Category Archives: Censorship

Corporate Media Retreats to Hollywood as New “Truth” Media Destroys False Narratives in Real Time

 

media-holywoodBy Jefferey Jaxen

Mainstream corporate media outlets in America have been suffering from a slow bleeding loss of viewership for years. A critical mass of their audience is leaving in search for integrity and truth. The exodus away from news outlets who have traditionally lied by omission and purposely have abused their viewers with a variety of manipulation techniques appears to be hitting a crescendo on many fronts. Corporate media, funded by the military-industrial complex, pharmaceutical money government bailouts and other seedy sources, aligns lockstep with the darker agendas attempting to gain a foothold as human consciousness rises worldwide. As independent sources and truth media outlets take the lead, the core of corporate media propaganda appears be pouring their efforts into Hollywood propaganda to keep their failing message and crumbling narratives alive.

The ‘new media’ or ‘truth media’ has hit breakaway speeds on the back of the recent false narratives of Hillary Clinton’s sound health, safe and effective vaccines, immigration and the Soros-funded elements of Black Lives Matters. Each narrative is continually analyzed in real-time by massive global numbers of independent media to soundly deconstruct narratives leaving anti-human agendas bare for the world to see. The American public now has the information to make a true, freewill choice about their political leaders, news media, government agencies, and health freedom.

Humanity Rising

Events pointing to the full breakdown of trust in mainstream news sources has historically quickened. We are in uncharted waters as the transparent lies get bigger, and more are awakened globally to the mainstream fraud. The reflex action from discredited news sources and their defamed narratives appear to be to double down, ignore reality and engage in historic acts of hypocrisy.

The Washington Times recently reported:

Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media ‘to report the news fully, accurately and fairly’ has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history.

The Washington Post also made history as they shamefully became to first paper to call for prosecution of their own source. After winning the Pulitzer Prize on the back of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing information, the Washington Post editorialized for the former NSA contractor’s extradition and arrest to face trail in the US.

Listening solely to mainstream media, the public would be made to believe that presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, was the epitome of health. News outlets and independent sources that said otherwise were continually discredited. As Clinton continued to have numerous health episodes on camera, corporate media still attempted to cover for her by doctoring videos and gas lighting their audience in real-time. The new ‘truth’ media used the cavernous gap in mainstream coverage regarding Hillary’s true health issues to surge forward by simultaneously converging to expose the reality of the gravely ill candidate.

The Empire Strikes Back

At the present moment, mainstream corporate media outlets appear to be left as placeholders while their dishonest spirit makes the jump to the false realities and fictional stories of Hollywood. After being exposed for her unfair coverage on the presidential campaign, Julian Assange and the murder of Seth Rich, Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly will now be producing a new scripted series following a presidential campaign trail and the embedded journalists who cover it. After ducking press conferences for 274 days, Hillary Clinton took time out of her recovery to film an episode of the highly scripted Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. Her appearance followed a scripted spot of little to no significance on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.

The X Factors

Social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and now Reddit have been leveraged into makeshift media platforms to deconstruct narratives and disseminate information counter to corporate media spin. However, these same outlets are now routinely censoring journalists, blocking accounts and using algorithms to slow down viral news stories exposing truth. Newer blockchain-based technologies that cannot be censored are attempting to gain a foothold in the content creation space previously dominated by the big three Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, yet the adaption has been slow.

Whistleblowing platforms and online safe houses like WikiLeaks and others are devastating corporate media narratives and unethical government agendas. Over the recent weeks, floods of internal, classified documents have been released containing historically damning evidence. Everything from Soros-funded cultural revolutions to weaken, divide and conquer populations to Democratic National Committee (DNC) stealing elections has been discovered. According to WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, their largest leak containing ‘October surprise’ level information aimed at Clinton/DNC will be released any day now. The mainstream media has ignored all the leaked information choosing to frame those crimes and criminals implicated leaks as victims of cyberhacking. Corporate media also continues to push the nonstarter narrative that the leaks are perpetrated by the Russians.

Jefferey Jaxen is an independent journalist, writer, and researcher. Focusing on personal empowerment and alternative health, his work reveals a sharp eye to capture the moment in these rapidly changing times.  His personal page is located at JeffereyJaxen.com, where this first appeared.

 

Corporate Media Retreats to Hollywood as New “Truth” Media Destroys False Narratives in Real Time.

YouTube Has Quietly Begun “Censoring” Journalists Who Criticize Government

 

14341671_611918332346577_857448721_nBy Alice Salles

Earlier this month, YouTube, the behemoth video-sharing website was accused of censoring users.

Claiming some of their videos had been barred from making money through the company’s ad services, YouTube hosts like Philip DeFranco spoke out against the policy, claiming over “a dozen of his videos had been flagged as inappropriate for advertising, including one dinged for ‘graphic content or excessive strong language.’“

In a video entitled “YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do,” DeFranco called YouTube’s policy “censorship with a different name,” since users touching on what the company considers to be controversial subjects end up losing money. “If you do this on the regular, and you have no advertising,” DeFranco added, “it’s not sustainable.”

