Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame recently renounced his “citizenship,” pulling the plug on his Amazon Prime membership and calling for a boycott of Amazon after he discovered that the company had buckled under pressure from Washington and scrubbed WikiLeaks from its Web servers. – The Nation.
In the year since the poll, above, was taken, Americans’ confidence in their media has fallen dramatically and now stands at only 20 percent.
Most countries’ media support their governments and cheerfully lie for them (“weapons of mass destruction”). Venezuela is unusual in that its corporate media regularly calls for the assassination of their democratically-elected President, making it the freest national media on earth. But such examples are rare.
Most countries have one-party governments and one-party media. The US has a capitalist government and capitalist media controlled by capitalists that permits no criticism of Capitalism. China has Communist government and a Communist media which is controlled by communists. It publishes a lot of criticism of the government–but few criticism of Communism. Both countries’ media are heavily censored. US media is censored by their billionaire owners. China’s media is censored by a censor. Neither country is a democracy: American elections do not feature anti-capitalists and Chinese elections do not feature anti-communists.
Recently the Chinese have begun to publicly discuss their own media censorship, as this piece from the Financial Times illustrates. Now we may hope for a similar discussion in our Western media:
All countries exercise censorship, as seen in this article about American ally Australia: MELBOURNE – Google has withdrawn from China, arguing that it is no longer willing to design its search engine to block information that the Chinese government does not wish its citizens to have. In liberal democracies around the world, this decision has generally been greeted with enthusiasm. But in one of those liberal democracies, Australia, the government recently said that it would legislate to block access to some Web sites. The prohibited material includes child pornography, bestiality, incest, graphic “high impact” images of violence, anything promoting or providing instruction on crime or violence, detailed descriptions of the use of proscribed drugs, and how-to information on suicide by Web sites supporting the right to die for the terminally or incurably ill…. [Peter Singer].
And advocates of ‘Freedom of the Press’ , like Reporters Without Borders (RWB or RSF) are really just fronts for US corporate interests, as this excerpt demonstrates: After years of trying to hide it, Robert Menard, Paris-based Secretary-General of Reporters Sans Frontieres or RWB, confessed that the RWB budget was primarily funded by “US organizations strictly linked to US foreign policy.” Those US organizations behind RWB include the Open Society Foundation of billionaire speculator, George Soros, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Congress’ National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Also included is the Center for Free Cuba, whose trustee, Otto Reich, was forced to resign from the George W. Bush Administration after exposure of his role in a CIA-backed coup attempt against Venezuela’s democratically elected President Hugo Chavez.
As one researcher found after months of trying to get a reply from NED about their funding of Reporters Without Borders, which included a flat denial from RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the NED revealed that Reporters Without Borders received grants over at least three years from the International Republican Institute. The IRI is one of four subsidiaries of NED.–F. William Engdahl, “Reporters Without Borders seems to have a geopolitical agenda,”
The National Endowment for Democracy, as its Orwellian name implies, is devoted to overthrowing democracies and all forms of government that express independence from the (Capitalist) Party line: The NED, as I detail in my book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, was created by the US Congress during the Reagan administration on the initiative of then-CIA Director Bill Casey to replace the CIA’s civil society covert action programs, which had been exposed by the Church committee in the mid-1970s. As Allen Weinstein, the man who drafted the legislation creating the NED admitted years later, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
Reporters Without Borders (RWB), the champion of billionaire-controlled media, ranks the Chinese media freedom at #170—almost the lowest freedom rating on earth–and ranks the USA at #20 – among the highest. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Because according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, only 20% of Americans feel that our media is trustworthy, while 88% of Chinese trust their government and its media. Perhaps that’s because China’s government admits it censors while Americans are told that their media is “free”?
..officials at the Department of State issued a procurement notice on 1 June asking software developers to submit bids for a contract to supply tools that provide “deep analysis of topics, conversations, networks, and influencers of the global social web”. These tools will analyse conversations taking place in at least seven foreign languages, including Chinese and Arabic.
Once the bids are in, the software systems will undergo a six-month trial in which they will examine online reaction to a specific event, such as a talk given by a US ambassador.
The military is even further along with such plans. In 2007, the US air force awarded defence giant Lockheed Martin a $27 million contract to develop theWeb Information Spread Data Operations Module, or WISDOM, which analyses posts made to news forums, blogs and social media. Military analysts are already using it to monitor Central and South America and the Pacific region. Lockheed Martin is now upgrading WISDOM with a $9 million contract from the navy, which wants to “understand the latest regional trends and sentiment and predict threats from groups and individuals” Read More…
Of course. Censorship has always been an important tool of the Capitalist regime in America, just as it is for the Communist regime in China. The difference is that the Chinese trust their Government media 76% of the time (Edelman). The American Capitalist government (which has not explained their censorship policies to the people who live under Capitalism) receive a media a trust rating of 49%. Here’s one reason why:
Our American Pravda–by Ron Unz
The realization that the world is often quite different from what is presented in our leading newspapers and magazines is not an easy conclusion for most educated Americans to accept, or at least that was true in my own case. For decades, I have closely read the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and one or two other major newspapers every morning, supplemented by a wide variety of weekly or monthly opinion magazines. Their biases in certain areas had always been apparent to me. But I felt confident that by comparing and contrasting the claims of these different publications and applying some common sense, I could obtain a reasonably accurate version of reality. I was mistaken. Read more…
China, Censorship, and the NSA
WikiLeaks: “The US National Archives has literally turned into Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.” In another more vivid message, “The US state is literally eating its own brain by censoring its own collective memories about WikiLeaks.” And, in another message, “The US National Archives censoring searches for its records containing the word ‘WikiLeaks’ is absolutely absurd.”
