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Facebook snuffs out socialist pages, triggers backlash

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[su_panel background="#f1f4f6" color="#1d1919" border="3px dotted #02101f" padding="10" shadow="1px 0px 1px #eeeeee" radius="11" target="blank"]Editor's Note: Late last week Facebook suddenly took down Socialist Workers Party (SWP) pages in the UK, where they have long been very active, and similar pages owned by the US Social Equality Party (SEP), publisher of wsws.org. Both organizations are Trotskyist, seen by the mainstream liberals (and rightwingers) as "far left". Although, as Marxian organizations, both formations often share analyses of major developments, they do not operate jointly in their political actions. As an independent leftist platform, our own publication sometimes reprints materials from wsws.org, when we judge such analyses to be sound, but we do not in general share Trotskyist viewpoints about a number of important subjects, including the nature of the Soviet Union, Stalin, posture toward some international political actors (such as Iran, Syria, China, Russia, Cuba, etc.) and a variety of related strategic and tactical questions.


In this first skirmish between Facebook and the "far left", Facebook apparenty decided to beat a quick retreat and restore the pages previously (and arbitrarily) deleted, but such "victories" should be seen as tentative at best. The ruling class in the thoroughly oligarchic and devious West is just beginning to flex its friendly fascist muscles, while perfecting censorship methods and more refined algorithms. Also, it's worth noting that in this spat something unusal occurred, some leading corporate media—The Financial Times, New York Times, etc.—actually reported the news about this attack on a part of the supposedly free political spectrum. (This is ironic because the same media, especially the NYTimes and WaPo, acting as shills for the Democrat/CIA wing of the ruling class, have led the charge into full censorship of "dangerous" voices using social media platforms, that is against dissenting individuals and organizations not bowing to the increasingly authoritarian "liberal center". It was after all the Democrats and their media who clamored to have top big tech executives dragged before Congress to be jawboned into more aggressive compliance with their idea of purging unwelcome speech).


That they first moved against some obviously obnoxious rightwingers and later Trumpers—the so-called "deplorables"— is a mere hypocritical maneuver to feign "fairness" in their attempt to "cleanse" the public square of "irresponsible" voices. Their real target has always been the real left. The right, after all, mostly comprised of utterly confused people with a conservative temperament, is basically a natural ally for their adventures in imperialism and dedication to inherently inegalitarian capitalism. Events so far have not disproven this assumption. In the near future, as events get more out of control, and as the ruling class perfects its methods of repression once again, "repression under freedom", mind you, especially as it learns to coordinate its variegated media assets, do not expect much (or any at all) reporting by the likes of the New York Times, Financial Times, and others on the abuses of private censors like Facebook or Google and the rest of their ilk.


The global ruling class is currently in disarray, almost in all major centers of Western oligarchic control. In the citadel of the world hegemon itself, the US, there is a split in the ruling class that is far from healed. Trump's removal from the scene will not pacify the waters or make running the empire any easier. Tens of millions of Americans feel —with plenty of reason—that they have been abandoned by the establishment. Despite this, or precisely because of this degree of social anomie and potential disorder,  the oligarchy is more determined than ever to regain full control of the official narrative.  Thus, once the plutocrats complete their circling of the wagons, once the Great Reset is in motion, victims of censorship and myriad other abuses and crimes by the oligarchy will be simply invisible; the violation of their rights shrouded in abject silence or unchallenged distortion. That's why the Assange case is so important for our freedom, and the very possbility of saving this planet from further crimes and depredations at the hands of global capitalism and its tiny elite of happy beneficiaries. Welcome to Orwell 2.0. —Ed [/su_panel]


Facebook escalates attack on socialist left

Update 2:40 PM ET: Due to protests opposing Facebook's purging of the accounts of the University of Michigan chapter of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, the company has backed down. The UM IYSSE’s account has been restored, together with accounts of the administrators. Facebook has provided no explanation for its actions. Remain vigilant. This fight is not over. Further information and political analysis will be posted on the World Socialist Web Site. Please continue to circulate this statement.

Facebook is engaged in an escalating campaign of internet censorship targeting the socialist left. Entire Facebook pages are being taken down, and individual accounts permanently disabled, without any explanation given or recourse allowed.

The latest act of censorship is Facebook’s deletion of the official page of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at the University of Michigan. The IYSSE is the student and youth movement of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP). It has been an official campus student group at UM since 2007, and its Facebook account has been active since 2013.

Both the group’s president and faculty advisor have had their accounts disabled, along with the accounts of six other administrators.


This Oct. 23, 2019, file photo shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Americans should never forget it was the government itself, with the Democrats and their shills in the lead, that promoted the jawboning of Big Tech execs into compliance with a systematic approach to global censorship. The latter, seeing their own class interest in play, readily complied and eventually began to lead the charge themselves.


Those included in the political purge by Facebook include leading members of the SEP in Michigan, where the headquarters of the party is located along with the national editorial office of the World Socialist Web Site. Both Genevieve Leigh, the national secretary of the IYSSE, and Niles Niemuth, the US managing editor of the World Socialist Web Site, have had their accounts deleted. Both are members of the national leadership of the SEP.

More information is beginning to come out of other groups targeted. Facebook has also removed pages and more than one dozen individual accounts associated with Struggle La Lucha and the Socialist Unity Party in the US. Late last week, pages associated with the Socialist Workers Party in the UK were deleted along with the personal accounts of those moderating them. While the main page was restored, many of the pages of local branches and member accounts are still disabled.