While YouTube has already confirmed its policy regarding what it considers unfit for monetization hasn’t changed, the issue might lie elsewhere now that the company seems more efficient in enforcing its own rules. As a matter of fact, the content policy changed in 2012, when YouTube first introduced its “ad-friendly” guidelines.

But while an algorithm is allegedly used to spot and “de-monetize” videos that break the company’s rules, many continue to accuse the company, currently owned by Google, of having “vague” descriptions of what its leadership considers ad-friendly.

YouTube rolled out its monetization tool in 2006, when ads consisted of videos that would pop up at the bottom of the user’s screen. If the user did not click on it, it would roll for about ten seconds before going away. But as ad executives pressured YouTube to “to do a better job at promoting its creators,” the relationship with its advertisers changed. As better and even more intrusive ads were added to YouTube videos, the company allegedly became more concerned with the content.

Those who are affected often complain about copyright claims, but some complain about another type of targeting — one that involves power players.

YouTube Content Creators Speak Out

Derrick J. Freeman, the host of FR33MANTV, told Anti-Media that he monetizes all of his videos, “and every day some video — even much older ones — gets slapped with some kind of warning or another because of music playing in the background somewhere. Usually a public place.”

While Freeman’s work is often political in nature, he hasn’t seen any of his videos being flagged for breaking YouTube’s rules concerning subjects related to war or political conflicts.

Mat Bars, another YouTube user, also complained about copyright claims.

Asked about the alleged censorship problem, Bars told Anti-Media that “what it really most likely comes down to is advertisers not wanting their ads to be associated with certain things.” To the YouTube host, the company is “mostly blameless in this. The site isn’t even profitable, so letting advertisers push them around like this suits their best interests.” Instead of complaining about censorship, Bars added that what affects him personally is “the copyright system.”

But to more radical political figures who gather a considerable number of followers on YouTube, things are slightly different.

To Luke Rudkowski, the man behind the popular channel We Are Change, YouTube’s policy of nixing monetization on some of his most popular videos has been a problem for a long time.

“For years,” he told Anti-Media, “I have monetized and still get f*cked from it.” Especially, he continued, “[when I launch a video about] Hillary, or war and foreign policy.” When his videos touch on drugs or guns, however, he says ads remain in place.

“When the videos only have ‘Hillary Clinton’ they do fine,” he added, “however, when we add ‘FBI’, that’s when YouTube” springs into action.

Anti-Media journalist and senior editor, Carey Wedler, got her start on YouTube and has had a similar experience with her channel.

She explained the first time she realized the site had singled out her videos was “a couple of weeks” after she “posted a video about how America’s culture of militarism is an underlying contributor to domestic mass shootings.”

She continued:

The video was released shortly after the Orlando shooting, which occurred in June. By July 6, I had received an email saying the video was not ‘advertiser friendly.’ Two days later, I received another email about a video I released at the beginning of June — before I released the mass shooting video. This video, which pointed out inconsistencies in Bernie Sanders’s record and questioned his ‘revolutionary’ status, was also stripped of monetization.

While the mass shooting video’s monetization has been restored without her appealing the company’s decision, her Sanders video remains ineligible. The Sanders video focused largely on his record of supporting war and the military-industrial complex.

Her other videos affected by YouTube’s policy include “What Every American Needs to Know About Radical Islam,” a video “that challenged rampant Islamophobia and jingoism right after the Paris terror attacks last November,” and “Why I’m “Ready for Hillary!,” which the creator claims to be an “extremely sarcastic indictment of Hillary Clinton published before she announced her candidacy early last year.”

Other videos by Wedler that suffered the same fate include “How America ‘wins’ the wars in Syria & Iraq” and “How I became a “self-hating Jew.” All of the de-monetized videos contain anti-war sentiments.

According to the prolific writer and vlogger, YouTube only bothered to email her notifications regarding the changes in monetization for the Sanders and the mass shooting videos:

I noticed the [other] videos had all been stripped of monetization when I logged into Youtube to check out the two that had been officially flagged. However, when I checked my settings following receipt of the two emails regarding mass shootings and Bernie, my overall monetization setting had been switched off — meaning none of my videos were monetized.

She claims to have “never selected that option” prior to learning about the issues with the videos mentioned previously, yet when she turned the monetization option back on, “the monetization reactivated — but only for videos that hadn’t been specifically flagged.”

“I also noticed that my videos before the self-hating Jew video hadn’t been rejected for monetization at all,”  she said.

In cases involving YouTube’s decision to flag her videos that included notifications, Wedler added, YouTube failed to give her “a specific reason as to why the videos were stripped of monetization. I’ve seen some screenshots of those emails from other Youtubers … and some contain reasons. Mine didn’t, though it’s pretty clear to me that in my case, it’s because they are considered ‘controversial.’ Some discuss war and some contain images of war, and they are always questioning military violence.”

