WMD pretext for U.S. atrocities committed against the people of #Iraq – has been blocked by #Twitter pic.twitter.com/ConAmxntxb
— tim anderson (@timand2037) April 6, 2022
I reside in the State of New York. In 2008, New York amended its Internet impersonation law (section 190.25 of the Penal Law) by adding Subdivision 4, making it a crime to impersonate another person by electronic means, including through use of a website, with the intent to obtain a benefit or injure or defraud another person.
Internet impersonation, it turns out, is a Class A misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and a one-year term of imprisonment for each violation or act of impersonation. According to the law firm of Hunton, Andrews, Kurth, the law covers “social networking sites … that make it easy to upload someone else’s photo and pretend to be that person.” The law is designed to deter cases of “misrepresenting oneself through the use of the Internet.”
I’m not a lawyer, I don’t play one on television, and I didn’t spend the night at a Holiday Inn Express, so my legal opinion is worth less than the paper it would be written on. Having said that, I believe someone who impersonates through deception for purposes not directly related to parody or commentary can be found to have engaged in behavior which has the real potential to injure or defraud another person.
How one defines injury from a legal perspective is a job best left to lawyers, but I would imagine that issues such as reputation and financial harm would qualify. How do you gauge reputation online? I don’t really know.
What I do know is that I have done my best to be assiduous with the facts when it comes to tweeting about issues of importance, especially when those issues fall under the umbrella of topics that my life’s experience lends some credibility to when commenting on them—arms control, military affairs, Russian and Middle Eastern relations, intelligence, and national security. One metric which is popularly used to measure the impact, or “clout,” of a given account is the number of followers one attracts.
Building a “following” was never on my mind when engaging on Twitter—it just happened. I do my best to interact responsibly with the people I follow, and with those who follow me. Twitter, like most social media platforms, has an addictive quality that lends itself to becoming an integral part of one’s daily routine—check your twitter account, see what’s happening and, if the topic lends itself to it, participate in the on-line conversation by contributing tweets of your own. I would also post articles I had written that were published on other platforms, as well as links to interviews I had given.
Why Go on Twitter?
One of my reasons for joining Twitter was to contribute to the overall process of engaging in responsible debate, dialogue, and discussion about issues of importance in my life and the lives of others, in order to empower people with knowledge and information they might not otherwise have access to, so that those who participate in such interaction, myself included, could hold those whom we elect to higher office accountable for what they do in our name.
To me, such an exercise is the essence of democracy and, for better or for worse, Twitter had become the primary social media platform I used to engage in this activity.
From my perspective, credibility is the key to a good Twitter relationship. I follow experts on a variety of topics because I view them as genuine specialists in their respective fields (I also follow several dog and cat accounts because, frankly speaking, dogs and cats make me laugh.) People follow me, I assume, for similar reasons. Often I find myself in in-depth exchanges with people who follow me, or people I follow, where reasoned fact-based discourse proves beneficial to both parties, as well as to those who are following the dialogue.
Before my Twitter account was suspended, I had close to 95,000 “followers.” I’d like to believe that the majority of these followed me because of the integrity and expertise I brought to the discussion.
Having someone hijack my identity and seek to resurrect my suspended account by appealing to those who had previously followed me can only be damaging to whatever “brand” I had possessed that managed to attract a following that was pushing 100,000. When one speaks of injury, one cannot ignore the fact that reputations can be injured just as much as the physical body.
Indeed, while a body can heal itself, reputations cannot. The fact that Twitter has facilitated the wrongful impersonation of me and my Twitter account makes it a party to whatever damage has been accrued due to this activity.
A Law Unto Itself
Land of the free pic.twitter.com/3bzYAW7h6R
— Wyatt Reed (@wyattreed13) April 13, 2022
It is not as though Twitter can, or ever will, be held accountable for such actions. Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934, enacted as part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), holds that internet platforms that host third-party content — think of tweets on Twitter—are not (with few exceptions) liable for what those third parties post or do.
Like the issue of Freedom of Speech, the concept of holding Twitter accountable for facilitating the fraudulent misappropriation of a Twitter user’s online identity is a legal bridge too far. Twitter, it seems, is a law unto itself.
My Twitter War came to an end today when I received an email from Twitter Support proclaiming that “Your account has been suspended and will not be restored because it was found to be violating the Twitter Terms of Service, specifically the Twitter Rules against participating in targeted abuse,” adding that “In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs on our platform, we do not tolerate abusive behavior. This includes inciting other people to engage in the targeted harassment of someone.”
This ruling, it seems, is not appealable.
At some point in time, the U.S. people, and those they elect to higher office to represent their interests, need to bring Twitter in line with the ideals and values Americans collectively espouse when it comes to issues like free speech and online identity protection.
