Saving the World from the Censorship Industrial Complex #411
Censorship Industrial Complex as a tool of PsyOps and a global tool of control is very potent. Action is happening against it in the US now.
Disinformation is a tool of sabotage. It is done best when used by someone who is hiding one's identity. That practice is called sockpuppetry. It is used extensively in the world of narrative-building. Some of the popular uses are:
- Block evasion: to circumvent a block, ban, or other form of sanction that a person's original account may be facing.
- Ballot Stuffing: done for an online poll to increase the puppeteer's votes.
- Strawman sockpuppet (or strawpuppet): The puppeteer creates multiple identities, each endorsing their own views in an argument, in an effort to present themselves as representing the majority opinion and downplay opposing voices.
When a country's administration creates different organizations and identities and uses private groups to bring into effect something illegal, then that is sockpuppetry at an institutional level. That is what is going on in the US and around the world!
We need to understand the current events very seriously and carefully.
At Drishtikone, I would like to address some other topics as well but these things are so deeply impacting the consciousness and the geopolitics of our world that it would be irresponsible to not discuss them from every angle I can!
Changing Identities to Influence
Benjamin Franklin signed the US Constitution as a Pennsylvania delegate. As Benjamin Franklin.
He did not always use that name, however. Without others knowing it of course. He went by at least 5 pseudonyms - Silence Dogood, Harry Meanwell, Alice Addertongue, Richard Saunders, and Timothy Turnstone.
The practice that was merely known as a pseudonym - used to influence others' views - has taken on a much larger role today. An avatar called Sock-puppet.
Over the last few years, the science of sock-puppetry has been used to create a behemoth for geopolitical control. For every narrative war, platforms are created and those platforms are subverted using sock-puppets.
Let us look at Wikipedia as an example of a platform where anonymous identities have been used to run political agendas. Some forces, we will find out which ones, have been using Wikipedia to subvert some groups and people and play up their own narratives. It is a PsyOps exercise in full flow disguised as an "information application".
Wikipedia pages, for example, of Sanjeev Sanyal, Sadhguru, and Opindia have been subverted (I don't call it vandalized because this exercise has a certain intention and objective to it) by certain editors.
Opindia fought a protracted battle with Wikipedia when it saw the tremendous bias in the whole business that was being run by its "editors". Here is their modus operandi. As we said, and the Opindia team confirmed in this article and with their investigations - Wikipedia editors had a visceral hatred for Hinduism.
Wait, this conclusion by Opindia may have been anecdotal given its own experience and analysis of the many pages it looked at.
But is there a more scientific way to prove it?
Feng Zhu, an assistant professor in the Technology and Operations Management unit at Harvard Business School and Shane Greenstein of Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management did a rigorous investigation into the biases at Wikipedia Vs Encyclopædia Britannica. They found that Wikipedia had a very strong leftist bias across the board in all topics. In India, leftist bias translates into the "visceral hatred for Hinduism" that the Opindia team talked about.
Of course, Elon Musk weighs in on the situation at Wikipedia as well. He first discussed the "non-trivial" left-wing bias of Wikipedia.
And then later offered to give a billion dollars for changing the name of the site to appropriately reflect what its actions exhibit.
Why are we talking about this?
Because the world around us is not as benign as it seems to be. Whatever we peruse and consume should be done with some sense of skepticism and self-analysis.
We will come to this concept of sock-puppetry and its role in disinformation in a much larger context than what was happening in Wikipedia.
How the World Got a Life: The Twitter Files
When Elon Musk took over at Twitter (now X), he opened up internal communications for the public. The Twitter Files, therefore, refer to a collection of internal documents from Twitter, Inc. that were made public between December 2022 and March 2023. These leaked documents disclosed Twitter's content moderation policies and procedures.
A group of journalists released these documents. They were granted limited access to Twitter's historical archives by Elon Musk. The information in the documents is based on reports provided by these journalists.
THE COMPLETE SET OF TWITTER FILES
- Twitter Files Part 1: December 2, 2022, by @mtaibbi - TWITTER AND THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY: Recounting the internal drama at Twitter surrounding the decision to block access to a New York Post exposé on Hunter Biden in October 2020.
- Twitter Files Part 2, by @BariWeiss, December 8, 2022 - TWITTER’S SECRET BLACKLISTS: Bari Weiss gives a long-awaited answer to the question, “Was Twitter shadow-banning people?” It did, only the company calls it “visibility filtering.” Twitter also had a separate, higher council called SIP-PES that decided cases for high-visibility, controversial accounts.