While Wedler agrees that this type of policy is “not direct censorship … it does amount to an implicit attempt to discourage me and others from saying controversial things.”

She added that while YouTube is a “privately owned company that can decide which content is appropriate for its advertisers, … if they are deciding [which of] my videos shouldn’t be allowed to generate revenue, they are effectively removing much of my incentive to continue producing content on the platform.”

Despite the company’s policy, Wedler vows to continue making these videos simply because the message is what matters.

Google and Its Addiction to Buying Influence

As Wedler stated, YouTube is a private company and it has the right to set its own policies. But it’s undeniable that the site’s owner, Google, has, on a number of occasions, shown its favoritism through lobbying, prompting many to highlight the company’s appearance of favorable bias toward Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Google went from spending $80,000 on lobbying in 2003 to over $16 million in 2014. After 2014, Google, Inc. became Alphabet, and in 2015, Alphabet invested over $16 million in lobbying. To date, the company has spent over $8 million on Washington politicians.

Alphabet’s top recipient this election cycle is, unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton.

But despite its knack for influence buying, Google has, over the years, created relationships with think tanks that would have criticized the tech giant’s crony capitalist ways under different circumstances.

According to the Washington Post, Google has embarked on a quest to woo free market organizations by populating “elite think-tanks such as the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the New America Foundation” with its fellows, including “young lawyers, writers and thinkers paid by the company.”

From the Post:

To critics, Google’s investments have effectively shifted the national discussion away from Internet policy questions that could affect the company’s business practices. Groups that might ordinarily challenge the policies and practices of a major corporation are holding their fire, those critics say.

Claiming to be defenders of privacy, Google successfully waged an aggressive lobbying campaign within Washington to defeat a congressional effort that could have put Google in the middle of a very nasty antitrust fight.

After supporting the European Union’s antitrust prosecution of Microsoft, Google found itself the target of the same type of scrutiny, being accused of unfairly discriminating against users.

With the excuse of going after companies like Google for antitrust law violations, Congress came up with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill disguised as an anti-online piracy fix that would have allowed the federal government to target “illegal copies of films and other forms of media hosted on foreign servers.” The bill would have hurt Google the most because the search engine would have several results deleted from its database, requiring “ISPs to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked,” Google chairman Eric Schmidt said.

Just one month before SOPA was unveiled by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Schmidt appeared before Congress during a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hearing where a Republican senator “accused the company of skewing search results to benefit its own products and hurt competitors.” As this hearing took place and Google was grilled by lawmakers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Motion Picture Association of America lobbies pushed Congress to pass harsh anti-privacy legislation, accusing companies like Google of giving users access to pirated music and movies.

Afraid of the backlash caused by the hearing, Google feared the Hollywood lobby would end up hurting many of its partners, as well as smaller organizations directly tied to Google. But the search engine giant had a way out — its aggressive lobbying and partnership building skills.

As SOPA appeared poised for passage, Google and several other tech firms stood in opposition and the bill finally failed.

While SOPA was, indeed, a farce — and privacy advocates in Washington were happy the bill didn’t see the light of day — it’s important to note how hard Google worked to keep it from becoming a reality, putting the Silicon Valley giant closer to powerful institutions that, in theory, are against crony capitalism.

But after SOPA, the FTC went back to the drawing board, threatening to investigate Google’s alleged antitrust violations further. At the time, the “company’s rivals, including Microsoft and Yelp, were aggressively pressing arguments that Google was exploiting its dominance in the search business.”

Reaching out to another partner, George Mason University’s Law & Economics Center, Google and the university put together “the first of three academic conferences at the GMU law school’s Arlington County campus,” which, according to the Washington Post, helped to shape the FTC’s approach to the Google probe from then on.

At the third academic conference held at GMU, Google remained present as a silent partner. As “[a] strong contingent of FTC economists and lawyers were on hand for the May 16, 2012, session,” the Washington Post reported, research financially backed by Google was presented by GMU lawyers and economists. And “[i]n January 2013, after an investigation that spanned more than a year and a half, the FTC settled the case with Google, which agreed to give its rivals more access to patents and make it easier for advertisers to use other ad platforms.”

From the publication:

But when it came to the charges that Google biased its search results to promote its own products, the five FTC commissioners all voted to close the investigation, saying there was no evidence the company’s practices were harming consumers.

As Google became more involved with politics, other lobbying opportunities would arise.

More recently, Google got involved in yet another powerful lobbying effort, which started when the company hired the former administrator of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to serve as the company’s Director of Safety for Self-Driving Cars, proving the revolving door that presidential candidate Barack Obama promised to nix is still alive and well. The effort paid off, and personal injury attorneys are now concerned that Google may try to push still more regulations, forcing regulators to stick the human driver with the blame for crashes and getting Google’s autonomous driving system off the hook.

Whether YouTube’s ad policy has anything to do with its parent company’s politics is impossible to determine. But as we analyze Google’s influence in Washington, it’s important to note that, whether you agree with the tech giant on none, some, or all issues, governments create the incentives for companies like Google to continue rent-seeking.