If Twitter is to be absolved of any responsibility for the content of ideas expressed on its platform, then it should be treated as a free speech empowerment zone and prohibited from interfering with speech that otherwise would be protected by law.
The U.S. Constitution assumes that society will govern itself when deciding the weight that should be put behind the words expressed by its citizens. Thus, in a nation that has outlawed slavery and racial discrimination, organizations like the Klu Klux Klan are allowed to demonstrate and give voice to their odious ideology.
America is a literal battlefield of ideas, and society is better for it. Giving voice to hateful thought allows society to rally against it and ultimately defeat it by confronting it and destroying it through the power of informed debate, discussion, and dialogue; censoring hateful speech does not defeat it, but rather drives it underground, where it can fester and grow in the alternative universe created because of censorship.
In many ways, my Twitter Wars represent a struggle for the future of America. If Twitter and other social media platforms are permitted to operate in a manner that does not reflect the ideals and values of the nation, and yet is permitted to mainstream itself so that the platform controls the manner in which the American people interact when it comes to consuming information and ideas, then the nation will lose touch with what it stands for, including the basic precepts of freedom of speech that define us as a people.
Mainstreaming censorship is never a good idea, and yet by giving Twitter a free hand to do just that, the American people are sowing the seeds of their own demise.
Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Everyone should consider Twitter’s actions as a strong invitation to not use the platform. As long as people count on these corporate giants to be the gatekeepers of discourse, there will be no freedom of speech. It is like counting on the NYT or CNN to give you the whole story, considering that lying by omission is their greatest strength. Now we don’t just get omission of critical information, we get omission of voices, which will only get worse as corporations desperately try to mis-manage public narratives at the behest of the government. There is a choice that people can make; stop using corporate-owned social networks. Let them become echo chambers for the corporations. Communicate by other means.
why does everyone moan about twitter?its hardly a discussion site. its more BS.
Scott, don’t let these pricks screw you around too much. Lawyer up big time (I’m sure there are some brilliant ones out there who have their heads on straight, who might even work pro bono), and make them pay through the nose. Of course the justice shitstem would probably be stacked against you, as well. I don’t tweet and haven’t visited FB for about three years. I’m waiting for Jim Jarmusch to bring out a new movie, “Down By Algorithm”.
Mr. Ritter, I’ve seen you as a voice of sanity since the Saddam’s WMD hoax. However, I am somewhat surprised by your reference to “the ideals and values Americans collectively espouse…”. Those ideals were long gone before Twitter existed, and dare I say long gone before the WMD hoax. Politicians, long, long ago have turned “ideals and values” into a malleable concept to fit whatever topic they wanted. Unfortunately, there is a very large portion of the American public that buys into those distractions. “Freedom fries” anyone?
Keep up the good work.
I’m suprised Scott lasted as long as he did on state media. The bottom line is that Twitter is not useful as an information source. There is no point in trying to use it for legitimate communication. It was designed to shape opinion and divide societies. It was designed as a regime overthrow tool for the color revolutons, a strategy Russia has now checkmated.
Scott Ritter claims that the Bucha attack is a false flag by Ukraine’s forces and his proof is that the bodies left there were not bloated. That is not convincing evidence because it’s well known that bodies don’t bloat when the weather is cold. And the temperature in Bucha has consistently been below 4 degrees Celsius for the last few weeks—hence no bloat.
Simply not true. The weather between March 19 and April 2 during the day hovered between 40 and 60 degrees, in damp conditions ideal for decomposition. At night the temperatures hovered between 27 degrees and the high 40’s. A simple check of the actual temperatures, as opposed to relying on historical averages, would better inform you as to the ground truth.
Past Weather in Bucha, Ukraine.
The videos of Bucha streets strewn with dead bodies caught my attention. Like you said, there was no bloat or puddles of putrid body fluids. true, however I also noticed that their skin still had color. When people die, they change color due to lack of oxygenated blood in their skin.
Ritter’s travails are interesting (and disturbing) under any circumstances. They are particularly interesting in light of Musk’s possible acquisition of Twitter.
Whether that will happen, and if Musk proved to be the free speech advocate he claims to be are unknown.
However the Kafkaesque events described in this article underscore the threats that Twitter and it’s ilk pose to democracy.
Today’s news on ZH shows Elon Musk offering $$s to buy out Twitter. This has raised a huge storm because there are multi-billionaires who own parts of Twitter. That includes Larry Fink of Black Rock, a Saudi man, State Street Bank (a huge US Bank) and many, many others.
Twitter officials are looking atMusk’s offer, but we don’t know what will become of the offer……Musk is saying, he wants Twitter to stop banning people like Scott Ritter and many others. If he ends up buying Twitter out, supposedly “free speech” will return with far less restrictions.
Two days ago, Twitter banned a top world journalist: Pepe Escobar. We’ve been reading him and listening to his interviews for years.