- Twitter Files, Part 3, by @mtaibbi, December 9, 2022 - THE REMOVAL OF DONALD TRUMP, October 2020 - January 6th, 2021: First in a three-part series looking at how Twitter came to the decision to suspend Donald Trump. The idea behind the series is to show how all of Twitter’s “visibility filtering” tools were on display and deployed after January 6th, 2021.
- Twitter Files Part 4, by @ShellenbergerMD, December 10, 2022 - THE REMOVAL OF DONALD TRUMP, January 7th, 2021: This thread by Michael Shellenberger looks at the key day after the J6 riots and before Trump would ultimately be banned from Twitter on January 8th, showing how Twitter internally reconfigured its rules to make a Trump ban fit their policies.
- Twitter Files Part 5, by @BariWeiss, December 11, 2022 - THE REMOVAL OF DONALD TRUMP, January 8th, 2021: As angry as many inside Twitter were with Donald Trump after the January 6th Capitol riots, staffers struggled to suspend his account, saying things like, “I think we’d have a hard time saying this is incitement.” As documented by Weiss, they found a way to pull the trigger anyway.
- Twitter Files Part 6, by @mtaibbi, December 16, 2022 - TWITTER, THE FBI SUBSIDIARY: Twitter’s contact with the FBI was “constant and pervasive,” as FBI personnel, mainly in the San Francisco field office, regularly sent lists of “reports” to Twitter, often about Americans with low follower counts making joke tweets. Tweeters on both the left and the right were affected.
- Twitter Files Part 7, by @ShellenbergerMD, December 19, 2022 - THE FBI AND HUNTER BIDEN’S LAPTOP: The Twitter Files story increases its focus on the company’s relationship to federal law enforcement and intelligence, and shows intense communication between the FBI and Twitter just before the release of the Post’s Hunter Biden story.
- Twitter Files Part 8, by @lhfang, December 20 2022 - HOW TWITTER AIDED PENTAGON'S COVERT ONLINE PSYOP CAMPAIGN: Despite public assurances, Twitter 1.0 secretly supported and protected a branch of the US military involved in psychological influence operations in some cases.
- Twitter Files Part 9 by @mtaibbi, December 24 2022 - TWITTER AND "OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES": The FBI had responded to Twitter Files 7, challenging certain aspects of the framing and reporting. Taibbi has replied to the FBI's communication and press releases, and has additionally shared internal documents pertaining to correspondence between the FBI and "other government agency.”
- Twitter Files Part 10, by @davidzweig, December 26 2022 - THE TWITTER FILES: HOW TWITTER RIGGED THE COVID DEBATE: Twitter did so (1) By censoring info that was true but inconvenient to U.S. govt. policy, (2) By discrediting doctors and other experts who disagreed, (3) By suppressing ordinary users, including some sharing the CDC’s *own data*
- Twitter Files Part 11, by @mtaibbi, January 3 2023 - HOW TWITTER LET THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY IN: Twitter 1.0 addressed a governmental inquiry about certain Russian-linked accounts, intending to divert the attention of the government and the press towards rival Facebook.
- Twitter Files Part 12 by @mtaibbi, January 3 2023 - TWITTER AND THE FBI "BELLY BUTTON": Twitter 1.0 made a concerted effort to refrain from acting on moderation requests from the State Department. Eventually, it did permit the State Department to contact them through the FBI, which FBI agent Chan refers to as the "belly button" of the United States government.
- Twitter Files Part 13 by @AlexBerenson, January 9 2023 - TWITTER AND SUPPRESSION OF COVID-VACCINE DEBATE: Scott Gottlieb, a Pfizer board member, used his influence to suppress debate on COVID vaccines, including from the head of the FDA. Twitter 1.0 frets about the damage the effectiveness of natural immunity might have on vaccine uptake, and Twitter slaps a label on a key tweet former FDA commissioner Brett Giroir’s tweet touting the strength of natural immunity.
- Twitter Files Part 14 by @mtaibbi, January 12 2023- THE RUSSIAGATE LIES: Republican Congressman Devin Nunes submitted a classified memo listing FBI abuses in surveillance approval of Trump-connected figures. #ReleaseTheMemo trended, but Democrats attempted to discredit it as Russian-originated. The Justice Department later verified Nunes' assertions. Twitter executives knew the fraudulent nature of the Hamilton 68 Dashboard but did not discredit it, allowing the sham to continue.
- Twitter Files Part 15 by @mtaibbi, January 27 2023 - MOVE OVER, JAYSON BLAIR: TWITTER FILES EXPOSE NEXT GREAT MEDIA FRAUD: This discussion focused on the Hamilton 68 dashboard mentioned in TwitterFiles 14. In October 2017, Twitter became aware that the dashboard was simply pulling tweets from a curated list of approximately 650 accounts. Twitter also knew that only a small number of those accounts were actually Russian. It was known that the media and Democrat officials were considering the Hamilton 68 Dashboard to be credible in some way. Despite Twitter executive Yoel Roth's attempts to raise concerns internally about the tool's integrity, his concerns were disregarded within Twitter, and Twitter 1.0 never directly discredited the tool or provided an explanation of how it operated.