As the economist David R. Henderson puts it, individuals “are said to seek rents when they try to obtain benefits for themselves through the political arena. … licensed electricians and doctors [for instance] often lobby to keep regulations in place that restrict competition from unlicensed electricians or doctors.” Companies like Google are champions of this practice, which has helped to protect the brand’s popularity by keeping competitors at bay.

So it’s not a surprise to see many claiming their content is being censored by Google’s YouTube. After all, with the amount of power the company holds in Washington, it’s as if Google — or Alphabet — is an actual wing of the government.

This article (YouTube Has Quietly Begun “Censoring” Journalists Who Criticize Government) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alice Salles and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to edits@theantimedia.org.

 

YouTube Has Quietly Begun “Censoring” Journalists Who Criticize Government.

Reporter Abby Martin Illegally Detained at the DNC

 

Reporter and activist Abby Martin was aggressively detained yesterday while covering the Democratic National Convention. She talks about how she was never technically arrested but processed at an elementary school with a bunch of other civil disobedience activists.

By Abby Martin

 

Reporter Abby Martin Illegally Detained at the DNC.

BOMBSHELL: Gun Used in Paris Attacks Linked to Fast & Furious Gun Running Operation

Yet more fallout from the government’s notoriously ill-conceived “gunwalking” scheme as Judicial Watch found one of the guns used in the Paris terror attacks of November 13, 2015 appears to have been sold illegally, without repercussion as part of Fast and Furious.

“A Report of Investigation (ROI) filed by a case agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) tracked the gun used in the Paris attacks to a Phoenix gun owner who sold it illegally, ‘off book,’ Judicial Watch’s law enforcement sources confirm.”

According to the watchdog group, a paper trail left, in part, by a 4473 form — which tracks a firearm’s ownership history through serial numbers and other means — traced the weapon to a Phoenix seller who had previously been caught selling illegal weapons.

Evidencing a hallmark of the Fast and Furious scheme, the unidentified Phoenix seller had been caught twice previously for federal firearms violations — “for selling one weapon illegally and possessing an unregistered automatic” — for which no charges or prosecution ever developed.

In fact, according to unidentified and unverified “law enforcement sources involved with the case,” the ATF acted to ensure the seller’s identity and information pertaining to his involvement remained concealed from scrutiny — “kept quiet,” as Judicial Watch sources put it.

“Agents were told, in the process of taking the fully auto [mentioned above], not to anger the seller to prevent him from going public,” Judicial Watch says a “veteran law enforcement officer” explained.

For those unfamiliar with Fast and Furious, the ATF office in Phoenix devised an ill-fated plan, beginning in 2009, to allow gun buyers — “straw purchasers” for Mexican drug cartels — to purchase weapons and cross into Mexico without interference from agents. Ostensibly, this would allow the ATF to trace firearms to those powerful drug cartels; but whistleblowers and various investigators later discovered the feds made no attempts to follow through in tracking any of the thousands of weapons sold in this manner.

Many of these weapons have, however, been tragically linked to crimes against Americans, including the shooting of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry — killed in a shootout along the Mexican border in 2010.

 

BOMBSHELL: Gun Used in Paris Attacks Linked to Fast & Furious Gun Running Operation.

What Are they Hiding? Feds Tell Florida Cops to Deny Public Records Requests on Orlando Attack

A letter revealed by the Orlando Sentinel shows the FBI requested law enforcement agencies who responded to and investigated the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub to withhold information from the public.

A letter from the FBI dated June 20 attached to a lawsuit brought by the City of Orlando seeking the release of 911 calls in full, as well as other records pertaining to the shooting, had also been forwarded to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office — but included instructions for law enforcement to deny all requests for information.

Under the guise of protecting the investigation — as well as the victims and their families — the letter asks law enforcement agencies to deny information to anyone asking and “immediately notify the FBI of any requests your agency received” so “the FBI can seek to prevent disclosure through appropriate channels, as necessary.”

Under an official FBI seal, the letter signed by special agent in charge of the agency’s Tampa field office, Paul Wysopal — who refused to comment to the Sentinel — states, in part:

“As you know, this is an active, on-going investigation being conducted by the FBI. The FBI considers information obtained from state and local enforcement agencies in furtherance of its investigation to be evidence or potential evidence. Accordingly the FBI is concerned that public disclosure of such records or information at this time will adversely affect our ability to effectively investigate the shooting and bring the matter to resolution; could endanger the safety of law enforcement officers, and other individuals who have participated in or are otherwise connected with the investigation; and risks unduly prejudicing any prosecutions that may result from the investigation.”

Though the letter claims the 911 audio recordings and any other information pertaining to the mass shooting would have an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act’s Section 522(b)(7)(A) — “protecting records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes where disclosure would adversely affect a pending investigation” — the excuse seems flimsy and superficial.

According to the Sentinel, attorneys for media outlets involved argue in the lawsuit for the release of all pertinent records because there exists “a strong public interest in fully evaluating how first responders and police reacted during the most critical phases of this incredible tragedy.”