The Chinese Government is no slouch when it comes to computing. China has, for example, the world’s fastest computer, the most advanced photonic communications devices, and the most computer science Ph.D.s on earth. They have long been aware of the spying carried out by America’s NSA, and of the destructive propaganda that passes for news spread by the West’s corporate-controlled, government-based media designed to destroy governments like themselves, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Russia.
China could have elected to compete by spreading propaganda themselves but instead have chosen to restrict the spread of such poisonous nonsense by making access to such espionage/propaganda difficult – though not impossible, as any resident of China will attest. In retrospect, this policy seems wiser and more moderate than engaging in a pissing match against the massed forces of the West’s corporate-controlled, government-based media.
Western media has, at the same time, been practicing the most blatant form of censorship by deleting information that might embarrass Western corporations or the governments which they fully control. As an example, have you read the Application for Asylum submitted by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden? It’s a public document, submitted by a US citizen to one of the most respected courts of justice in the world and it’s been read by hundreds of millions of people. But none of them in the West. So, as you read Mr. Snowden’s request, ask yourself, “If Western media were government-controlled, would it be any different?” Here’s the missing element from the Snowden story:
“I, Edward Snowden, citizen of the United States of America, am writing to request asylum in the Republic of Ecuador because of the risk of being persecuted by the government of the United States and its agents in relation to my decision to make public serious violations on the part of the government of the United States of its Constitution, specifically of its Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and of various treaties of the United Nations that are binding on my country.
As a result of my political opinions, and my desire to exercise my freedom of speech, through which I’ve shown that the government of the United States is intercepting the majority of communications in the world, the government of the United States has publicly announced a criminal investigation against me. Also, prominent members of Congress and others in the media have accused me of being a traitor and have called for me to be jailed or executed as a result of having communicated this information to the public.
Some of the charges that have been presented against me by the Justice Department of the United States are connected to the 1917 Espionage Act, one of which includes life in prison among the possible sentences.
Ecuador granted asylum to the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, in relation to this investigation. My case is also very similar to that of the American soldier Bradley Manning, who made public government information through Wikileaks revealing war crimes, was arrested by the United States government and has been treated inhumanely during his time in prison. He was put in solitary confinement before his trial and the U.N. anti-torture representative judged that Mr. Manning was submitted to cruel and inhumane acts by the United States government.
The trial against Bradley Manning is ongoing now, and secret documents have been presented to the court and secret witnesses have testified.
I believe that, given these circumstances, it is unlikely that I would receive a fair trial or proper treatment prior to that trial, and face the possibility of life in prison or even death”.
Europe Bans Iran’s Press TV
(Reuters) – Iran’s English-language Press TV channel has been dropped from the satellite platform that allowed it to broadcast in the United States and Canada, the channel said. The state-owned, 24-hour network broadcasts world news and pro-government views beyond Iran’s borders. Press TV had broadcast in North America on the Galaxy 19 satellite platform. The channel did not say when it was dropped. “The announcement first came from EUTELSAT, a French-based company that runs satellites which broadcast news over Europe as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and parts of Asia and the Americas. Without warning, the company informed Iran’s Press TV, the English-language 24-hour news channel, that it was not allowed to beam its TV shows to Europe. I should add that I once anchored for the channel and now make an independent production for them. (I’ll get to the ban being a precursor for media-management of another terrible war, later.) Press TV rang a spokesperson at EUTELSAT who explained it wasn’t their fault: they said they had been told to ban the channel by the European Commission. And Press TV wasn’t the only one – the continent that cradled the Enlightenment also thought eight more television channels were too dangerous for Descartes, Locke, and Voltaire to watch.” More..
The US military has blocked access to the Guardian news website, but it wasn’t done to censor free speech, but just “to preserve ‘network hygiene’”. Military admits to filtering reports and content relating to government surveillance programs for thousands of personnel. The Pentagon insisted the Department of Defense was not seeking to block the whole website, merely taking steps to restrict access to certain content. “The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative ‘network hygiene’ measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks.”
Chinese Censorship vs. England’s
Great Britain, however, will soon take a significant step toward deciding what a private citizen can see on the web even while at home. Before the end of the year, almost all Internet users there will be “opted-in” to a system designed to filter out pornography. By default, the controls will also block access to “violent material,” “extremist and terrorist related content,” “anorexia and eating disorder websites,” and “suicide related websites.” In addition, the new settings will censor sites mentioning alcohol or smoking. The filter will also block “esoteric material,” though a UK-based rights group says the government has yet to make clear what that category will include. Read More…
How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations
One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.
Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articlesabout “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”
By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.
Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today [Read more..]: