How to Go Dark
SlaverySlavehood 2017 By Peter Koenig [an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America.] May 04, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
When in the 18th and 19th Century African slaves did not 'behave’, they were cruelly beaten sometimes to death as a deterrent for others. They were deprived of food for their families. Their women were raped. They were traded to even harsher white masters. Their lives were worth only what their labor could produce. They were treated as subjects, devoid of human warmth.
Today we have become all slaves; slaves to the powers of mafia bankster of finance; slaves to the western lie-propaganda; to the lobbies and their giant all dominating corporations – to the war-industry, because we happily believe what we are told about ever-increasing terrorism that needs to be fought with eternal wars; slaves to the environment-destructive hydrocarbon industry; to the pharma-industry; to the Monsanto-ized agroindustry; to senseless consumerism – and foremost – and summing it all up: to greed, endless greed that drives endless growth, nurturing endless competition fomenting adversity, destroying solidarity, instead of amical cooperation for a harmonious human cohabitation.
As people of western nations, we are enslaved to an all-engulfing neoliberal fascism – to a predatory economy. Corporate lie propaganda drip-feds our brains. We haven't even noticed it. We are enslaved to so-called 'leaders’, put in office by obscure foreign masters of deceit – the ever-stronger corporate controlled propaganda machine – the six all controlling Zion-Anglo media, whom we believe whatever lie they vomit – because it is more comfortable to believe a lie than to confront the truth – that's self-imposed slavehood.
That's how far we have gone. Because we are clearly on an almost irreversible downward track – sliding and running towards our own demise – into darkness – the darkness of chaos and bloody wars, endless wars against self-invented terrorism; wars that keeps our western economy running – and our armchair politics alive. Wars that kill and slaughter millions and millions – but all in 'far-away' lands. We are told we are protected. Our police and military watch over us. The new gods – money and military.
Although 'pride' was never an appropriate term to integrate our soul and minds, as we the western powers – have for centuries enslaved, raped, exploited and slaughtered the indigenous people, those who have for millennia, for history of mankind survived and passed on our human genes from one murderous civilization to another, always in the hope that the new one would see the light.
We can only hope that the patience of these native people, the survivors, our saviors – will prevail, that before we disappear in darkness, in the void of a manmade blackhole, we will awake, open our eyes and seek the light – become finally human, the term we have fraudulently applied to ourselves – the western civilization.
Independent thinking has become a crime, as it impedes the advancement of slavehood. Education is designed to kill individual thinking and the wide range of inventiveness – because it's dangerous – for those who enslave and control us. 'New-speak' education has to make us thinking what the system wants us to think. That's what western education has become in the last 50 years – a farce to keep us as non-thinking idiots.
Idiots are easily enslaved and exploited and sent to wars – to steal foreign resources to satisfy the greed of a few. We love to be cannon fodder, as we were told – enslaved – to believe that good patriots love to die for their country. We are blinded and avoid seeing that we are dying fighting to satisfy puppet leaders' greed for power and money – whose power is nothing more than that allowed them by the Masters who control the world and who pull the strings on their marionettes.
Links100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-1999
1984 Is Here! an article from the Council for Secular Humanism on Poindexter's Total Information Awareness system
ALTERNATE NEWS SOURCES page of links
Art Spiegelman, cartoonist for The New Yorker, resigns in protest at censorship Art Spiegelman decided to leave The New Yorker in protest at what he calls "the widespread conformism of the mass media in the Bush era." ... "From the time that the Twin Towers fell, it seems as if I've been living in internal exile, or like a political dissident confined to an island. I no longer feel in harmony with American culture, especially now that the entire media has become conservative and tremendously timid"
Banned and Challenged Books
Banned Books and Censorship: Information and Resources
Banned Books in Texas report from the Texas ACLU on textbook censorship
Banned Books Week (ALA)
Bonfire of Liberties: Censorship of the Humanities
Censored "This exhibition hopes not so much to judge censors and censorship but instead to provoke questions. Every day some form of censorship occurs in the United States. This prevalence of the red pen in a country founded on the Bill of Rights suggests that most people consider some things or ideas too dangerous or offensive to be made widely available. Is there a line in the sand? And if so, where do you stand? Where are your limits of tolerance?"