But because he’s pro Eurasia, China, Russia – the entire Eurasian economic inroads that have been made for years now, Pepe has been banned.
It’s either we quit Twitter, or we start using Telegram.
Twitter will reject it and employ poison pill tactics because Twitter is not a real business. Then shareholders are free to sue the board and executives for fiduciary irresponsibility and will win.
From the article: ““We have an update about @NewScottRitter,” the email from Twitter Support announced, providing me with the case number. “We investigated the reported account,” the email read, “and determined it is not in violation of Twitter’s misleading and deceptive identities policy.”
The above quote is so bizarre that it is hard to believe Twitter used but it did because it knew it could and should.
There is a relationship between the way the powerful deal with free speech and the way they deal with the matter of who decides who should be tried as war criminals, where Biden called Putin a war criminal (with a straight face) in an article that appeared earlier.
Sadly, and tragically, we can conclude it is for the victors to decide who are the war criminals, and for the powerful to determine what is free speech.
Will it reach a point where the corruption is so bad that the pressures to reform are so great that change s possible? If it does, let us hope the cure is not worse than the disease.
Freedom of speech, indeed. Meanwhile the account of the Nazi Azov stays unsuspended and Twitter lets them to whine about how hungry, tired and miserable they are. And how the “bad Russians used a chemical weapon that we don’t know which weapon exactly though” that affected…only 3 of them. Imagine Hitler complaining about him treated “unfairly” by Soviet Army. The worse part is that there are a lot of their followers and sofa “warriors” that are either, pardon, too dumb to see the reality or they are the Nazi/Nazi’s sympathizers themselves.
Stay strong, Mr. Ritter! You are brave and you are a fighter of a rare kind – a fighter who understands what he fights for, what he defends and what’s at stake for this world. Thank you for your honesty, integrity and professionalism! Looking forward for your new insights.
Mr. Ritter should sue Twitter for $2B and make a big splash to get his story out in MSM. I am sure MSM will try to smear him but at least this story needs to be out there. Until Americans stop using FB and Twitter, this abuse will continue. Our government will not act to correct this. In fact they will use these private entities to do their dirty deeds. It matters not which party is in power.
As long as you have lots of money, in the tens of thousands, lying around, sure – go ahead and sue Twitter. Good luck to that.
Why should Ritter spend even a dime in legal disputes? All he is doing is to try and inform people. You don’t have to believe him, and if you don’t, no one should have the right to ban another individual from speaking their mind.
Scott Ritter, you are the quitescence of the warrior that uses the sword of intellect to descriminate between truth and lies, demonstrate a love of our country, and possess the bravery to take a principled stand, regardless of the forces arrayed against you, in order to shine a light where dark, unprincipled forces lurk to extinguish truth and fan the flames of war and hate. You are now the world’s weapons inspector where lies are the real WMD. Helluva tough job, glad it’s you at the front.
That building in San Francisco is the old Twitter headquarters. I know this because I worked at Kabam that took over the top floor of the building just after Twitter left, 2012 or so (going from memory)? Twitter moved to another building in San Francisco.
“Twitter moved to another building in San Francisco.” Tweeter moved to a 1973 Art-Deco building across Market Street from SF’s Civic Center and the Tenderloin neighborhood. For their participation in urban renewal, Tweeter got a tax break of untold million$.
** 1937, sorry
Great example of how utterly corrupt Twitter is – but I always thought it was a recipe for stupidity. Why does everyone depend on that one outlet? Downright irresponsible.
Otherwise, i see a problem with the armband story; first, i don’t see a source for the meaning of the colors. Second, and more important: why would anyone leave a white armband on when they know the Ukrainians are taking over.? And by the same token, why would anyone wear a blue one when the Russians are in charge? Stealth is the essence of effective resistance.
That said, it’s perfectly possible that the bodies on the street were the work of Ukrainian police but the bodies in the mass graves were the work of Russian occupiers. We don’t presently have anyone objective on the scene, and I think it’s pretty obvious there aren’t any angels, or anyone particularly trustworthy, involved in that mess.
And his account of the occupation of Chernobyl doesn’t make sense, either: according to eyewitnesses (the admittedly Ukrainian technicians), the Russians had no idea what they were dealing with and may have caused releases.
That said, Chernobyl is a major liability and Ukraine might not be sad to hand it over to Russia or Belorus. It was the Soviet Union, aka the Russian empire, that created the problem; why should Ukraine be saddled with it forever?
Scott Ritter for President!
Boycott Tweeter. Boycott ALL mainstream media.
Jimmy Dore said it perfectly: “If you can’t do the time, then don’t do your own research.” Liars run the railroad, and truth-tellers are jailed, or socially ostracized.
Just can’t wait for the next elections slogan. ‘Elect us. This time we won’t lie’
Appreciate the article. I have been aware of Scott since the about the first Gulf war, Richard Butler was another.
