The War On Dissent

In reality, the Big Tech companies that dominate our online lives, especially Google and Facebook, were either developed with some involvement of the U.S. nationwide security state or have ended up being significant U.S. federal government and/or military specialists over the previous two years. These days, one need only look at important government commissions– such as the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), headed by former Google/Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt– to see how this de facto public-private collaboration between Silicon Valley and the national security state functions, and its outsized function in setting crucial tech-related policies for both the private and public sectors.(xiv, xv) Primer is just one of several companies seeking to develop a world where “reality” is defined by the U.S. national security state, with that stiff definition then being imposed by Big Tech business with no room for argument. Not just do we have the national security state in a de facto public-private collaboration with Big Tech to censor online details– Now, with the recent launch of the Biden administrations war on domestic terror, we have the same national security state framing “presumed disinformation” and “conspiracy theories” as national security threats. Americans would do well to keep in mind the caution of Benjamin Franklin as the U.S. government moves to criminalize totally free speech under the guise of securing nationwide security; “Those who would provide up vital liberty, to purchase a little momentary security, are worthy of neither liberty nor security.

This post originally appeared in Bitcoin Magazines “Censorship Resistant Issue.” To get a copy, visit our store.Online censorship is ending up being progressively stabilized as growing constraints, deplatforming and its other symptoms have ended up being so pervasive that lots of have actually simply come to accept it. This “brand-new typical” for totally free speech is as insidious as it has actually been progressive, as we are significantly being trained to accept unconstitutional limitations on what we can reveal on the websites that dominate online socialization. Like so much of our lives, social interaction has actually moved online at a rapid rate in the last decade, suggesting that limitations imposed upon online speech have an out of proportion impact on speech in general. The argument that is typically deployed to dismiss concerns concerning online censorship is the claim that the dominant social networks companies are private, not public, entities. Nevertheless, in truth, the Big Tech companies that dominate our online lives, particularly Google and Facebook, were either produced with some involvement of the U.S. national security state or have ended up being major U.S. government and/or military specialists over the previous 20 years.(i, ii, iii, iv, v) When it comes to censoring and deplatforming people for claims that run counter to U.S. government stories, it must be clear that Google-owned YouTube, and other tech platforms owned by contractors to the U.S. military and intelligence communities, have a major dispute of interest in their suppressing of speech. The line in between “private” Silicon Valley and the general public sector has become significantly blurred and it is now a matter of record that these business have illegally passed details onto intelligence services, like the National Security Agency (NSA), for blatantly unconstitutional surveillance programs intended at American civilians.(vi) All signs point to the military-industrial complex having expanded into the military-technology-industrial complex. These days, one need just take a look at crucial federal government commissions– such as the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), headed by former Google/Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt– to see how this de facto public-private partnership between Silicon Valley and the national security state functions, and its outsized role in setting crucial tech-related policies for both the public and private sectors. That commission, mainly comprised of representatives of the military, intelligence neighborhood and the scions of Big Tech, has helped set policy on “countering disinformation” online. More specifically, it has suggested weaponizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the express purpose of recognizing online accounts to deplatform and speech to censor, framing this suggestion as necessary to U.S. national security as it relates to “info warfare.”(vii, viii) There are currently a number of business competing to market an AI-powered censorship engine to the national security state in addition to the personal sector. Among these companies is Primer AI, a “device intelligence” company that “builds software makers that read and write in English, Russian, and Chinese to immediately uncover trends and patterns across large volumes of data.” The company openly mentions that their work “supports the objective of the intelligence community and broader DOD by automating reading and research jobs to enhance the speed and quality of decision-making.” Their present lineup of clients includes the U.S. military, U.S. intelligence, significant American companies like Walmart and private “philanthropic” organizations like the Bill & & Melinda Gates Foundation.(ix) Primers creator, Sean Gourley, who previously developed AI programs for the military to track insurgents in post-invasion Iraq, asserted in an April 2020 blog site post that “computational warfare and disinformation projects will, in 2020, end up being a more severe danger than physical war, and we will need to reconsider the weapons we deploy to combat them.”(x) In that very same post, Gourley argued for the creation of a “Manhattan Project for truth” that would produce a publicly offered Wikipedia-style database constructed off of “understanding bases [that] currently exist inside many countries intelligence firms for nationwide security purposes.” Gourley wrote that “this effort would be eventually about building and boosting our collective intelligence and developing a baseline for whats real or not.” He concludes his blog site post by stating that “in 2020, we will begin to weaponize truth.” Since that year, Primer has been under agreement with the U.S. military to “develop the first-ever device learning platform to immediately evaluate and determine thought disinformation.”