- Twitter Files Part 16 by @mtaibbi - COMIC INTERLUDE: A MEDIA EXPERIMENT: Matt Taibbi points out the lack of mainstream media coverage on damaging TwitterFiles revelations about the Democrats. However, they did publish numerous stories about Trump's request to remove Chrissy Tiegen from the platform. New revelations show that Maine Senator Angus King (D) called for the suspension of several accounts for questionable reasons, and Representative Adam Smith (D)'s staff requested to stop all search results related to specific keywords. Taibbi highlights how the mainstream media completely ignored the Schiff requests and what it reveals about the risks to the First Amendment posed by government-big-tech cooperation.
- Twitter Files Part 17 by @mtaibbi - NEW KNOWLEDGE, THE GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT CENTER, AND STATE SPONSORED BLACKLISTS: In this report, Matt Taibbi discusses an initiative by "DFRLab," an organization funded by the "Global Engagement Center," a lesser-known division of the US federal government, to remove a number of individuals from online platforms. The GEC/DFRLab sought to deplatform over 40,000 people by claiming that they were either "paid employees or possibly volunteers" of India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), although the list included many ordinary Americans. Taibbi describes these requests as "State Sponsored Blacklists," and based on the shared data, it's difficult to argue against this thought-provoking label. While the GEC denies using US tax dollars to target American citizens for deplatforming, the list clearly included Americans. In his analysis, Taibbi delves into the specifics of these requests, and the resulting internal discussions, and encourages readers to consider what these requests imply about government attitudes towards free speech, as well as the potential "weaponization" of the term "disinformation" for political purposes.
- Twitter Files Part 18 by @mtaibbi - STATEMENT TO CONGRESS - THE CENSORSHIP-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: Matt shared the statement to Congress on various topics.
- Twitter Files Part 19 by @mtaibbi - THE GREAT COVID-19 LIE MACHINE: The combination of Stanford, the Virality Project, and the Censorship of “True Stories” was detailed. The Stanford Virality Project (VP) was involved in the flagging and push-to-censor several threads and accounts writing “true but inconvenient to the narrative” stories surrounding COVID-19, such as the strength of natural immunity, the fact that the vaccination does not stop the spread, or the existence actual, true adverse vaccination side-effects. All of this with full support from within the US government.
- Twitter Files Part 20 by @NAffects - THE INFORMATION CARTELS: In this set of Twitter Files, Andrew Lowenthal from Digital Civil Liberties explores the complex landscape of information monitoring, censorship, and suppression on the web. He sheds light on the collaborative efforts between big tech companies, NGOs, and the government, and highlights the irony that those who label content as "disinformation" often contribute to its spread in significant ways.
Btw, you see Twitter Files #17? At Drishtikone we have already discussed the interplay between The Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), The University of Washington Center for an Informed Public (CIP), and Graphika. Please read it there.
The Twitter Files had more such content.
One of the things that came out very clearly was the Information Cartel and the Censorship Industrial Complex.
Censorship Industrial Complex
Michael Shellenberger is one of the Twitter Files journalists and founder of Public. He has been agitating against what he calls the Censorship Industrial Complex.
This is very important to understand. The battle is on in the US and its ramifications will be felt across the world.
Reclaiming American Democracy
The Twitter Files were not just for show. They are now being followed up. The explosive content from Twitter Files is being actioned.
In Courts and the Congress.
Weaponization of the Federal Government
- Matt Taibbi, Twitter Files journalist and author - testimony
- Michael Shellenberger, Twitter Files journalist, author, and environmentalist - testimony
- Rupa Subramanya, Canada-based journalist for The Free Press - testimony
- Olivia Troye, former Homeland Security Advisor and Counterterrorism Advisor, Office of Vice President Pence - testimony
Michael Shellenberger shared in his testimony how "US and UK military contractors" deployed "sophisticated psychological operations and disinformation tactics... against the American people."
During his testimony in front of a House Judiciary subcommittee, Michael Shellenberger made some startling claims about the actions of military contractors from the United States and the United Kingdom. According to Shellenberger, these contractors have been using disinformation tactics to manipulate and deceive the American public. What's even more concerning is that Shellenberger stated that the tactics and the silencing of those who disagreed with a certain point of view were even worse than he had predicted during his previous testimony before Congress in March.