These actions by Facebook take place in a definite political context. There is an immense and ongoing political crisis within the US state, a raging pandemic that has killed nearly 430,000 people in the United States, an extreme economic crisis, and growing anger in the working class against the entire policy of the capitalist ruling elite. The ruling class is terrified of the growth of social opposition from below.

Less than three weeks ago, US President Donald Trump incited a fascistic insurrection in Washington DC aimed at overturning the results of the election and abolishing democratic rights. The central targets of Trump’s increasingly frenzied and fascistic statements over the past year have been “socialism” and “Marxism.”

The Democrats, for their part, have come to office under the Biden administration calling for “unity” with the Republican Party. Biden has insisted on the need for a “strong” Republican Party and is opposed to any examination and exposure of the high-level involvement in and support for the fascistic insurrection.

On Sunday, the Washington Post published an article under the headline, “Capitol attack will spur broad crackdown on domestic extremists.” While it refers to right-wing violence as “a disease that seems to have taken hold in the nation’s nervous system,” it is clear from Facebook’s actions that the principal target is not the right, which, in any case, can rely on support from the state and sections of the ruling class. Under the catchall category of “domestic extremism,” the attack will be focused on the left.

The aim is to decapitate socialist opposition to the extreme right. Indeed, the last posts by the IYSSE at UM prior to Facebook’s actions included links to the WSWS online meeting, “Where is America going? Trump’s coup and the rise of fascism,” and the WSWS statements, “The pandemic and Trump’s coup attempt,” “Democrats plead for bipartisanship as the Republicans call for blood,” and “What would have happened if Trump’s fascist mob had seized hostages?

Facebook and other social media companies are not acting alone. They work closely with the state and in particular with the Democratic Party, which is extremely sensitive to and opposed to all manifestations of social opposition from below.

Beginning in 2017, the World Socialist Web Site has exposed and mobilized opposition to the censorship and blacklisting of left-wing and socialist views. This began with the moves by Google to change its search algorithms to promote “authoritative content” and demote “alternative views.” Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has admitted that the World Socialist Web Site was specifically targeted.

Google’s actions were followed by a series of measures by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit and other social media platforms blocking access to and censoring socialist views.

Now, under conditions of unprecedented crisis, the ruling class is escalating its censorship campaign. It is significant that the IYSSE page and SEP leaders first targeted by Facebook are in Michigan, where the SEP and WSWS have a significant influence in the working class. Last March, as the pandemic was beginning its massive spread in the US, autoworkers in Michigan launched wildcat walkouts against being forced to continue working under unsafe conditions.

Articles and statements published by the WSWS calling for a walkout were read by tens of thousands of workers, primarily through Facebook.

The drive toward censorship can be reversed only through the broadest mobilization of opposition among workers, young people and progressive intellectuals and journalists!

The Socialist Equality Party calls for everyone reading this statement to take the following actions:

1. Send statements demanding an immediate reversal of Facebook’s actions to info@support.facebook.com and zuckerberg@fb.com. Send copies of your letters to comments@wsws.org for publication on the World Socialist Web Site.

2. Share this statement as widely as possible with your friends and co-workers and on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Include the hashtag #StopCensoringSocialism.

3. Send to the WSWS any information that you have on the censorship of left-wing individuals and publications by Facebook or other social media companies so that we can publicize and oppose these attacks.

NB: All captions by the editors, not the authors, except where expressly noted.

Facebook sparks anger after shutting socialist pages Platform blames ‘automation error’ after outcry over suspensions


Facebook has faced intensifying questions about its content moderation policies in the aftermath of the 2020 US election

© REUTERS  Jan 25, 2021
Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan in London and Hannah Murphy in San Francisco
Facebook said it had mistakenly removed a number of far-left political accounts, citing an “automation error”, triggering uproar from socialists who accused the social media platform of censorship. Last week, the social media company took down a cluster of groups, pages and individuals involved in socialist politics without explanation.


These included the Socialist Workers party and its student wing, the Socialist Worker Student Society in the UK, as well as the International Youth and Students for Social Equality chapter at the University of Michigan and the page of Genevieve Leigh, national secretary of the IYSSE in the US. A Facebook spokesperson said on Monday that it had “restored the Socialist Workers party Facebook Page and several accounts after an automation error”, adding: “We apologise for the error.”


Facebook did not respond to requests to clarify how the error had occurred and why it had affected the personal accounts of socialist figures as well as larger groups. But the abrupt removals spawned accusations of bias against leftwing voices by the social media company, with activists alleging a pattern of deliberate efforts to undermine their voices. The SWP, whose page was shut down on Friday [Jan. 22] and restored the same day after a backlash on social media, said that Facebook had previously shut down accounts belonging to its activists in “error” last December. “They don’t even provide means by which you can recover [the account],” said David North, who chairs the editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site. “It’s like the police storming in and seizing everything in your house.” Niles Niemuth, the site’s managing editor who ran as the US Socialist Equality party’s vice-presidential candidate in 2016, was among the accounts that were suspended and later reinstated.


The snafu raises questions about Facebook’s enforcement of its content moderation policies, which critics have described as ad hoc and haphazard. In the wake of the US Capitol riots, civil rights groups [read: liberals/Democrats egging Facebook to be more aggressive in implementing censorship] have accused the platform of repeated failures to curb the spread of misinformation about electoral fraud and incitement to violence despite pledges to do otherwise. On January 11 it announced that it would remove all content containing the phrase “stop the steal” — the slogan used by conservatives alleging that Democrats rigged the election — as an “emergency measure”.