Also have been following on Twitter and other places for some time.
Fortunately we can still learn from his articles in CN (Thank you)
Apart from the 100.000 on Twitter Scott, there are many more that want to ha ear what you say.
Orthogonal to Twitter’s suspension is someone’s misappropriation of Scott’s name. Since Twitter is in California and California has pretty good laws protecting one’s name and likeness, Scott, you should considering suing John Doe’s 1-10 and Twitter (Twitter at a minimum to obtain the identity of the person controlling that account) in California for the tort of misappropriation of name or likeness.
Like they say, Scott, “Third time is enemy action.”
Ukrainians, like Americans, have a fantasy picture of America. They think it’s a democracy fighting abroad for democracy. As Jimmy Carter said, it’s an oligarchy. And it fights abroad for the oligarchy to steal natural resources. Oil in Iraq and Syria, minerals in Afghanistan, and now oil, gas, minerals, wheat, and timber in Russia. Plus they profit from the wars themselves.
Historically, these war profiteers took control of banking, then the media, then the governments. They are plundering the American people and wrecking America, and they will do the same to the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians should be careful what they wish for.
America can still be rescued, and I thank Scott Ritter and CN profoundly for their efforts to defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic.
Well this seems to prove that twitter is working hand in hand with our phony government to punish dissent. Your record of speaking truth to power evidently terrifies this bunch of phonies.
You need a free speech lawyer, ma bro!
Telegram also has an imposter Scott Ritter (with no hat) who obsesses about BLM, Hunter Biden, and Covid as would be typical of far right or far left chat. It sometimes has links to real articles or videos with Scott. It did not have link to this article today–a masterpiece by Scott, proving it is fake. It has about 1/7 the audience of the real Scott Ritter account (shown wearing a hat).
You know you’re important when imposter accounts appear.
Can you put a link to the article? The one in this article is blocked. Thanks
Chris Hedges and now Scott Ritter ‘deplatformed’. Many may have thought it was ok to do this to D Trump. Even though an empowered Trump would have scrubbed anyone he disagreed with, it was still wrong to shut him up. The fact is, Facebook, u tube and Twitter control everything they ‘publish’ and anyone hoping to send a decent opinion to the masses is wasting his/her time.
FB has blocked me for writing notions explained in Kissinger 2014 article on Ukraine in the Washington Post !. Youtube has ghosted my comments for the same. Twitter, FB, Google are arms of the Pentagon. P.S. As an American I am deeply heartbroken by the USA interventions and machinations around the globe.
ConsortiumNews, please post the Escobar article written about April 10, dealing with Mariupol, the steel plant and the possible biowarfare lab in its basement. And the collection of western military that are/were there.
As someone else pointed out, Escobar has been banned from Twitter, his columns for The Cradle are invisible because Comcast blocks it. Or if someone would like to post it as a comment here, that would be fine.
Tnx CN, Mr Ritter… Enjoyed the Film Quote & the unfortunately Factual Conclusion.
Big (WallSt moneti$ed) Data Strikes Again, Doubly during your account as a member of The Competition Snitches Out some Criminal Imposter!
Then… Uhhh… a Shot of HQ & a question: “Self… Howcome No Watchtowers & Barbed Wire?”
This story goes way beyond censorship. It’s a private corporation knowingly allowing impersonation to smear the reputation of an individual. Should really change the the title accordingly.
Exactly what I was thinking. Whole point is to discredit Mr. Ritter. I wouldn’t be surprised if the new account is handled by a “state” actor.
Pepe was just banned as well as “Russians with Attitude.”
Two invaluable sources of info, poof!, gone in a flash.
I respect Scott and Pepe. After reading Scotts latest above, all I could think of was High School, with the nasty kids running the school newsletter and canteen committee. How far has America sunk? Its sitting on sand and seaweed.
It would be a useful service to post where these banned writers have gone – and make sure we patronize those alternative sources.
How do we know that the author of this excellent piece is the real Scott Ritter and not just someone claiming to be “Real Scott Ritter”
John Rothery (Tauranga)
(or could it be someone claiming to be me? I need another cup of tea)
Where shall I go if I can’t convince the folks here to let me defect to Russia? Should I “follow the white rabbit”?
I recommended that “problematic” tweet and would do so again.
Is there another platform that you recommend other than TWITTER?
I haven’t been able to figure out TELEGRAM….yet….
i don’t know telegram either, but i can’t get RT website on the Internet anymore.i will download the telegram app and see what happens
Another ‘keeper’ article from a great thinker and great communicator.
Re Bucha, the sat. Pics of bodies/dates setup have been exposed as altered evidence.
Re Twitter, well, you are trained, battle not lost.
And following on, Lukashenko made a provocative claim saying he has all the details of the Brit op in Bucha. For what it’s worth.