CENSORED NEWS --page of links related to media censorship
Censorship and Challenges ALA links to information on the First Amendment and intellectual freedom, and additional information on censorship and challenges
Censorware human rights groups and political candidates that have been blocked by blocking software; articles on blocking software
The Censorware Page "reports on the errors and excesses of leading censorware products"
Center for Democracy and Technology
Dissent & Debunking Social Myths --Colby Glass page
EchelonWatch.org "Echelon is perhaps the most powerful intelligence gathering organization in the world"
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
"The Fallacy of Protecting Kids From Porn" by Amy Benfer, Salon Magazine
FILTERING notes and links
Free Speech Movement Digital Archive protest documents, oral histories, chronology, video and sound recordings
Freedom House founded by Eleanor Roosevelt; tracks print freedom around the world
Freedom of Expression: First Amendment issues
Freedom of Information Act --FBI Reading Room of most requested documents
Freedom to Read ALA statement... essential to our democracy
Information Warfare "issues involving information security, information operations, computer network operations, homeland security and more" - its INFOCON Threat Centre monitors and analyzes cyberthreat trends across the world
Intellectual Freedom Manual American Library Association
Internet Speech - "Filters Face Free-Speech Test" 4/20/01 article on San Francisco librarians refusing to censor the Internet
Jefferson Muzzle Awards calls attention to outstanding efforts at censorship in the previous year; a dubious distinction
Jefferson Muzzles awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First Amendment - "calling attention to those who in the past year forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson's admonition that freedom of speech "cannot be limited without being lost." "
MIT Student Association for Freedom of Expression
"The Morality Police" by Charles Taylor, Salon Magazine
Most Banned Books of the 1990s
Most Challenged Authors from ALA
Most Frequently Challenged Books from ALA
National Coalition Against Censorship quarterly; covers freedom of expression issues
Operation TIPS TIPS report TIPS informants - "Not since the East German Stasi have so many people been asked to spy on their fellow citizens"
"Porn, Guns, Curses and Kids" Alternet article
Quiet Censorship in Hollywood McCarthy-like atmosphere pervades tinsel town after 9/11
Shame on the AFMA reverse domain name hijacking and free speech
Student Press Law Center "an advocate for student free-press rights, and provides information, advice, and legal assistance at no charge to students and the educators who work with them"
The UNZ Review: An Alternative Media Selection A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Tim Robbins: Countering a Wave of Hate speech given to the National Press Club in Washington, DC on April 15, 2003
Ornelas Class LinksALA Banned Books Week
10th Annual Banned Books Report from ACLU of Texas
Banned Books and Censorship: Information and Resources
CENSORED NEWS --page of links related to media censorship
Dissent & Debunking Social Myths --Colby Glass page
Freedom of Expression: First Amendment issues
Jefferson Muzzle Awards calls attention to outstanding efforts at censorship in the previous year; a dubious distinction
Quotes"Censorship breeds ignorance." (ACLU Report on Banned Books, 2006).
"At the behest of the chemical boys, oil giants, and other polluters, George W.'s corporate-serving monkey-wrenchers have gone after the Environmental Protection Agency's network of regional research libraries. Good grief--librarians? Why would the polluter powers bother with these simple keepers of knowledge?
"Precisely because knowledge is power... the EPA libraries are treasure troves of organized, detailed information about specific polluters--what they are doing, where they're doing it, and to whom. Corporations ''t like it when We the People have knowledge that can be used to halt their polluting...
"Already, they've closed libraries in Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, and Washington, as well as the EPA's principal library for evaluating new chemicals. In the agency's five remaining libraries, hours have been severely shortened, and public access has been curtailed" (Hightower, Jim. "Ignorance is Power." Texas Observer, Dec. 15, 2006: 15).
"At the beginning of May, USA Today reported that telecommunications companies such as AT&T, Inc. and Verizon had provided the National Security Agency with records of phone calls made by millions of Americans. The ACLU has called it "the most massive invasion of privacy in American history".
"A group of Texans recently joined the fray by filing a class-action lawsuit against San Antonio-based AT&T, Inc. alleging that the corporation illegally sold their private records to the government" ("First-Class Action." Texas Observer, June 16, 2006: 5).
"Since President George W. Bush entered office, the pace of classification activity has increased by 75 percent, said William Leonard in March 2 congressional testimony. His Information Security Oversight Office oversees the classification system and recorded a rise from 9 million classification actions in fiscal year 2001 to 16 million in fiscal year 2004.
"Yet an even more aggressive form of government information control has gone unenumerated and often unrecognized in the Bush era, as government agencies have restricted access to unclassified information in libraries, archives, Web sites, and official databases. Once freely available, a growing number of these sources are now barred to the public as "sensitive but unclassified" or "for official use only." Less of a goal-directed policy than a bureaucratic reflex, the widespread clampdown on formerly public information reflects a largely inarticulate concern about "security." It also accords neatly with the Bush administration's preference for unchecked executive authority...