(xi) That the term “believed disinformation” was used is no accident, as many instances of online censorship include merely assertions, rather than verifications, that censored speech becomes part of a nation state-connected or “bad actor”-linked organized disinformation project. While those campaigns do exist, genuine and constitutionally secured speech that deviates from the “main” or government-sanctioned narrative are regularly censored under these metrics, typically with little to no ability to meaningfully appeal the censors choice. In other cases, posts “believed” of being disinformation or that are flagged as such (in some cases mistakenly) by social networks algorithms, are eliminated or hidden from public view without the posters knowledge. In addition, “thought disinformation” can be utilized to justify the censorship of speech that is bothersome for specific federal governments, groups and corporations, as there is no need to have proof or present a coherent case that said material is disinformation– one should just cast suspicion upon it in order to have it censored. Further complicating this problem is the truth that some claims at first identified “disinformation” later ended up being accepted truth or recognized as genuine speech. This has occurred on more than one event during the COVID-19 crisis, where material creators had their accounts deleted or their material censored simply for bring up issues like the lab-leak hypothesis along with questions over mask and vaccine efficacy, amongst numerous other concerns.(xii, xiii) A year or two later on, much of this supposed “disinformation” was subsequently admitted to consist of genuine avenues of journalistic query and the preliminary, blanket censorship on these topics was done at the behest of private and public stars alike due to their trouble to what had actually once been the dominating narrative.(xiv, xv) Primer is just one of several business seeking to develop a world where “fact” is specified by the U.S. nationwide security state, with that rigid meaning then being enforced by Big Tech companies with no space for argument. Brian Raymond, a previous authorities for the CIA and the National Security Council who now acts as Primers vice president, openly wrote about this in November 2020 for Foreign Policy. In that article, he stated:”Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google are increasingly dealing with U.S. defense agencies to educate future software engineers, cybersecurity experts, and researchers. Eventually, when public-private trust is completely brought back, the U.S. government and Silicon Valley can create an unified front in order to successfully take on phony news.” (xvi)Particularly unpleasant is the truth that Raymonds primary example of “fake news” at the time was the New York Posts reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop emails, which– well over a year after the reality– has now been validated as genuine.(xvii) Having the government, and more particularly the nationwide security state, which has carried out a list of confirmed disinformation and propaganda projects over the years, define reality and truth is hardly constant with its professed goal of protecting “democracy.”(xviii) Instead, it safeguards the interests of the national security state itself, whose own interests are firmly linked with those of the countrys progressively entrenched (and enriched) oligarchy. Not only do we have the nationwide security state in a de facto public-private partnership with Big Tech to censor online info– Now, with the recent launch of the Biden administrations war on domestic horror, we have the same national security state framing “presumed disinformation” and “conspiracy theories” as national security threats. The policy files that summary this new war note that a significant “pillar” of the federal governments entire strategy is to eliminate online material that they claim promotes “domestic terrorist” ideologies, including those that “intersect and connect with conspiracy theories and other types of disinformation and misinformation.” The proliferation of “hazardous” details “on Internet-based interactions platforms such as social media, file-upload websites and end-to-end encrypted platforms”, it argues,” […] can combine and magnify risks to public security.” The “cutting edges” of this war are “extremely private-sector online platforms.” The problem with this framing is that the Biden administrations meaning of “domestic terrorist” used in these same files is exceptionally broad. It labels opposition to corporate globalization, capitalism and government overreach as “terrorist” ideologies. This indicates that online material going over “anti-government” and/or “anti-authority” ideas, which might just be criticisms of government policy or the national class structure, could soon be dealt with in the same method as online Al Qaeda or ISIS propaganda. In addition, intelligence companies in both the U.K. and U.S. have transferred to deal with important reporting of COVID-19 vaccines and requireds as “extremist” propaganda, regardless of the fact that a substantial portion of Americans have chosen not to get the vaccine and/or oppose vaccine mandates. In what seems the obvious fulfilment of Primer AI executives pleas, the Biden administration also underscores the requirement to “increase digital literacy” amongst the American public, while censoring “harmful material” disseminated by “domestic terrorists” as well as by “hostile foreign powers seeking to weaken American democracy.” The latter is a clear referral to the claim that crucial reporting of U.S. government policy, especially its military and intelligence activities abroad, was the product of “Russian disinformation,” a now-discredited claim that was utilized to heavily censor independent media. Regarding “increasing digital literacy,” the policy files make it clear that this describes a new “digital literacy” education curriculum that is currently being established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. domestically-focused intelligence firm, for a domestic audience. This “digital literacy” initiative would have formerly violated U.S. law, until the Obama administration dealt with Congress to rescind the Smith-Mundt Act, which raised the World War II-era restriction on the U.S. federal government directing propaganda at domestic audiences. The Biden administrations war on domestic horror policy