Kudos! The VALUE of a high degree of personal credibility has greatly diminished in today’s world.
Those in the MSM and “Ministries of Truth” have replaced credibility with “high speed lies” that just keep coming, because they can say/print 25 lies before anyone can prove the first to indeed be a lie. With NO accountability – lies are more profitable than truths.
People are being trained to react NOW to whatever is said, before there is time to analyze and think. IMHO it will be societies undoing.
I and others value the efforts you go to – to maintain your credibility, document your analysis and correct your errors.
Thank you for the great work!
PS. The reason the Twitter Ministry of Truth can do what it has done to you and others is because only they control the rules and the game…….and only they can change or interpret them any way they want, when the want, where they want. They have no legal obligation to be fair or observe any particular rules – kind of follows on with the logic of the US-based “Rules of Order” for the world- We make and change the rules to our needs/desires and everyone else must follow these dictates or else!
Following you since 2021.
We need a running compilation of censoring in the “West”. Could be long or short. Even the short list would likely appall.
We need the compilation to be maintained at whatever remains of inviolate sites.
We need the link at the top of any publication / website / tweet that will post it.
I’ll be sending this suggestion to others.
The work of Chris Hedges and Abby Martin was taken down by YouTube, based, I believe, on their relationship with RT. (RT itself was also taken down).
I think Ritter also is being targeted and suppressed for the RT relationship.
This is way beyond censorship and amounts to a form of Fascism.
Scott and Consortium News,
Thank you for publishing this important news. This is yet another sad tale in the ongoing and worsening policy of censorship being implemented by “our” government both directly and through its various agents, including Big Tech. I am a progressive who has never voted for a Republican for national office. I am also not a fan of the Democratic Party. Party loyalty plays no part in my decision making. I have no party loyalty. I strongly objected to the suspension of Donald Trump’s Twitter account. I was also outraged at the censorship by the MSM and Big Tech, with the help of our corrupt and politicized intelligence agencies (who have in my opinion lost all credibility) of the Hunter Biden laptop story. Now that’s real interference with our elections!
The censorship problem obviously has been created by policy decisions made at the top levels of our government and the oligarchs who actually run the show. It has been worsening year after year, becoming especially prominent with the myriad restraints on our civil liberties in the early 2000s, with 9/11 being used as the pretext. Multiple overfunded and wasteful new agencies were created, the principal purpose being to curtail our civil liberties. I am not convinced that we were made one iota “safer” by this wasteful and profligate expenditure of billions (how many? who really knows?) of dollars. I do know that our greater loss was the loss of a substantial part of our freedoms. “Our” government and all the newly minted spooks created by “our” Congress have since that time freely spied on us, invading our privacy in unaccountable ways and lied to us and the Congress about it. Not one person has been held accountable for these crimes against the people.
Obama then prosecuted a record number of whistleblowers for revelation of US crimes. He did have the sense to refuse to indict Julian Assange on the trumped up Espionage charges invented for that purpose. However, Trump, who had no such sense, filed the indictment. Then Biden decided to continue with the prosecution – what amounts to the ongoing murder of Assange, with the help of US’s favorite vassal, Britain. So much for the proud tradition of the rule of law.
Big Tech is another problem which has been much overstated to suit the establishment narrative in my opinion. Most of the problems which have arisen could be resolved under our existing libel and slander laws. But the establishment, including Big Tech, is using social media to deliver the establishment narrative and to effectively censor, as it has in Scott’s case, counter narratives. As pointed out in the article, this is done not only with the consent, but to some extent at the request of members of Congress. How ironic to see the pseudo progressives in Congress threatening Big Tech if they DO NOT implement more censoring practices.
There is much talk and hand wringing about how divided our Country is but almost no critical analysis about how this has comet to be. I don’t think it is that hard to understand. The fact is that our government has failed, miserably, to act in the interests of the people. Our standard of living has steadily gone down during the last half century, especially beginning with the Reagan administration. Our electoral/political system has been totally corrupted into a legalized bribery system. I have a more vulgar term for it which I will not use out of respect for the editors of Consortium News. Neither political party is willing to reverse the neoliberal economic policies or the disgraceful allocation of funds for the military which have impoverished our Country and its people. Our public assets have largely been stripped away (stolen is a more apt term) by privileged elites who furnish enough bribe money to “our” representatives – all legal, more or less. Both parties like the bribe money and have no intention of giving it up. To keep this system of theft going the elites now have only one real concern, which is that enough people might figure out that the real reason they are living in precarity is not because of the other political party, but because both political parties have betrayed them in favor of the privileged elites (including, of course, the defense contractors who are not celebrating their newest unearned reward of billions more of our dollars for providing more implements of war in what these parasite hope is a very long and protracted war in Ukraine). This fear that enough people will figure out how their lives being ruined by this scam is the main driver of the invented need for more censorship. We the people have very little power to do anything about it. I do thank Scott Ritter and Consortium News for making excellent efforts to keep us informed of the truth. I am grateful to you for doing that.