Facebook Inc Facebook ‘Supreme Court’ to review Trump ban Facebook has typically faced accusations of anti-conservative bias, most recently after suspending former US president Donald Trump’s account “indefinitely” following the attempted insurrection by his supporters, amid fears that he could use it to incite further violence. The company’s newly formed independent oversight board is due to review the decision in its first big test. The exact number of those affected by the latest incident remains unclear, said Mr North. Accounts including the IYSSE at the University of Michigan, a registered student body, were suspended until Monday, and only restored after the Financial Times flagged the situation to Facebook. “Even though this particular ban has been [reversed], it’s a warning we don’t know what might come next,” he added. “Social media . . . is privately owned but to all intents and purposes it’s [become] what used to be the market square,” said Chris Marsden, national secretary of the Socialist Equality party in the UK. “They’re using their power in a way that’s completely undemocratic.”


 



Up to You.

^3000US citizens have no real political representation.

We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.

I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.

What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.

And its multitude of minions and lackeys.



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The Art of Doublespeak: Bellingcat and Mind Control

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[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the 1920s, the influential American intellectual Walter Lippman argued that the average person was incapable of seeing or understanding the world clearly and needed to be guided by experts behind the social curtain.  In a number of books he laid out the theoretical foundations for the practical work of Edward Bernays, who developed “public relations” (aka propaganda) to carry out this task for the ruling elites.  Bernays had honed his skills while working as a propagandist for the United States during World War I, and after the war he set himself up as a public relations counselor in New York City.

There is a fascinating exchange at the beginning of Adam Curtis’s documentary, The Century of Self, where Bernays, then nearly 100 years old but still very sharp, reveals his manipulative mindset and that of so many of those who have followed in his wake.  He says the reason he couldn’t call his new business “propaganda” was because the Germans had given propaganda a “bad name,” and so he came up with the euphemism “public relations.”  He then adds that “if you could use it [i.e. propaganda] for war, you certainly could use it for peace.”  Of course, he never used PR for peace but just to manipulate public opinion (he helped engineer the CIA coup against the democratically elected Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954 with fake news broadcasts).  He says “the Germans gave propaganda a bad name,” not Bernays and the United States with their vast campaign of lies, mainly aimed at the American people to get their support for going to a war they opposed (think weapons of mass destruction).  He sounds proud of his war propaganda work that resounded to his credit since it led to support for the “war to end all wars” and subsequently to a hit movie about WWI, Yankee Doodle Dandy, made in 1942 to promote another war, since the first one somehow didn’t achieve its lofty goal.


As Bernays has said in his book Propaganda,

The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today.

He was a propagandist to the end.  I suspect most viewers of the film are taken in by these softly spoken words of an old man sipping a glass of wine at a dinner table with a woman who is asking him questions. I have shown this film to hundreds of students and none has noticed his legerdemain.  It is an example of the sort of hocus-pocus I will be getting to shortly, the sly insertion into seemingly liberal or matter-of-fact commentary of statements that imply a different story.  The placement of convincing or confusing disingenuous ingredients into a truth sandwich – for Bernays knew that the bread of truth is essential to conceal untruth.

As repugnantly amoral as the profession he literally invented, Edward Bernays saw nothing wrong in promoting bloodsoaked coups to suit the interests of rich transnationals or assorted plutocrats.

In the following years, Bernays, Lippman, and their ilk were joined by social “scientists,” psychologists, and sundry others intent on making a sham out of the idea of democracy by developing strategies and techniques for the engineering of social consensus consonant with the wishes of the ruling classes.  Their techniques of propaganda developed exponentially with the development of technology, the creation of the CIA, its infiltration of all the major media, and that agency’s courting of what the CIA official Cord Meyer called in the 1950s “the compatible left,” having already had the right in its pocket. Today most people are, as is said, “wired,” and they get their information from the electronic media that is mostly controlled by giant corporations in cahoots with government propagandists.  Ask yourself: Has the power of the oligarchic, permanent warfare state with its propaganda and spy networks increased or decreased over your lifetime. The answer is obvious: the average people that Lippman and Bernays trashed are losing and the ruling elites are winning.

Lippman: Widely respected, he was one of the most influential liberal intellectuals of the 20th century. Never mind his true business was to counsel the plutocracy.

This is not just because powerful propagandists are good at controlling so-called “average” people’s thinking, but, perhaps more importantly, because they are also adept – probably more so – at confusing or directing the thinking of those who consider themselves above average, those who still might read a book or two or have the concentration to read multiple articles that offer different perspectives on a topic.  This is what some call the professional and intellectual classes, perhaps 15-20 % of the population, most of whom are not the ruling elites but their employees and sometimes their mouthpieces.  It is this segment of the population that considers itself “informed,” but the information they imbibe is often sprinkled with bits of misdirection, both intentional and not, that beclouds their understanding of important public matters but leaves them with the false impression that they are in the know.

Recently I have noticed a group of interconnected examples of how this group of the population that exerts influence incommensurate with their numbers has contributed to the blurring of lines between fact and fiction. Within this group there are opinion makers who are often journalists, writers, and cultural producers of some sort or other, and then the larger number of the intellectual or schooled class who follow their opinions.  This second group then passes on their received opinions to those who look up to them.