Indeed, as recent revelations proved, law enforcement officers responding immediately to the scene entered the club to stop shooter Omar Mateen, but were told to hold their position until SWAT arrived — something Belle Isle Police Officer Brandon Cornwell said took “15 or 20 minutes — could’ve been longer.”

But under strict orders from the FBI, the City of Orlando continues refusing to release any records “out of respect for Pulse shooting victims and the families.”

However, were the FBI truly looking out for the injured and families of victims, withholding information — which could reveal possible negligence or mishandling of an active shooter situation — wouldn’t be considered. In fact, refusing to release information that might help the families seek recourse or some semblance of justice stands contrary to that end.

President of the First Amendment Foundation, Barbara Petersen, told the Sentinel the “FBI doesn’t have the authority to hijack Florida’s constitution, which guarantees us a right of access to all non-exempt public records.”

Despite the acknowledgement law enforcement would be “obligated to respond to a request under Florida’s Sunshine Law for records and information pertaining to the FBI’s pending investigation, including information that your agency has provided to the FBI in furtherance of our investigation, we request that you withhold the records,” under yet another exemption the agency invokes.

As the Orlando shooting has come under intense scrutiny, and the response and handling of the subsequent investigation by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies remains the subject of controversy, the release of information to the public is crucial.

In the interim, suspicions about the incident’s apparent exception to rules concerning disclosure will remain a topic of debate.

os-fbi-letter-law-enforcement-20160629-001

 

What Are they Hiding? Feds Tell Florida Cops to Deny Public Records Requests on Orlando Attack.

Europe Is About To Create A Link Tax: Time To Speak Out Against It | Techdirt

Europe Is About To Create A Link Tax: Time To Speak Out Against It

from the speak-up dept

We’ve written plenty of times about ridiculous European plans to create a so-called “snippet tax” which is more officially referred to as “ancillary rights” (and is really just about creating a tax on Google). The basic concept is that some old school newspapers are so lazy and have so failed to adapt to the internet — and so want to blame Google for their own failures — that they want to tax any aggregator (e.g., Google) that links to their works with a snippet, that doesn’t pay for the privilege of sending those publishers traffic. As you may remember, Germany has been pushing for such a thing for many, many years, and Austria has been exploring it as well. But perhaps the most attention grabbing move was the one in Spain, which not only included a snippet tax, but made it mandatory. That is, even if you wanted Google News to link to you for free, you couldn’t get that. In response, Google took the nuclear option and shut down Google News in Spain. A study showed that this law has actually done much to harm Spanish publishers, but the EU pushes on, ridiculously.

As discussed a year ago, some in the EU Commission are all for creating an EU-wide snippet tax, and as ridiculous and counterproductive as that is, the Commission is about to make a decision on it, and the public consultation on the issue is about to close (it ends tomorrow). Thankfully, many, many different groups have set up nice and easy systems to understand and respond to the consultation — which you should do. Here are just a few options:

There’s also a good detailed discussion of why this snippet tax is the wrong solution from European copyright lawyer Remy Chavannes. Here’s just a… um… snippet (that I didn’t pay for):

In fact, there is precious little indication that the challenges currently being faced by press publishers are due to the lack of sufficiently broad intellectual property rights. And if insufficient IP rights are not a significant part of the problem, increasing IP rights is unlikely to be a significant part of the solution. At a recent conference in Amsterdam, speakers from publishers, academia, politics, civil society and the internet sector were in near-total agreement that a neighbouring right for publishers would solve nothing at best. It would seem more fruitful to investigate other ways in which the position and prospects of publishers of quality journalism can be increased, e.g. via subsidies, tax facilities, the partial repurposing of public broadcasting funds, or other measures that reflect the significant value to a democratic society of having a vigorous, free and independent press.

Implementation of a neighbouring right would bring significant uncertainty, costs and risks, not just to authors and publishers, but also to the eclectic group of platforms, intermediaries and other service providers that play a role in facilitating the publication, discovery and consumption of press content. Larger, existing broad-based platforms will be incentivised to reduce or remove service features that might trigger the new neighbouring right. New entrants are likely to be discouraged, particularly new entrants who want specifically to serve the market for finding and consuming press content. Depending on the scope of any neighbouring right, moreover, it could also negatively impact providers of social networks as well as providers of access, caching and hosting services. Increasing costs, complexity and uncertainty for such a broad category of service providers threatens the free flow of information and investment in – and availability of – innovative digital services, as well as the commercial prospects for publishers and authors.

Good stuff, and I urge you to read the whole thing — and to respond to the consultation before the EU Commission destroys the link.

 

Europe Is About To Create A Link Tax: Time To Speak Out Against It | Techdirt.

The Snowden Test

Edward Snowden

 

No doubt you know the basic story.