"The Pentagon phone book is a useful tool for reporters, students of defense policy, or others who might wish to contact the Pentagon or gauge the size and shape of the bureaucracy. Anyone could buy it at the Government Printing Office Bookstore until 2001, when it was marked "for official use only." A GPO Bookstore notice advises that it is no longer for sale to the public...
"...government agencies took to scrubbing public records at the National Archives and elsewhere, pulling untold thousands of public records for "review" and possible reclassification. Many 30- or 50-year-old archival collections are a shadow of what they were just a few years ago. On a recent visit to the National Archives, American University historian Anna Nelson recalled, "I found four boxes of Nixon documents full of nothing but withdrawal cards," signifying records that had been removed" (Steven Aftergood. "The Age of Missing Information: The Bush administration's campaign against openness." Slate, Mar. 17, 2005).
"Meanwhile, over in the groves of academe, Native-American activist Ward Churchill was disinvited from a speaking engagement at Hamilton College because of an essay in which he called the CIA office workers who died in the World Trade Center "little Eichmanns." Not to be out'e, Bill O'Reilly, in a column on his website, called the entire tenure system "a dastardly con that protects teachers for life. They know they can't be fired so they become little Ayatollahs." Calls abounded for Churchill to be fired from his home institution, the University of Colorado, and he has already resigned his chairmanship of the department of ethnic studies. No such fate has been suggested for the powerful, corporate-sponsored O'Reilly.
"In this war of words and polemical personalities, there is an increasing privatization of speech. New, well-funded organizations like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) specifically urge universities to monitor and divest themselves of those engaged in "rank political indoctrination" -- which even they rather sheepishly acknowledge is an awfully thin line away from political speech. The model of the university they espouse is not the one envisioned by Louis Brandeis, to whom even open antagonism was a necessary component of civic engagement because "the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people... The path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies." These days, the ability to speak has become subject to the whims of a literal rather than metaphorical marketplace. According to FIRE, "voluntary association" is a measure of academic freedom and funding is an "expressive act."
"And so we find ourselves in an era when speakers like Michae Moore are spurned by campuses because major 'ors might get upset and students ''t want their funds spent on anything they ''t agree with. We seem to have entered a time of shunning that bears a passing strange resemblance to blacklisting. And with that shunning an ethic of "''t listen." "A scholar," says FIRE, "is entitled to shout his ideas from the rooftops, but he or she is not also entitled to do so in front of an audience or to do so while being bankrolled by those who deeply disagree with those ideas"" (Patricia J. Williams. "Power and the Word." The Nation, Feb. 28, 2005: 10).
"Relations between Japan and China have plunged to their lowest point in more than a decade after a weekend of violent anti-Japanese protests in Beijing and other cities.
"In the biggest demonstration in the Chinese capital since 1999 at least 5,000 people joined a rally last Saturday in support of a boycott of Japanese goods. They kicked Japanese cars and stoned the embassy...
""We must show the Japanese pigs how we feel," said a Mr. Liu, an IT engineer in his 30s...
Tokyo has demanded an apology, compensation and a promise that it would not happen again.
"The march was spurred by Japan's approval of a new history textbook that whitewashes its wartime atrocities, including the forced recruitment of thousands of sex slaves and biological weapons experiments on civilians" (Jonathan Watts. "Chinese Urge Japan Boycott." Guardian Weekly, April 15-21, 2005: 9).
"For the past seven years, Father Thomas Reese, as editor of the Jesuit weekly America, opened its pages to most of the controversies within the Catholic Church--abortion, condoms, stem-cell research, sexuality and church governance. The former Cardinal Ratzinger, guardian of doctrine in the Vatican, made known his extreme displeasure with the magazine. Now Father Reese has resigned. Reportedly, Jesuit headquarters in Rome thought that a conciliatory gesture to the new Pope was appropriate, but many American Catholics are appalled. They fear that the former Cardinal, no Pope Benedict XVI, will continue to censor debate in the church" ("In Fact." The Nation, May 30, 2005: 6).
"The Bush Administration and its ideological allies are employing every means available to undermine journalists' ability to exercise their First Amendment function to hold power accountable. In fact, the Administration recognizes no such constitutional role for the press...
"As an unnamed Bush official told reporter Ron Suskind, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality"...
"They are taking aggressive action: preventing journalists from doing their job by withholding routine information; deliberately releasing deceptive information on a regular basis; bribing friendly journalists to report the news in a favorable context; producing their own "news reports" and distributing these free of charge to resource-starved broadcasters; creating and crditing their own political activists as "journalists" working for partisan operations masquerading as news organizations...