As good a Public Comment, sir, as I have read on CN.
well written and on target.
I think I can say, without feeling that I am falling down a rabbit hole, that the coincidence of the Ukrainian conflict and the suspension of Scott Ritter’s Twitter account is more than curious. Particularly when the offending Tweet from Mr. Ritter was related to the Ukrainian conflict and ran contrary to the dominant tide of anti-Russian sentiment in the USA. I know that strange coincidences are a natural phenomenon, and I think I understand the mental dynamic that leads to paranoid ideation. With all that in mind, I still reach the conclusion that Twitter has banned Scott Ritter from its platform, not because he violated Twitter policies but rather because his speech on Twitter runs against the dominant attitude of what sort of discourse is socially acceptable. In other words, questioning the barbarity of the Russians is impolite, and questioning the virtue of Ukrainians is obscene.
This is what social media has led to, whatever commercial platform it uses. And I see no reason to believe that the situation will improve.
Censorship of news information is encroaching upon us from multiple directions. Humanity is entering a new Dark Age, and paying for the privilege. I think that is as gently as I can put it.
I agree with your statement. It’s obvious that Twitter doesn’t want knowledgeable people like Scott Ritter exposing their pre-set media lies. How inconvenient of him!
I read the article about George Galloway topping the headlines in the U.K. for threatening to take legal action against Twitter for something similar.
It appears to me there has to be a massive class lawsuit brought against Twitter especially if it is ‘state-affiliated’.
I rather doubt Elon Musk will change Twitter’s unfair censorship practices unless enough attention is brought to this abuse.
Twitter sure openly shows its partisanship when it bans one president and bans journalists for criticising another president from the opposition party.
I get that the Bill of Rights does not protect readers or posters on the Twitter platform, but you would think that the owner/operators of that utility would try to avoid such blatant bias to protect their credibility and maintain their viewership.
Don’t know the veracity of the following and don’t remember the source (I read so many postings every day on the net), but someone supposedly quoted Elon Musk, who is exploring getting into the ownership function of Twitter, as saying that about 50% of the accounts on Twitter are bogus, he called them “bots.” Maybe so, but they must be American bots that exist to sabotage Russia’s interests, not the usual “Russian bots” ascribed to anyone who takes an objective neutral stance and offers their own insights. Can’t count the times I’ve been called a Russian troll or bot. I’m not Russian and certainly not anyone’s bot. The “most patriotic” Americans cannot seem to fathom that there just might be other points of view in this universe besides their own… or rather the one they’ve been programed to accept as their own.
Your first sentence captures the contradictions of selective content moderation decisions by Twitter et al. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the first defender of so-called ‘Sec. 230’ protections of online free speech, has devolved to the point where Twitter is the only real holder of First Amendment rights. That is, that ‘the State’ (Texas, in their amicus brief below) has no rightful power to second-guess Twitter’s own content moderation decisions, or to investigate any of their internal moderation decision mechanisms. Unfortunately, by focusing on Twitter’s post-1/6/21 to ban Trump, EFF is now selectively defending them, not their posters. From their 9th Circuit brief, posted yesterday:
‘The demand subjected Twitter’s internal discussion about content moderation rules or decisions to discovery under the CID and second-guessing by AG Paxton. This put Twitter in a difficult position and pressured it to minimize its legal, reputational, and financial risks by self-censoring along the lines indicated by AG Paxton. Twitter sued Paxton, claiming that he was “abusing his authority as the highest law-enforcement officer of the State of Texas to intimidate, harass, and target Twitter in retaliation for Twitter’s exercise of its First Amendment rights.”’ (Internally cited in this article:)
But bad cases make bad law. Scott Ritter, by this argument, would have no stake to defend. Though he cites a fairly pusillanimous NY state law about the wages of impersonation-type sins, he would lack standing to sue for HIS First Am. rights insofar as Sec. 230 is only about the ‘rights’ of corporate (supposedly ‘neutral,’ ‘free’ etc.) internet forum providers – the same conflation of ‘corporate’ and ‘individual’ rights in the S. Ct’s wrongly decided Citizens’ United holding.
EFF’s position necessarily dichotomizes the interests of ‘private’ and ‘state’ actors. Far more typical of content-moderation decisions today is the case where their interests are conflated, or the corporate forum is in active cahoots with the State. Take this case, where a teenage signup for the USMC came to discover, a la Chelsea Manning, that the US military (and related CIA cutouts such as the NED, National Endowment for Democracy) actively promote the demise of ‘enemy’ states. Brian Berletic was summoned to a US Embassy and issued a cryptic warning, just before his Twitter account was deleted. The parallels with Ritter’s case are uncanny. (A 45-min. video is extremely instructive.)