 

Beginning June 5th 2013, a series of explosive articles ran in The Guardian (and subsequently a handful of other newspapers/magazines) detailing a vast web of global surveillance (engineered by the U.S. National Security Agency and U.K. partner GCHQ). The revelations were backed by large troves of primary information (code-names/programme descriptions) and internal documents (charts and diagrams) apparently directly sourced from the NSA.

 

A storm of controversy soon erupted over the breadth and ubiquity of this global surveillance. Forthcoming details on the myriad of previously secret programmes made it clear that email, text, phone data and communications were being scooped-up, recorded and analysed on a mammoth and almost unimaginable scale around the world.

 

On June 9th, 4 days after the earth-shaking leaks began, the then 29 year-old Edward Snowden identified himself as the source of the leaks. Secreted in a Hong Kong hotel room, Snowden volunteered his motives and personal history to a voracious media and public. What followed in the succeeding 2 weeks resembled an international spy-thriller, as Snowden fled from one safe-house to another throughout Hong Kong, always one step ahead of the press and (presumably) U.S. law enforcement.

 

 

The details are sometimes contradictory, but apparently Snowden then boarded a flight from Hong Kong June 23rd en route (via Moscow and Havana) to safe haven in South America. Oddly, sometime during that flight the U.S. government revoked Snowden’s passport, causing him to be stranded in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. After a lengthy period (somehow, and somewhat miraculously, avoiding both assassins and journalists for over a month) Snowden received legal asylum and left the airport to begin a new life in the Russian Federation.

 

Meanwhile, various news outlets continued a drip-feed of dramatic and ‘Orwellian’ revelations.

 

Snowden had become an iconic figure. Celebrated by ‘progressives’ as a whistleblower and hero, derided by ‘conservatives’ as a traitor and fugitive – he lives presently (we’re told) with his girlfriend in Russia, and appears (sporadically) as an advocate of communications privacy and government accountability.

 

Further theatrics were provided by the incidents of an Ecuadorian Presidential plane being forced to land, numerous international political leaders’ communications being routinely tapped and fierce debate about the probity of Snowden’s actions and the actual spying regime he exposed. American conservatives and pundits denounced his ‘treason’ and pleaded for his ‘extrajudicial assassination’ while others hailed his patriotism.

 

Snowden ID

 

It was a thrilling, captivating and microscopically reported tale.

 

Yet somehow…it doesn’t quite stack up. Some thread of doubt remains, some scent of faint incredulity lingers.

 

Questions provoked by the official narrative are partly logistical, partly philosophical and decidedly pragmatic.

 

For starters: are we really to believe (especially in light of his own revelations of an all-pervasive clandestine surveillance regime) that Snowden, after booking a flight to Hong Kong (and soon after  – numerous hotel rooms) all admittedly on his own credit card, could not be immediately traced and apprehended (or ‘neutralised’) shortly after (assumedly) the entire U.S. security apparatus had been alerted to his actions and movements? Is it really plausible that possibly the world’s most wanted man (at that moment) could just ‘go-to-ground’ and evade the ‘all-seeing-eye’ for a full fortnight in a cosmopolitan and highly-accessible city?

 

Some sources report that Snowden gave up his rental home in Hawaii (as he was ostensibly ‘transferring jobs’) just days before he ‘fled’ to Hong Kong and global infamy. How convenient.

 

Snowden also comes from a family steeped in security state nomenclature. His grandfather was a rear-admiral and subsequently a senior FBI official (present at the Pentagon on September 11th 2001) while apparently “everybody in my family has worked for the federal government in one way or another.” Snowden himself enjoyed stints at the CIA and NSA before landing at defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Surely it would be starkly traumatic for one so tethered to the military-industrial-complex, to suddenly turn ‘traitor.’

 

Still other questions rudely interrupt the ostensibly chivalrous tale.

 

To put it bluntly, Snowden is possibly just a little too young to be a convincing whistleblower. 29 year-old whistleblowers are statistically a rare thing indeed. By definition – zealots must start with zeal. Only over time is it plausible for the zealot to become wizened by the ugly machine of which he is but a cog. Just a handful of years before turning tumultuous ‘whistleblower’ Snowden was to be found on internet tech-forums waxing enthusiastically about the security state. His ‘gestation’ from true-believer to ground-quaking operative seems unusually and unconvincingly brief.

 

Fellow whistleblower William Binney is more likely (at least by age) to be the real deal. Over three decades in spy-craft he reportedly became increasingly frightened by the metastasising spectre of the national-security-complex. His revelations, while similar in tone to Snowden’s and predating them by over a decade, were greeted with little fanfare (and considerable personal harassment and marginalisation).

 

By contrast, Snowden was granted immediate and enthusiastic access to the most venerated organs of ‘controlled opposition’ and officially sanctioned stenography. Each outlet sticking dutifully to their established charter and brand demographic.

 

While (by some sleight-of-hand) still able to present itself as ‘progressive’ and ‘independent’, the New York Times is neither. Socially liberal yet aggressively war-like in foreign policy tastes (just how elites like it), the NYT has led the charge to countless illegal and immoral invasions/wars/actions and interventions, baying for rivers of blood from Iraq to Syria and beyond.