There is a notorious propaganda outfit called Bellingcat, started by an unemployed Englishman named Eliot Higgins, that has been funded by The Atlantic Council, a think-tank with deep ties to the U.S. government, NATO, war manufacturers, and their allies, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), another infamous U.S. front organization heavily involved in so-called color revolution regime change operations all around the world, that has just won the International Emmy Award for best documentary. The film with the Orwellian title, Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World, received its Emmy at a recent ceremony in New York City.  Bellingcat is an alleged group of amateur on-line researchers who have spent years shilling for the U.S. instigated war against the Syrian government, blaming the Douma chemical attack and others on the Assad government, and for the anti-Russian propaganda connected to, among other things, the Skripal poisoning case in England, and the downing of flight MH17 plane in Ukraine. It has been lauded by the corporate mainstream media in the west.  Its support for the equally fraudulent White Helmets (also funded by the US and the UK) in Syria has also been praised by the western corporate media while being dissected as propaganda by many excellent independent journalists such as Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley, Catte Black, among others.  It’s had its work skewered by the likes of Seymour Hersh and MIT professor Theodore Postol, and its US government connections pointed out by many others, including Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal at The Gray Zone. And now we have the mainstream media’s wall of silence on the leaks from the Organization for the Prohibition on Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concerning the Douma chemical attack and the doctoring of their report that led to the illegal U.S. bombing of Syria in the spring of 2018.  Bellingcat was at the forefront of providing justification for such bombing, and now the journalists Peter Hitchens, Tareq Harrad (who recently resigned from Newsweek after accusing the publication of suppressing his revelations about the OPCW scandal) and others are fighting an uphill battle to get the truth out.

Yet Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World won the Emmy, fulfilling Bernays’ point about films being the greatest unconscious carriers of propaganda in the world today.

Who presented the Emmy Award to the film makers, but none other than the rebel journalist Chris Hedges.  Why he did so, I don’t know.  But that he did so clearly sends a message to those who follow his work and trust him that it’s okay to give a major cultural award to a propaganda outfit.  But then, perhaps he doesn’t consider Bellingcat to be that.

Nor, one presumes, does The Intercept, the billionaire Pierre Omidyar owned publication associated with Glen Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, and also read by many progressive-minded people. The Intercept that earlier this year disbanded the small team that was tasked with reviewing and releasing more of the massive trove of documents they received from Edward Snowden six years ago, a minute number of which have ever been released or probably ever will be. As Whitney Webb pointed out, last year The Intercept  hosted a workshop for Bellingcat.  She wrote:

The Intercept, along with its parent company First Look Media, recently hosted a workshop for pro-war, Google-funded organization Bellingcat in New York. The workshop, which cost $2,500 per person to attend and lasted five days, aimed to instruct participants in how to perform investigations using “open source” tools — with Bellingcat’s past, controversial investigations for use as case studies…Thus, while The Intercept has long publicly promoted itself as an anti-interventionist and progressive media outlet, it is becoming clearer that – largely thanks to its ties to Omidyar – it is increasingly an organization that has more in common with Bellingcat, a group that launders NATO and U.S. propaganda and disguises it as “independent” and “investigative journalism.”

Then we have Jefferson Morley, the editor of The Deep State, former Washington Post journalist, and JFK assassination researcher, who has written a praiseworthy review of the Bellingcat film and who supports Bellingcat.  “In my experience, Bellingcat is credible,” he writes in an Alternet article, “Bellingcat documentary has the pace and plot of a thriller.”

Morley has also just written an article for Counterpunch“Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’” – in which he disputes the claim that the April 7, 2018 attack in the Damascus suburb was a false flag operation carried out by Assad’s opponents. “I do not see any evidence proving that Douma was a false flag incident,” he writes in this article that is written in a style that leaves one guessing as to what exactly he is saying.  It sounds convincing unless one concentrates, and then his double messages emerge.  Yet it is the kind of article that certain “sophisticated” left-wing readers might read and feel is insightful.  But then Morley, who has written considerably about the CIA, edits a website that advertises itself as “the thinking person’s portal to the world of secret government,” and recently had an exchange with former CIA Director John Brennan where “Brennan put a friendly finger on my chest,” said in February 2017, less than a month after Trump was sworn in as president, that:

With a docile Republican majority in Congress and a demoralized Democratic Party in opposition, the leaders of the Deep State are the most—perhaps the only—credible check in Washington on what Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) calls Trump’s “wrecking ball presidency.”  

Is it any wonder that some people might be a bit confused?

“I know what you’re thinking about,” said Tweedledum; “but it isn’t so, nohow.”

“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t.  That’s logic.”

As a final case in point, there is a recent book by Stephen Kinzer, Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb And The CIA Search For Mind Control, the story of the chemist known as Dr. Death who ran the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control project, using LSD, torture, electric shock therapy, hypnosis, etc.; developed sadistic methods of torture still used in black sites around the world; and invented various ingenious techniques for assassination, many of which were aimed at Fidel Castro.  Gottlieb was responsible for brutal prison and hospital experiments and untold death and suffering inflicted on all sorts of innocent people.  His work was depraved in the deepest sense; he worked with Nazis who experimented on Jews despite being Jewish himself.

Kinzer writes in depth about this man who considered himself a patriot and a spiritual person – a humane torturer and killer.  It is an eye-opening book for anyone who does not know about Gottlieb, who gave the CIA the essential tools they use in their “organized crime” activities around the world – in the words of Douglass Valentine, the author of The CIA as Organized Crime and The Phoenix Program. Kinzer’s book is good history on Gottlieb; however, he doesn’t venture into the present activities of the CIA and Gottlieb’s patriotic followers, who no doubt exist and go about their business in secret.

After recounting in detail the sordid history of Gottlieb’s secret work that is nauseating to read about, Kinzer leaves the reader with these strange words:

Gottlieb was not a sadist, but he might well have been…. Above all he was an instrument of history.  Understanding him is a deeply disturbing way of understanding ourselves.

What possibly could this mean?  Not a sadist?  An instrument of history?  Understanding ourselves?  These few sentences, dropped out of nowhere, pull the rug out from under what is generally an illuminating history and what seems like a moral indictment. This language is pure mystification.