"...all these efforts are aimed at a single goal: the destruction of democratic accountability and the media's role in insuring it.
"The Bush attack on the press has three primary components--Secrecy, Lies and Fake News...
"Since President George W. Bush entered the office, the pace of classification activity has increased by 75 percent...
"In addition, as Aftergood notes, "an even more aggressive form of government information control has gone unenumerated and often unrecognized in the Bush era, as government agencies have restricted access to unclassified information in libraries, archives, websites and official databases." These sources were once freely available but are now being withdrawn from view under the classification "sensitive but unclassified" or "for official use only." They include: the Pentagon telephopne directory, the Los Alamos technical report library, historical records at the National Archives and the Energy Department intelligence budget, among many others. Even more alarming is the web of secrecy surrounding the operations of what has become the equivalent of a police state at Guantanamo Bay and other military prisons around the world, where the accused are routinely denied due process and traditional rules of evidence are deemed irrelevant...
"...the conservative media... refuse to report facts when they conflict with White House spin...
""What's going on here is something like lying by reflex... Bush II administration lies are often so laughably obvious that you wonder why they bother...
"Nuclear materials: The Los Angeles Times recently reported that government scientists apparently submitted phony data to demonstrate that a proposed nuclear waste dump in Nevada's Yucca Mountain would be safe...
"IN these two emblematic cases, as it has 'e so many times before, the Administration simply issued its own pronouncements, ignored reality and went its merry way, damn the consequences both for the reality of its policies and for its own credibility. Those found guilty of deception did not mind the one-day story that would result demonstrating them to be liars...
"The Bush Administration has invested untold millions in video "news releases" that disguise themselves as genuine news reports and are frequently broadcast by irresponsible local news programs. In three separate opinions in the past year, the Congressional Government Accountability Office held that government-made news segments may constitute improper "covert propaganda"...
"The reports are clearly designed to simulate legitimate news programming...
"These phony news reports have much in common with stage-managed "public" presidential events that bar all potential dissenters and script virtually every utterance...
"In addition to creating its own mediated version of reality, the Administration has also invested considerable resources in corrupting members of the media with cash payments...
"Our once noble calling is increasingly difficult to distinguish from things that look like journalism but are primarily advertising, press agentry, or entertainment" (Eric Alterman. "Bush's War on the Press." The Nation, May 9, 2005: 11-20).
"China will bar new foreign television channels and step up censorship of imported programmes, the culture ministry announced, adding to efforts to tighten the government's control over popular culture...
"Beijing will also ban new licences for companies to import newspapers and magazines, electronic publications, audiovisual products and children's cartoons, the ministry said. New limits will be imposed on the number of foreign copyrighted products Chinese companies are allowed to publish...
"The measures are a step back from more liberal rules announced late last year to open China's media market" (Joe Mc'ald. "China bans new foreign channels." Guardian Weekly, Aug. 12, 2005: 9).
"...on the issue of disinformation, resolving that ALA "go on record as being opposed to the use by government of disinformation, media manipulation, the destruction and excision of public information, and other such tactics." The resolution also called on ALA to "teach and nurture 21st century information literacy skills among the American public to help them detect disinformation, media manipulation, and missing information"" (LJ Academic Newswire, Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 via email).
How to Go DarkYour Guide to "Going Dark" Online The government has you bugged... We're ALL the enemy now... Your guide to "going dark"
Now, most Daily Cut readers live in the U.S. and won't lose much sleep over what's happening in China. But here's the problem...
America is not far behind...
The U.S. government's surveillance and behavior modification efforts are subtler than those of their Chinese counterparts.
But as we told you last week, Silicon Valley tech firms are coming together with the Deep State to create a society with little scope for dissent.
It's why, today, we're sharing with you a practical guide to shoring up your privacy online. It's what Bill Bonner Letter co-author Dan Denning calls "going dark."
Facebook and Google are surveillance companies disguised as web service companies…
They know everything you search for online... every website you've ever visited... every video you've ever watched... every chat message you've sent… and who you've sent it to.
They also know what books you read... what news you read... what you sound like (if you have a "smart speaker" at home)... what you look like (via facial recognition of photos you post and store online)... who your friends are... what you're thinking about buying… where you vacation… if you have (or want to have) children… and your political affiliation. (Did you donate to Bernie Sanders? Are you a member of the NRA?)
They even maintain detailed maps and timelines of where you've been with your digital devices.
One group interested in your whereabouts is the NSA
Most folks will shrug this off…
What's the harm, they'll ask, in submitting to round-the-clock surveillance if it helps the feds catch terrorists and America's enemies?