Hi Scott, thanks for this edifying update. Can you edit the article to add your Telegram handle? There seem to be a bunch of fakes there too. Thanks!
The NewScottRitter account is now gone. I found this out when I clicked on the Twitter recommendation.
This censorship is sooo bad for us!
After reading this I clicked to see the latest news on twitter from @RealPepeEscobar and voila!, he, too was just suspended from twitter.
Pepe Escobar’s posts are available on vkontakte: vk.com/pepeasia
Scott’s article inspired one of my own, reflecting on similar issues from a historian’s perspective. See hxxps://guillermo-calvo-mahe.medium.com/filthy-feet-of-clay-9d068728f01c
While perhaps “not appealable” in Twitterdom (love that term, by the way), this looks like a perfect case to be pursued in the courts. And while Scott certainly has more on his plate than to be bothered with this, I strongly suggest he simply run this article by various law firms/lawyers who would welcome the chance to take the case.
I completely agree. Not a lawyer, but WHERE did Ritter make the violations he has been suspended for? Answer: NOWHERE.
Yes, screw their internal appeals and dispute resolution process – Twitter proved that is a dead end. Take it right to court and make Twitter prove to a jury that Ritter violated the policy as they said. And yes, courts can and do recognize damage to one’s reputation, which can cause real monetary harm.
I am no fan of V. Putin but I have to agree that the US is “An Empire of Lies,” and all the pertinent subjects understand their roles – or else. This situation can not maintain for much longer, the US can’t possibly control and subvert the narrative of real truth globally. It just isn’t possible.
I was one of the people fooled! I am a librarian, and one of the things we support is freedom of speech and citizens’ first amendment rights. I cannot believe you have been permanently banned for engaging in political speech and stating the truth as you saw it. Nowhere in your tweets was there any abuse of anyone.
I simply cannot believe what this country is becoming.
The CEO of Twitter is not from the US (just guessing from his thick accent) so he wasn’t brought up to respect free speech like old Americans were, (can’t imagine what kids were taught after my school days ended). The trampling of our Constitution shows that its popularity has dwindled in favor of selfish ideologies of an ignorant citizenry. I’ll be amazed if Twitter ever becomes the town hall we wish it would be. As time goes by, its value to people that want truth however unpleasant it might be will be zero. Alternatives will come. I hope Panquake does well.
In the meantime, I want to know what Scott is thinking and I hope somebody out there will help him set up a site where he can express his opinions freely and maybe collect some cash for his experience, time and effort.
In my view, Senator McCarthy is alive and well. Censorship and persecution are back with a vengeance. What an ordeal for just posting the truth on Tweeter! In times of war everything becomes scarce, food, truth, etc., except weapons: Weapons of mass destruction and weapons of disinformation. Thank you Scott Ritter for your work.
Twitter has the “NewScottRitter” account listed as someone for me to follow.
This is a clear indictment of Twitter for willful negligence, possibly worse, fraud or collusion in fraud. Almost wish I had a Twitter account to immediately cancel.
My guess is there are hundreds of lawyers itching to bring suit on behalf of the Real Scott Ritter, though rule-of-law in the US has now gone bye-bye. Otherwise the discovery process should put Twitter honchos in orange jumpsuits. That day may be coming.
Thank you Scott Ritter for this detailed accounting of events. How sorry I am for you and all of us. How sorry I am to see my country fallen so low that naked censorship is now orthodoxy.
Noting that another CN contributor, Patrick Lawrence, is still suspended from Twitter and unlikely to be reinstated, and that the issue of online censorship will continue to worsen for outlets like Consortium News:
1) might CN begin (the admittedly long and expensive process) to mount a legal case against Twitter, working with other independent journalists/outlets and reaching out to Glenn Greenwald who, given his legal background and focus on free speech issues, might be willing to assist in some capacity? If so, how can we CN supporters help?
2) is it feasible for CN contributors and readers to mount a strategic boycott and abandon Twitter altogether, undermining Twitter’s monopoly power by using another platform?
These may be ridiculous and unfeasible ideas. That said, I do not think we (the CN community of readers and supporters) can any longer limit the expression of our disgust and outrage to comments but must determine, if possible, a course of meaningful action as a community. Do others agree and have any suggestions?