Kinzer also concludes that because Gottlieb said so, the CIA failed in their efforts to develop methods of mind control and ended MK-ULTRA’s experiments long ago. Why would he believe the word of a man who personified the agency he worked for: a secret liar? He writes,

When Sydney Gottlieb brough MK-ULTRA to its end in the early 1960s, he told his CIA superiors that he had found no reliable way to wipe away memory, make people abandon their consciences, or commit crimes and then forget them.

As for those who might think otherwise, Kinzer suggests they have vivid imaginations and are caught up in conspiracy thinking: “This [convincing others that the CIA had developed methods of mind control when they hadn’t] is Sydney Gottlieb’s most unexpected legacy,” he asserts. He says this although Richard Helms, the CIA Director, destroyed all MK-Ultra records. He says that Allen Dulles, Gottlieb, and Helms themselves were caught up in a complete fantasy about mind control because they had seen too many movies and read too many books; mind control was impossible, a failure, a myth, he maintains. It is the stuff of popular culture, entertainment. In an interview with Chris Hedges, interestingly posted by Jefferson Morley at his website, The Deep State, Hedges agrees with Kinzer.  Gottlieb, Dulles, et al. were all deluded.  Mind control was impossible.  You couldn’t create a Manchurian Candidate; by implication, someone like Sirhan Sirhan could not have been programmed to be a fake Manchurian Candidate and to have no memory of what he did, as he claims.  He could not have been mind-controlled by the CIA to perform his part as the seeming assassin of Senator Robert Kennedy while the real killer shot RFK from behind. People who think like this should get real.

Furthermore, as is so common in books such as Kinzer’s, he repeats the canard that JFK and RFK knew about and pressured the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro. This is demonstrably false, as shown by the Church Committee and the Assassinations Record Review Board, among many others. That Kinzer takes the word of notorious liars like Richard Helms and the top-level CIA operative Samuel Halpern is simple incredible, something that is hard to consider a mistake.  Slipped into a truth sandwich, it is devoured and passed on. But it is false. Bullshit meant to deceive.

But this is how these games are played. If you look carefully, you will see them widely.  Inform, enlighten, while throwing in doubletalk and untruths.  The small number of people who read such books and articles will come away knowing some history that has no current relevance and being misinformed on other history that does. They will then be in the know, ready to pass their “wisdom” on to those who care to listen. They will not think they are average.

But they will be mind controlled, and the killer cat will roam freely without a bell, ready to devour the unsuspecting mice. 




Up to You.

^3000US citizens have no real political representation.

We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.

I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.

What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.

And its multitude of minions and lackeys.



About the Author
EDWARD CURTIN—Educated in the classics, philosophy, literature, theology, and sociology, I teach sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. My writing on varied topics has appeared widely over many years. I write as a public intellectual for the general public, not as a specialist for a narrow readership. I believe a non-committal sociology is an impossibility and therefore see all my work as an effort to enhance human freedom through understanding.


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Boycott Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Here’s Why


BE SURE TO PASS OUR ARTICLES ON TO KIN, FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES

Eric ZUESSE | 17.10.2018 | WORLD / Americas

NATO — the neoconservatives, the marketeers for firms such as Lockheed Martin and BAE — has taken over the social-media giants and much of online international ‘news’-reporting, including that of virtually all independent news-sites and blogs.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google, in recent days, delivered what might be the death-blows.

NATO’s main PR agency, think-tank, and lobbying organization, is ‘non-profit’ — a legal tax-dodge that’s financed by donations from those weapons-making firms and their supporting firms and their ‘non-profits’, so that the taxes that it doesn’t pay will need to be paid instead by the general public. Billionaires know how to avoid taxes, and they hire politicians who write the laws with all the ‘right’ loopholes for them — and only for the very richest — to use. This PR agency is called “The Atlantic Council,” and it was set up in 1961, the exact same year that U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower left office warning that “the military-industrial complex” might take control of the U.S. Well, it did so, with The Atlantic Council’s help; and, now, it is finally lowering the boom against democracy itself — at least among the U.S. and its allied nations (the governments whose weapons-manufacturing firms are in, and sell to, NATO governments). The aim is to drive up the percentage of government-expenditures there that go to pay those firms, and so to reduce the percentages that go to pay everything else. The aim, in short, is the permanent-warfare-economy. After all, firms such as Lockheed Martin and BAE sell only to allied governments. They have virtually no consumers except those governments. So: their (and their ‘charities’) basic message is ‘austerity’ — except on ‘defense’ or realistically called “aggression.” This is national ‘defense’ such as against Iraq in 2003, and against Libya in 2011 — it is instead sheer aggression. George Orwell predicted “Newspeak” — well, here it is. It’s today’s norm, so normal that the public think it’s just natural, and conservatives and even many liberals think it’s the way that ‘a free market’ ought to be.

Here was Facebook’s announcement, on October 11th:

newsroom.fb.com

11 October 2018

Removing Additional Inauthentic Activity from Facebook

Today, we’re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior. Given the activity we’ve seen — and its timing ahead of the US midterm elections — we wanted to give some details about the types of behavior that led to this action. Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.

——

Those 559 and 251 weren’t identified; none of them were. Facebook wants them to need to scream in order for them to be able to be noticed at all by the public. The announcement didn’t even say by what criteria they were measuring ‘Inauthentic Activity’ versus ‘legitimate political debate’. Their announcement did say “we look at these actors’ behavior – such as whether they’re using fake accounts or repeatedly posting spam – rather than their content when deciding which of these accounts, Pages or Groups to remove,” but unless they make public what the actual algorithms are by means of which they remove sites, no one should trust them, at all, because they can remove whatever NATO or The Atlantic Council (neither of which their announcement even mentioned) want them to remove.