 

Likewise, the U.K Guardian gives oxygen to a raft of somewhat nebulous social concerns with po-faced righteousness, while yet being a clamorous cheerleader for bombing and murder from Libya to Ukraine (how many times can one newspaper repeatedly invent the ‘Russian invasion of Ukraine’ and retain any kind of credibility?).

 

Similarly, there is something decidedly absurd about the pretence of exclusive Snowden techno-anarchist sound-bites gracing the pages of neocon-beltway-bible The Washington Post.

 

And yet those glorified minarets of state/private propaganda champion a supposedly dangerous traitor/whistleblower absconded into enemy territory? It doesn’t add up.

 

Indeed, The Guardian tasked one of its most voracious experts in officially-sanctioned fellatio (Luke Harding), to mint the approved novelisation of poster-boy Snowden’s exploits. Harding’s long stint of feeble, flaccid journalism in thrall to MI6 and deep-state enabling has finally found just recompense in a big-time Hollywood pay-cheque (his book adapted for Oliver Stone’s forthcoming Snowden biopic).

 

As a blunt instrument of propaganda, Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” might indeed make Leni Riefenstahl blush, but could the Snowden gambit be a far more insidious and subtle secret-state strategy?

 

In purely practical terms alone, the ‘Snowden revelations’ have been an unmitigated victory for the national security state. A global public that was previously blissfully unaware of its position as central target of mass surveillance has now been thoroughly (and generally, comfortably) acclimated to that very idea. A raft of recent studies conclude that the Snowden revelations have had a marked chilling effect on people’s online habits and expressions of dissent.

 

Indeed, for a permanent cyber-Panopticon to be truly effective as a means of social control, the inmates (the global public) must be at least peripherally aware of its existence. Assuming it does actually exist and one of its aims is (logically) the abortion of popular dissent (through mass scale self-policing), a gargantuan surveillance apparatus also has clear uses as a giant blackmail machine (this would neatly explain the perpetually compliant response from the legislature and judiciary) and as a profound and unimaginably effective tool of social engineering.

 

Snowden - 4

 

Perhaps we are already there? Various leaks about Facebook and the Pentagon’s partnered experiments in ‘crowd herding’ and ‘emotional contagion,’ along with the underreported long-term history of tech corporations (Google, Microsoft, Facebook etc.) co-parenting with the NSA-CIA-Pentagon-DARPA nexus, hint that the entire electronically mediated womb-environment of today might just be one vast dark Psy-Op (interestingly, Vladimir Putin once referred to the internet as a ‘CIA Project’).

 

Software already exists to constantly monitor social media, analyse (in real-time) public trends and responses, and generate automatic (i.e robotic) comments/posts supporting (or denigrating) a chosen policy/worldview/opinion/initiative/product. We know (ironically largely via Edward Snowden), that our rogue intelligence agencies have been busy launching battalions of cyber-warriors and studying the psychology of online relations and the very architecture of our intrinsic belief systems.

 

After endless reams of circus commentary and vast volumes of hot air, the net result of the Snowden saga has in fact been the legitimation, legalisation and expansion of the very same unwarranted, unconstitutional, unnecessary (and surely intrinsically illegal) indiscriminate surveillance regime.

 

‘Mission creep’ has become a stampede, as supine governments rush a candied ‘national security’ wish-list of mass surveillance (and police state) initiatives past a bewildered and disenfranchised public. Nowhere is this more rudely obvious than in Australia, Canada, the U.K and the U.S itself, all of which have increased the state’s options for surveillance and data retention in the months since the ‘Snowden revelations’ (while performing a pantomime of ‘debate’ and ‘consultation’).

 

The ‘terrorist’ bogeyman (looking understandably tired and unconvincing) has been trotted out yet again to justify all this breathless chicanery. That these nations are all working from the same international (intelligence agency?) playbook seems in little doubt – the timing, wording and circumstances of (for example) recent surveillance ‘reforms’ in Australia, Canada and France being so strikingly similar. Likewise, a similar series of dubious provocations, sieges and ‘terrorist’ attacks predictably and magically manifested themselves just prior to the legislation being tabled – the public must, of course, be cajoled in the right direction.

 

Is it not possible that we have been completely gamed? The mysterious and messianic figure of Edward Snowden, introduced to acclimatise the global public to the very idea of an endless, all-pervading surveillance state (entirely unaccountable with unstated goals and limitless technology). Snowden as ‘progressive’ Trojan Horse (perhaps much like Barack Obama before him) to activate and mobilise the public passion, only to see it hijacked and channeled into Room 101. After much ‘debate’ from captured politicians and a puppeteer punditry the (entirely noxious) ‘security regime’ is solidified and expanded – the illusion being, that ultimately ‘democracy’ functioned and the population actually ‘chose’ omniscient observation – for the ‘greater good.’