I’d like to hear any suggestions that you might get, Cara.
what we need to do is transform the political economic system from a private profit focussed capitalism to a public democratically controlled communism to put the people before a person and doing so to justifiably protect the rights of all persons..am angry at having read the whole thing only because of my respect for scott ritter..twitter sounds even dumber than i thought..it’s dreadful for any of us to have to use twitterfacebookwhatever to communicate and exchange ideas thoughts whatever..before radical change can come about maybe we can use email to help get there?if i had ritter’s email i’d send this to him…meanwhile we need to butt out of europe, asia,africa and other nations completely until we create an actual democracy that runs this imbecilic empire with too many good folks who think because we vote we have a democracy..hitler and the nazis did not take over with a gun..they won the vote..and voting is meaningless when we have to vote for represenatives of capitalism, exclusively
Intel Slava Z (pro-Russian, but honestly so) was just blocked by Twitter. People looking for free-speech media platforms shouldn’t be in the position of pinning their hopes on Elon Musk.
Dear Scott, I just recently got your name and am realy glad about your Expertise.
Let’s say, in my opinion there is a goal behind all the lies, but in the end the thruth will win. Meanwhile people get devided, so they are distracted and easier to leed.
There are more and more people waking up though.
It just takes time.
Telegram is the choice at this time.
Who is seeking answers will find them.
Keep going during these turbulent times
Greetings from Germany
What I am saying is, the abuse and harassment is not coming from the original commentator/Poster, but from comments made on that comment/Post. So maybe Twitter should not allow comments. But retweets with comments is ok. Why? That way the real abusers and harassers can be identified quickly and deleted.
Don’t swim in the sewer if you don’t like the smell of sh*t.
Twitter and so many others…’Luegenpresse’…press of lies and social media too.
There’s an argument here that someone smarter than me might want to take on. Twitter like news sources essentially has a comment section. Some news sources have restricted commenting on their sources (Posts, on Twitter) ie. CBC Canada, to prevent harassment of people associated with the news story (again Post). One could possibly say then that Twitter and news Sources know that they are actually, intentional or not, providing a conduit for a catharsis by people of all stripes. So just by being, Twitter and news sources, are the ones actually breaking their own rules, not the authors in the comments sections…..Anyway, as someone would say, just a thought.
On Facebook in a thread discussing the grotesque hypocrisy involved with the different treatment of Ukrainian refugees and ME/African refugees, I posted that the UK was as cruel if not worse in its treatment of refugees than Australia. Got suspended for “hate speech”. We are simply descending into a Dark Age in the leadup to WW3. Dissent is being cancelled and the masses couldnt care less as they swallow ever lie and half truth they are being told. I’m staggered by those of my friends who were totally on board in their disdain for Empire and global state friendly media after 2003 who now cheerfully and uncritically conform to the context free Imperial propaganda message as surely as if theyd been literally hypnotised. I simply wasnt prepared for it. We’re screwed.
Let’s say Donald Trump or Joe Biden, or someone who is actually funny and intelligent makes a speech. When Saturday Night Live does a skit on them, how does the screenwriter and the production staff not go to jail? Because as Scott Ritter said, parody is not a crime.
From the time we are children, we impersonate people we look up to. Children dress up as their favorite superheroes for Halloween. Should they go to jail for wearing a costume that looks too much like the original Frozen characters? What would children do without superheroes, dress up as Hunter Biden?
A hypothetical example. Let’s say there are a group of people commenting on an article at Twitter under a pseudonym. If one pseudonym impersonates another pseudonym in a post as a parody, is that a crime?
What if the poster thought the person they imitated was a pseudonym, but that person thought it represented their real self? In that case it would be a terrible mistake. I just now thought about that case after reading this article. To undermine the credibility of someone who was a borderline pseudonym would be awful, especially if they had a following who depended on them for information. There are stupid people on the Internet, who never grow up, who are excited to see their superheroes and don’t think ahead. Do you think people like that are teachable, or would you give up on them?
If Superman gets mad because someone accurately reproduced his costume, I don’t think it’s a punishable offense, however, if Superman is your superhero and you did not want to offend him, all you can do is say you are sorry and beg for forgiveness.
Scott, Russia is reading you in the Telegram. But unfortunately there are also fakes in your name. At the moment, this is the only social network with freedom of speech. But Telegram is not very popular in the West. Keep talking, we can hear you.
I am put in mind of some of the works of a gentleman named Kafka.
I am put in mind of some of the works of gentlemans named Carroll Quigley or Anthony C. Sutton or E. Griffin.
Obviously, social media is not about free speech, but a platform to promote an ideology, which, frankly, is chipping away at our Constitutional rights. I would assume that if that happens, the Magna Carta would be next. Makes one shudder to think of the profiling on these platforms and it’s future use by an Authoritarian Entity.
While these platforms are about revenue from advertising in addition to profiling, wouldn’t it be a good idea to cease their use in order to “starve the beast”?
I was doxxed with a false abusive account claiming to be me on WORDPRESS, and WordPress when I complained of the impersonation that violates their own terms of services, including causing severe financial and reputational harm, would do nothing about the abuse. These people will do anything – not just canceling you, but actively working to destroy you by active disinformation. The anonymous wokester at WordPress even told me I deserved it. Living by lies, and loving the lying.