The background for this act by the war-economy’s billionaires had already been reported at Mint Press on May 18th“Facebook Partners With Hawkish Atlantic Council, a NATO Lobby Group, to ‘Protect Democracy’”, where Elliott Gabriel opened:

Facebook is hoping that a new alliance with the Atlantic Council — a leading geopolitical strategy think-tank seen as a de facto PR agency for the U.S. government and NATO military alliance – will not only solve its “fake news” and “disinformation” controversy, but will also help the social media monolith play “a positive role” in ensuring democracy on a global level.

The new partnership will effectively ensure that Atlantic Council will serve as Facebook’s “eyes and ears,” according to a company press statement. With its leadership comprised of retired military officers, former policymakers, and top figures from the U.S. National Security State and Western business elites, the Atlantic Council’s role policing the social network should be viewed as a virtual takeover of Facebook by the imperialist state and the council’s extensive list of ultra-wealthy and corporate donors.

Then, on October 12th, Mint Press’s Whitney Webb bannered “Facebook Purges US-Based Independent Media For Political Disinformation”, and reported that,

Notably, Facebook’s statement on the mass purge of pages was co-authored by Facebook Head of Cybersecurity Nathaniel Gleicher, who is a former White House National Security Council director of cybersecurity policy.

Twitter also banned many of the pages targeted for deletion by Facebook on Thursday, suggesting a coordinated censorship effort between the two most popular social media platforms.

Many of the pages banned had millions of likes, such as the Free Thought Project (3.1 million likes), Antimedia (2.1 million), Cop Block (1.7 million), and Police the Police (1.9 million). Several of the pages that were deleted on Thursday had been targeted by Facebook in recent months, both through new censorship algorithms and Facebook’s controversial team of “fact checkers.”

For instance, the Free Thought Project had been flagged earlier this year as “fake news” by Facebook “fact checking” partner organizations, including  the Associated Press (AP) and Snopes. In one case, a story published by the Free Thought Project was flagged as “false” by the AP. That story, which detailed the documented case of Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) being forcibly removed from a DHS migrant detention center that had once been a Walmart, was marked false because the AP asserted that the article made the claim that Walmart was housing immigrants for DHS. However, the article does not make the claim, instead accurately noting that the facility used to be a Walmart.

Censorship algorithms had also greatly affected traffic to the recently deleted pages for much of the past year. In the case of Antimedia, its traffic dropped from around 150,000 page views per day in early June to around 12,000 by the end of that month. As a reference, in June of last year, Antimedia’s traffic stood at nearly 300,000 views per day.

Also on October 12th, heavy dot com bannered “‘Facebook Purge’: List of Some Deleted Accounts on Left & Right” and listed a few dozen sites that the article's writer had seen online screaming about having been removed.

Meanwhile, in UK’s very mainstream Daily Mail (the second-largest-circulation of all UK’s newspapers), columnist Michael Burleigh headlined on October 13th “Putin's taking over Libya by stealth in order to point a new weapon at the West — millions of desperate migrants” and he opened:

So bloody and extensive is President Putin’s record of aggression, not least in Syria and Ukraine, that an incursion into the empty deserts of North Africa might hardly seem worth noting.

Yet the discovery that Russia is moving troops and missiles into war-torn Libya has rightly caused alarms to sound throughout the capitals of Europe.

It is a step of huge significance, and one with potentially disastrous results for Western nations.

The discovery that Vladimir Putin, above, and his government is moving troops and missiles into war-torn Libya has rightly caused alarm. Russia – this time in the form of Rosneft, the huge oil company controlled by Putin’s sinister crony Igor Sechin – is interested in a slice of Libya’s vast oil reserves, the largest in Africa

Libya has both oil and Mediterranean ports, and Russia is hungry for both.

But was it Russia that in 2011 had invaded and destroyed Libya, or was it U.S., UK, and France, who invaded and destroyed Libya — a country that like Iraq, Syria, Yemen and others which The West has destroyed, had never threatened nor invaded any of them?

Burleigh continued:

– cause enough for concern, perhaps. Yet the real fear for European governments is this: Libya, with its porous southern borders, has become the main jumping-off point for the hundreds of thousands of African migrants now seeking to cross the Mediterranean to the shores of the EU and, in particular, Italy.

So, his own country, UK, had helped with the bombing of Libya that had caused all those ‘migrants’ (actually refugees) into Europe, but now he’s trying to blame Putin for it, as if Russia and not UK, U.S., and France were the cause of it. Doesn’t that “mislead people”?

But is the Daily Mail being strangled by Facebook, Twitter, and Google; or is it instead being done to the small-fry political sites, which aren’t owned and controlled by the aristocracies of the U.S., UK, France, and their allied aristocracies — all the aristocracies that are in NATO and promoted by The Atlantic Council?

Here is yet more from Elliott Gabriel’s excellent news-report at Mint Press on May 18th, providing background to the present purges and censorships:

The announcement, made last Thursday in a Facebook Newsroom post, explained that the social network’s security, policy and product teams will coordinate their work with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) to analyze “real-time insights and updates on emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world.”

DFRLab employees include pro-war media activist Eliot Higgins (of Bellingcat fame) and Ben Nimmo — a senior fellow for information defense at the Atlantic Council, who earned infamy for his groundless accusations that actual Twitter users are Russian trolls.