likewise makes it clear that the censorship, as explained above, is part of a “broader concern” of the administration, which it defines as follows:” […] boosting faith in federal government and attending to the extreme polarization, fueled by a crisis of disinformation and false information typically funnelled through social networks platforms, which can tear Americans apart and lead some to violence.”In other words, fostering trust in government while concurrently censoring “polarizing” voices who wonder about or criticize the federal government is a crucial policy objective behind the Biden administrations new domestic-terror technique. In addition, this statement implies that Americans not concurring with each other is bothersome and frames that difference as a motorist of violence, rather than a typical incident in an expected democracy that has constitutional protections for flexibility of speech. From this framing, it is indicated that such violence can just be stopped if all Americans rely on the federal government and agree with its stories and “realities.” Framing discrepancies from these narratives as nationwide security risks, as is carried out in this policy file, welcomes the labeling of non-conforming speech as “violence” or as “inciting violence” through the fomentation of disagreement. As a result, those who publish non-conforming speech online might soon discover themselves being identified as “terrorists” by the state. If we are to accept the “new typical” of online censorship, these efforts to forbid debate and legitimate criticisms of federal government policy in the name of “nationwide security” will continue unobstructed. In short order, the First Amendment will be redefined so that it just protects government-sanctioned speech, not the flexibility of speech, as was planned. While such measures are often framed as needed to “secure” democracy, the removal and imminent criminalization of legitimate speech is the real threat to democracy, one that need to deeply disrupt all Americans. If the national security state controls and implements the only permissible stories and the only allowed version of the “truth,” they will then likewise control human perception, and– as a repercussion– human behavior. Such control has actually long been a goal of some within the U.S. military and intelligence neighborhoods, however it is anathema to the values and desires of the large bulk of Americans. If there is no significant pushback versus the increasing fusion of the national security state and Big Tech, Americans are guaranteed to lose a lot more than just the freedom of speech, as managing speech is just the primary step towards controlling all behavior. Americans would succeed to keep in mind the warning of Benjamin Franklin as the U.S. government relocates to criminalize free speech under the guise of protecting nationwide security; “Those who would offer up essential liberty, to purchase a little short-term safety, should have neither liberty nor safety.”Endnotes: i Webb, Whitney. “The Military Origins of Facebook.” Unrestricted Hangout, 12 Apr. 2021, unlimitedhangout.com/2021/04/investigative-reports/the-military-origins-of-facebook/.ii Ahmed, Nafeez. “How the CIA Made Google.” Medium, INSURGE intelligence, 22 Jan. 2015, medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e.iii Feiner, Lauren. “Googles Cloud Division Lands Deal with the Department of Defense.” CNBC, 20 May 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/05/20/googles-cloud-division-lands-deal-with-the-department-of-defense.html.iv Novet, Jordan. “Microsoft Wins U.S. Army Contract for Augmented Reality Headsets, Worth up to $21.9 Billion over 10 Years.” CNBC, 31 Mar. 2021, www.cnbc.com/2021/03/31/microsoft-wins-contract-to-make-modified-hololens-for-us-army.html.v Shane, Scott, and Daisuke Wakabayashi. “”The Business of War”: Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon.” The New York Times, 4 Apr. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/technology/google-letter-ceo-pentagon-project.html.vi “Commissioners.” NSCAI, www.nscai.gov/commissioners/.vii Interim Report and Third Quarter Recommendations. 2020. viii PrimerAI Homepage.” PrimerAI, primer.ai/. ix “To Fight Disinformation, We Need to Weaponise the Truth.” PrimerAI, 20 Apr. 2020, primer.ai/ blog/to-fight-disinformation-we-need-to-weaponise-the-truth/. x AI, Primer. “SOCOM and US Air Force Enlist Primer to Combat Disinformation.” www.prnewswire.com, 1 Oct. 2020, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/socom-and-us-air-force-enlist-primer-to-combat-disinformation-301143716.html/. xi Forget Counterterrorism, the United States Needs a Counter-Disinformation Strategy.” PrimerAI, 16 Nov. 2020, primer.ai/ blog/forget-counterterrorism-the-united-states-needs-a-counter-disinformation/. xii Golding, Bruce. “Washington Post Joins New York Times in Finally Admitting Emails from Hunter Biden Laptop Are Real.” New York City Post, 30 Mar. 2022, nypost.com/2022/03/30/washington-post-admits-hunter-biden-laptop-is-real/. xiii Greenwald, Glenn. “The CIAs Murderous Practices, Disinformation Campaigns, and Interference in Other Countries Still Shape the World Order and U.S. Politics.” The Intercept, 21 May 2020, theintercept.com/2020/05/21/the-cias-murderous-practices-disinformation-campaigns-and-interference-in-other-countries-still-shapes-the-world-order-and-u-s-politics/. xiv Ferreira, Roberto Garcia. “The Cia and Jacobo Arbenz: History of a Disinformation Campaign.” Journal of Third World Studies, vol. 25, no. 2, 2008, pp. 59– 81, www.jstor.org/stable/45194479, 10.2307/ 45194479. f. xv National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, June 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/National-Strategy-for-Countering-Domestic-Terrorism.pdf. xvi Webb, Whitney. “US – UK Intel Agencies Declare Cyber War on Independent Media.” Unlimitedhangout.com, 11 Nov. 2020, unlimitedhangout.com/2020/11/reports/us-uk-intel-agencies-declare-cyber-war-on-independent-media/. xvii Webb, Whitney. “Lifting of US Propaganda Ban Gives New Meaning to Old Song.” MintPress News, 12 Feb. 2018, www.mintpressnews.com/planting-stories-in-the-press-lifting-of-us-propaganda-ban-gives-new-meaning-to-old-song/237493/. xviii National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, June 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/National-Strategy-for-Countering-Domestic-Terrorism.pdf/.

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