One form of silencing that was highlighted by Shellenberger was the censorship of individuals and content on major social media platforms during the 2020 presidential election. This alleged censorship raises questions about the role of these platforms in shaping public opinion and limiting the free expression of ideas.
Shellenberger's testimony sheds light on the potential influence and power wielded by military contractors in shaping public discourse and manipulating information. It underscores the need for transparency and accountability in the actions of these contractors, as well as the responsibility of social media platforms to ensure a fair and open exchange of ideas.
He wasn't the only one. Rupa Subramanya, Canada-based journalist for The Free Press, also shared her opening statement at the House Weaponization of the Federal Government Committee. She warned about the 'Creepy Authoritarianism' in Canada, which by the way is a replica of what had happened in the US as well.
But the battle has also started in the courts.
Violation of the First Amendment by the FBI and Surgeon General
The attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana brought a lawsuit against the Biden administration claiming that the government had illegally colluded with social media companies to suppress protected free speech, by urging platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to take action on posts contributing to vaccine hesitancy and other hot-button issues.
The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has determined that the White House, the Surgeon General's office, and the FBI probably violated the First Amendment. The court concluded that these entities exerted pressure on social media platforms to moderate content on their websites. Additionally, the ruling stated that these entities had an improper influence on social media companies' choices to remove or restrict posts related to the coronavirus and elections.
Just as the Twitter Files generated awareness and information is instrumental in the battles unfolding in the courts and the Congress, new information is coming out.
And now, the CTIL Files!
Now a new set of explosive content has come out. The CTILFiles!
In a joint exposé with the Public, Michael Shellenberger, Alexandra Gutentag and Matt Taibi shared a new cache of whistleblower documents last week.
They shared a piece on this account on Substack/Public about this document cache about a group called CTI League (CTIL) - a group that posed as one dedicated to fighting Covid-19 misinformation.
The stuff that came out from independent whistleblowers was mind-boggling!
I was initially dismissive of the #CTIFiles as a news story, as were a few industry experts I consulted. The key figures behind the group — a British data scientist and former defense researcher named Sara-Jayne “SJ” Terp and a Navy/SOCOM “technologist” named Pablo Breuer — were not roundly considered by my sources to be heavy hitters in the anti-disinformation world. However, once we got into the documents, we all realized they had tremendous significance. It wasn’t just that CTIL’s virtual meetings and training sessions were routinely attended by DHS and FBI officials, or that Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) head Chris Krebs announced that the DHS sub-unit was partnering with the group, or even that CTIL tactics were ultimately adopted at least in part by CISA.
Here is a timeline the team has built of the various actions that took place along the way in this disinformation racket.
They show how the US and UK military contractors had created an extensive plan for Global censorship in 2018!
A whistleblower has come forward with an explosive new trove of documents, rivaling or exceeding the Twitter Files and Facebook Files in scale and importance. They describe the activities of an “anti-disinformation” group called the Cyber Threat Intelligence League, or CTIL, that officially began as the volunteer project of data scientists and defense and intelligence veterans but whose tactics over time appear to have been absorbed into multiple official projects, including those of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The CTI League documents offer the missing link answers to key questions not addressed in the Twitter Files and Facebook Files. Combined, they offer a comprehensive picture of the birth of the “anti-disinformation” sector, or what we have called the Censorship Industrial Complex. (Source: CTIL Files #1: US And UK Military Contractors Created Sweeping Plan For Global Censorship In 2018, New Documents Show / Public)
The plans were detailed.
They went into:
- Genesis of modern digital censorship programs
- the role of the military and intelligence agencies,
- partnerships with civil society organizations and commercial media, and
- the use of as and other offensive techniques.
It was all brought together via the Election Integrity Partnership.
Emails from CISA’s NGO and social media partners show that CISA created the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) in 2020, which involved the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) and other US government contractors. EIP and its successor, the Virality Project (VP), urged Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to censor social media posts by ordinary citizens and elected officials alike. (Source: CTIL Files #1: US And UK Military Contractors Created Sweeping Plan For Global Censorship In 2018, New Documents Show / Public)
We will follow these in the coming days.
Please make sure you get to know this closely because it will decide the history of the world in many ways.
Video Corner: The Tunnel Rescue Miracle
Here is an interview with the Australian tunnelling expert Arnold Dix who travelled from Melbourne to help rescue 41 trapped workers. On November 12th, an early morning landslide caused a portion of the 4.5-kilometer (2.8-mile) Silkyara Tunnel. The collapse occurred about 200 meters (650 feet) from the entrance. Btw, the tunnel has collapsed 20 times in the past five years due to the region's geology and rock deformation. The workers were rescued through an escape pipe. Dix's statements are very insightful in what went on there in the rescue and how he puts it in context of such efforts globally.