Read more on Facebook


Continuing, Facebook global politics and government outreach director Katie Harbath explained:

“This will help increase the number of ‘eyes and ears’ we have working to spot potential abuse on our service — enabling us to more effectively identify gaps in our systems, preempt obstacles, and ensure that Facebook plays a positive role during elections all around the world.”

“We know that tackling these problems effectively also requires the right policies and regulatory structures, so that governments and companies can help prevent abuse while also ensuring that people have a voice during elections. The Atlantic Council’s network of leaders is uniquely situated to help all of us think through the challenges we will face in the near- and long-term.”

“The think-tank’s Digital Research Unit Monitoring Missions will also be tapped by the social network during elections and “other highly sensitive moments” to allow Facebook the ability to zero in on key locales and monitor alleged misinformation and foreign interference.”

 

Who is the Atlantic Council?

Hillary Clinton at the 2013 Atlantic Council Distinguished Leadership Awards (Photo: Atlantic Council)

The Atlantic Council was recently in the news for receiving a donation of $900,000 from the U.S. State Department for a “Peace Process Support Network” program to “promote non-violent conflict resolution” in support of Venezuela’s scattered opposition, with which the council enjoys very close ties. The council also advocates the arming of extremist militants in Syria (a “National Stabilization Force”) and a hard-line policy toward Russia.

Established in 1961 by former U.S. Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter, the Atlantic Council of the United States was originally conceived as a means to drum up support for the Cold War-era NATO alliance, which had formed in 1949 as the basis of the Euro-Atlantic security architecture during the post-WWII competition with the Soviet Union. Dozens of similar Atlantic Councils were eventually established throughout the NATO and Partnership for Peace states.

The council is a part of the Atlantic Treaty Association, a NATO offshoot that claims to unite “political leaders, academics, military officials, journalists and diplomats in an effort to further the values set forth in the North Atlantic Treaty, namely: democracy, freedom, liberty, peace, security, and the rule of law.”

In general, groups such as the Atlantic Council are meant to secure the legitimacy of U.S. policies and neoliberal economics in the eyes of world audiences and academia, whether they live in the “advanced democracies” (the imperialist center) or “developing democracies” (the post-colonial and economically exploited nations).

Mint Press — a real news-operation, instead of the fake-news operations that are being boosted by Facebook, Twitter, and Google — apparently hasn’t yet been removed by Facebook, but the permanent-war-economy is only just starting to lower the boom. And, who knows what’s next, in American ‘democracy’, now?

The way to boycott Facebook, Twitter, and Google, is to NOT respond to their ads, but instead to blacklist their advertisers and all media that rely upon those giant social-media sites. There are competitors, and those need to be aggressively favored by anyone who doesn’t want to be mentally strangulated by these three giant corporations.

These media-giants want to strangle the public; so, the public needs to strangle them first.


About the author

EricZuesseERIC ZUESSE, Senior Contributing Editor •  Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity. Besides TGP, his reports and historical analyses are published on many leading current events and political sites, including The Saker, Huffpost, Oped News, and others.

 

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Sabre-Rattling With Russia

BE SURE TO PASS THESE ARTICLES TO FRIENDS AND KIN. A LOT DEPENDS ON THIS. DO YOUR PART.

 

Gen. Dunford: Is everybody bluffing on the US side, to pad the insatiable coffers of the military contractors, or are they for real? If the latter, the world is in deep trouble.

“My assessment today, Senator, is that Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.” —General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“I would consider the principle threats to start with Russia.”—General James Mattis, US Defense Secretary.

“The United States continues to have the highest military expenditure in the world. In 2017 the USA spent more on its military [$610 billion] than the next seven highest-spending countries combined. . . . at $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20 per cent lower than in 2016.”— Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, World Report May 2018.

The Trump Administration is ramping up confrontation and rattling sabers all over the globe, from the South China Sea to the Baltic via the Persian Gulf.  The countries of the US-NATO military alliance have vastly increased their military spending and are boosting deployment of their forces in Europe in accordance with the policy of Enhanced Forward Presence — the positioning of strike aircraft, missile-armed ships and armored formations along the frontiers of Russia.

In March 2018 NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, the former US Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, spoke at Warsaw’s military airport and was effusive about the forward movement of US-NATO troops. She “wanted to say what an honor it was to visit the battlegroup that is deployed here in Poland today . . .”

It is hugely expensive to move and maintain military forces in foreign countries, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) records that in 2016 “NATO’s collective military expenditure rose to $881 billion” while “European NATO members spent $254 billion in 2016 — over 3 times more than Russia.”

In January 2018 the US Department of Defence published its National Defence Strategy which stated that “the central challenge to US prosperity and security is re-emergence of long-term strategic competition” from Russia and China who are “revisionist powers” and a “growing threat” requiring a vast surge in US military expenditure.  The Pentagon’s Mission involves “restoring America’s competitive military advantage to deter Russia and China from challenging the United States, its allies or seeking to overturn the international order that has served so well since the end of World War II.”

That is the US-enforced “international order” that since 1945 has included its disastrous war in Vietnam, the invasion of Iraq that propelled the Middle East to its current state of chaos, a continuing, sixteen-year catastrophe in Afghanistan, and a savage blitz that reduced Libya to ungovernable chaos.  In all these ferocious forays by the self-appointed global gendarme there was colossal destruction and the deaths of uncountable numbers of innocent citizens.

And now the US has some 1.3 million people in its army, navy, air force and Marine Corps, with about 200,000 of them stationed in about 800 overseas military bases, in order to continue enforcement of “international order.”