 

Snowden himself perhaps reminds one of an articulate Lee Harvey Oswald-like character, a brave young patriotic warrior in deep-cover embrace with the Russian bear, dancing a dangerous and duplicitous deep-state deception. Knowingly (or unknowingly) a tool of clandestine forces. Snowden should bear in mind that he too, if he outlives his usefulness, might be thrown to the lions (just like Oswald was).

 

Imagine for a moment that the Snowden saga is a test. Having built a labyrinthine structure for social control (a compliant media and cowered public that cheerfully delivers itself up to enormous data-mining projects like social media): in fact, an almost entire reality-set constructed and delivered electronically – surely one would be tempted to test it? To see if complete movements, debates, paradigms and world-views could be generated out of whole virtual cloth and controlled? A test-tone, a electro-static ripple, a tremulous shock-wave to the online body electric.

 

Would it really be possible to introduce an idea (global omniscient surveillance) itself intrinsically repugnant, and yet shepherd it through a controlled release (and discourse) to have it ultimately accepted, completely present and yet essentially invisible? To test the various nuances and feedback loops in media (and online social media) that now might just grant remote Panopticon control of an entire population and their ‘internal landscape’? An electronically mediated ‘reality’ where ideas and beliefs are mere manifestations of algorithms and software?

 

Conservatives, progressives, activists, lethargists – all actors in the traveling circus of ‘representative democracy’ and ‘online society’?

David Thrussell

 

The Snowden Test : Waking Times.

TTIP reading room to open in the UK, but campaigners warn of lack of transparency – TruePublica

 

TTIP reading room is still a state secret

The UK government has announced its plans to open a special ‘TTIP reading room’ where MPs are able to read the negotiating texts of the controversial trade deal being negotiated between the EU and the USA – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The announcement was made in response to a written parliamentary question by Caroline Lucas MP, in advance of the 12thround of the TTIP negotiations which started in Brussels on 22 February.

The TTIP negotiating documents have been subjected to extreme levels of secrecy, leading to widespread criticism from both civil society and MEPs.  In 2015 Green MEP Molly Scott Cato wrote of the extreme security lengths she had to endure to access the reading room that had been set up in Brussels.

Responding to the massive public controversy that has erupted across Europe over the trade deals being hammered out behind closed doors, in early 2016 it was announced that the first member-state reading room was opened in Germany, where German MPs could peruse the negotiating documents. German MP Katja Kipping wrote of her frustrating experience of accessing the texts,  and how she,  “read nothing that would lead me to reconsider my previous criticism that consumer protection plays no part in TTIP.” BIS’ plans for a UK TTIP reading room is the first of its kind to be announced since the one that was opened in Berlin.

Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice Now said:

“Given the extent of the impact that TTIP would have on our public services, our consumer standards and our democracy, it’s astounding that MPs still haven’t been able to look at all at the negotiating texts. While the opening of this reading room is an opportunity for MPs to see for themselves the extent of the corporate power grab under TTIP, there are still big questions as to whether or not they will have any say whatsoever as to the contents of the toxic trade deal, or if it will simply get voted on in Brussels.”

Setting up this reading room is only a small step, and one that seems to have been taken reluctantly by the British government,  seeing that Germany already has its reading room set up. It’s deplorable that MPs will have to sign confidentiality documents in order to see documents in a guarded room. This effects all of us – and should be open to all of us. We think the fact that it’s not speaks volumes about TTIP.”

Caroline Lucas, MP said:

“The good news is that the government has finally conceded that MPs are going to get sight of this hugely significant trade deal before being asked to vote on it. But the bad news is that a cloak of secrecy still surrounds TTIP. If the same rules apply here in the UK as they do in Brussels – which is what the minister is implying – then MPs will be bound by a confidentiality agreement if they want to see the text. This opaque process – which shuts citizens out of this crucial debate – is profoundly undemocratic.

“Rather than kowtowing to the corporations, ministers should trust the British public to have a say on this issue by opening it up to real democratic scrutiny.”

Notes

http://www.parliament.uk/writtenanswers

Question 26010 asked by Caroline Lucas MP on 4 February 2016:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pursuant to the Answer of 16 October 2015 to Question 10523, whether hon. Members of both Houses have the same levels of access to consolidated texts related to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as members of the (a) European Parliament, (b) German Parliament, (c) Scottish Parliament, (d) Welsh Assembly and (e) Northern Ireland Assembly; and what the Government’s policy is on the provision of a reading room for hon. Members of both Houses to scrutinise the consolidated texts of documents.”

Answer by Anna Soubry MP, submitted on 16 February 2016 at 15:03:

“The European Commission shares classified documents relating to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Members of the European Parliament via a reading room. Following pressure from Member States, the Commission and the US have agreed that national parliamentarians should have similar access to classified TTIP documents, including consolidated texts, via reading rooms in national ministries. Restrictions placed on these rooms include that they are only accessible to officials of Member State central governments and Members of Member State national Parliaments.

The UK intends to establish such a reading room in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. This will give equivalent access to documents for hon. Members of both Houses to that afforded to Members of the European Parliament.”

 

Source : TruePublica.

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