The Nuclear Posture Review published on February 2, 2018, two weeks after the defense strategy paper, also makes it clear who the Pentagon considers to be its enemies, mentioning China 47 times, Iran 39 times and Russia 127 times, which makes nonsense of the claim by the State Department that “we do not want to consider Russia an adversary . . . This not a Russia-centric NPR.” Then on February 12 the Pentagon announced that “today President Donald Trump sent Congress a proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget request of $716 billion for national security, $686 billion of which is for the Department of Defense.” That’s about 70 billion dollars more than the previous year.

Trump’s “America First” policy has alienated longtime US allies and increased distrust by the many countries being confronted militarily (and economically — ask the Europeans). The irony about this drum-thumping slogan is the US claim that “It is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model, gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions,” because this is precisely what “America First” is all about : military domination and total ascendancy over the economies of the world.

The Western media’s reporting of President Putin’s speech to Russia’s Federal Assembly on March 1 was intriguing.  It concentrated almost entirely on Russian weapons’ developments, with the New York Times, for example, reporting that the President “used the speech to reassure Russians that the military buildup was taking place.”  The 1500 words of the NYT report were almost entirely devoted to Putin’s description of Russian weapons designed to deter US-NATO adventurism, and a mere 65 words covered the social improvement programs he described.

In outlining his priorities the President declared that “the main, key development factor is the well-being of the people and the prosperity of Russian families.  Let me remind you that in 2000, 42 million people lived below the poverty line, which amounted to nearly 30 percent – 29 percent of the population. In 2012, this indicator fell to 10 percent. Poverty has increased slightly against the backdrop of the economic crisis. Today, 20 million Russian nationals live in poverty. Of course, this is much fewer than the 42 million people in 2000, but it is still way too many.”

Russia wants to improve the lives of its citizens, and intends to do this, no matter the size of the US-NATO military buildup round its borders.  But it isn’t going to stand back and do nothing while the US-NATO military bloc expands and accelerates towards conflict. There has been a massive reduction in Russia’s defense budget, while the US and the rest of NATO are vastly increasing military expenditure, but it remains necessary for Russia to maintain its defense capabilities to counter the saber-rattling of the US-NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence.

As noted by the US Veterans Today, President Putin stated that “American submarines are on permanent alert off the Norwegian coast;  they are equipped with missiles that can reach Moscow in 17 minutes. But we dismantled all of our bases in Cuba a long time ago, even the non-strategic ones. And you would call us aggressive?”

Yes, they do, in spite of all the belligerence being displayed by US-NATO military deployments and maneuvers in eastern Europe.

For example, Exercise Siil 2018 was held in Estonia from May 2-13, 2018, involving over 15,000 troops from 10 NATO countries —  the UK, US, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — and from the five supposedly neutral countries of Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Sweden and Ukraine.

Then on June 4 CNN reported that “A massive US-led military exercise involving 18,000 soldiers from 19 nations, primarily NATO members, kicked off Sunday [June 3] along the alliance’s eastern border. Saber Strike 18 will take place until June 15 in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The exercise will be conducted amid heightened tensions with Moscow, which views any NATO military activities along its border negatively, maintaining that it increases ‘mutual distrust’.”

That exercise couldn’t have been more fittingly named, because there is no doubt that all these US-NATO saber-rattling fandangos increase Russia’s “distrust” of the nations that move thousands of troops so close to its borders.  While Russia reduces its defense spending and tries to engage in trade with the world in order to better the living conditions of its citizens,  18,000 US-NATO troops have gathered to rattle sabers on its borders.

There could not be plainer signals that the Pentagon and its sub-branch in Brussels are escalating to conflict.

Up to You.

^3000US citizens have no real political representation.

We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.

I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.

What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.

And its multitude of minions and lackeys.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

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Parting shot—a word from the editors
The Best Definition of Donald Trump We Have Found

In his zeal to prove to his antagonists in the War Party that he is as bloodthirsty as their champion, Hillary Clinton, and more manly than Barack Obama, Trump seems to have gone “play-crazy” — acting like an unpredictable maniac in order to terrorize the Russians into forcing some kind of dramatic concessions from their Syrian allies, or risk Armageddon.However, the “play-crazy” gambit can only work when the leader is, in real life, a disciplined and intelligent actor, who knows precisely what actual boundaries must not be crossed. That ain’t Donald Trump — a pitifully shallow and ill-disciplined man, emotionally handicapped by obscene privilege and cognitively crippled by white American chauvinism. By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a “puppet” and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all. Glen Ford, Editor in Chief, Black Agenda Report




Orwellian: The New York Times— “the voice of Truth”

REALITY UPSIDE DOWN

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.

Yea. Right.
Laugh all you like. It's still permitted. 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Email broadcast sent out by the New York Times proclaiming itself to be the voice of truth. 

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^0America's Goal...

Make every homeless tranny

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Parting shot—a word from the editors

The Best Definition of Donald Trump We Have Found

In his zeal to prove to his antagonists in the War Party that he is as bloodthirsty as their champion, Hillary Clinton, and more manly than Barack Obama, Trump seems to have gone “play-crazy” -- acting like an unpredictable maniac in order to terrorize the Russians into forcing some kind of dramatic concessions from their Syrian allies, or risk Armageddon.However, the “play-crazy” gambit can only work when the leader is, in real life, a disciplined and intelligent actor, who knows precisely what actual boundaries must not be crossed. That ain’t Donald Trump -- a pitifully shallow and ill-disciplined man, emotionally handicapped by obscene privilege and cognitively crippled by white American chauvinism. By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a “puppet” and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all. Glen Ford, Editor in Chief, Black Agenda Report