If you're not doing anything wrong, if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear, right?
Wrong. Dead wrong.
In today's world, we are ALL the enemy. As Dan put it in the March issue of The Bill Bonner Letter (paid-up subscribers can catch up in full here), "Every single U.S. citizen is now the object of Deep State surveillance."
In fact, Dan believes today's internet is primarily about deploying surveillance against Americans.
It's why Dan recommends "going dark"
Google and Facebook are what Dan calls "self-reporting systems"
For example, if you've got a phone that runs Google's Android operating system, you're constantly broadcasting to the company's servers exactly where you are in the world.
And Facebook is based on you sharing everything you do with everyone else. Not just your friends, but also anyone else that cares to look… including Deep State snoops.
It's why Dan recommends you opt out of these systems now... and stop self-reporting to the authorities, by taking the following four basic steps:
1. Delete your Facebook account
We think we have to be connected all the time. But by staying on the platform, you're sharing massive amounts of personal data about yourself with the world. You can't be a private citizen and be on Facebook. Find out how to permanently pull the plug here.How do I permanently delete my Facebook account? What happens if I permanently delete my Facebook account?
2. De-Google your life
The way to stop Google – and the NSA – tracking every web search you type and every webpage you visit is to ditch Google search and the Google Chrome web browser. DuckDuckGo won't track you like Google does. And it offers a decent search service.DuckDuckGo The search engine that doesn't track you
3. Buy a "dumb" phone
This is the only way to stop broadcasting your exact location 24 hours a day. An unlocked phone with 16MB of memory and a 2 megapixel camera will set you back about $25. You won't be able to play Candy Crush while you're standing in line waiting for your caramel latte at Starbucks. But a dumb phone will relieve you of the urge to constantly fiddle with your "smartphone.” Result: more free time and a less cluttered brain.
4. Download an encrypted messenger app
Conversations on WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) are encrypted for the moment. But the feds recently requested that Facebook allow them to spy on peer-to-peer conversations on its messaging app.
Our data is bought and sold as a commodity, which seems at least (if not more) unethical than the NSA looking for known phone numbers of terrorist suspects. The NSA is not interested in my sister's salsa recipe! My numbers and activities will pass through their scanning without a blip. The fact that I am a liberal may register via online petitions or donations, but there is nothing illegal to find.
– Amy D.
You can't be free if you know you're being watched all the time.
People are worried about Google and Facebook censoring content for political reasons.
But the bigger point is that all surveillance leads to censorship in a police state. The state trains you to modify your behavior yourself. You become complaint, placid, docile without being told. And then you'll do exactly what you're told.
That's the core issue with free speech. If we aren't free to speak to assemble, to petition our government for a redress of grievances, or to worship how and where we chose - and yes, to publish unpopular ideas - we're not really free.
It's no coincidence that Ludwig von Mises called his great work Human Action. Being free isn't just about having theoretical rights on a piece of paper. It's about living the life you choose without having to look over your shoulder or ask for permission.
A Surveillance Society - which the tech companies are building and getting rich from - redefines the relationship between the people and the government. Needless to say, it does it in a way that will cost you your freedom. If you value that, you have to stand up for it now while you still can.
email from The Daily Cut: How to Escape the Digital Prison, 9.4.18
Welcome to the Panopticon...
In the late 18th century, English philosopher Jeremy Bentham came up with detailed designs for a new type of penitentiary.
He called it the "Panopticon" after the many-eyed Greek god Panoptes.
And it had a unique selling point. It would be cheaper than other designs because it required fewer guards to watch over the inmates.
The Panopticon was made up of a circular tower that formed the hub of a larger circular building. The jail cells were visible from the tower and could be watched over by a single guard.
But the key feature of the Panopticon was that its inmates couldn't see inside the watchtower.
So they had to be on their best behavior at all times… whether they were being watched or not.
Today, the Panopticon is online…
As we've been showing you here at The Daily Cut, that's a good description of the modern internet.
If you use Google, Facebook, or Twitter, you're constantly under observation. But how these companies surveil you… and what they do with the data they collect on you… isn't clear.
They know every detail about you… but you know almost nothing about them.
Take Google Search, which handles 90% of all search queries online.
Google is monitoring and recording everything you type into its search bar (even things you start typing, then delete). But how it sorts the results is shrouded in mystery.
The same goes for Facebook's News Feed. Facebook is watching and recording every photo, video, link, and update you interact with. But you have no idea on what basis it's feeding you that information.
Google and Facebook are the watch guards… we all are the prisoners.
And Google and Facebook aren't the only ones watching…
Last week, I (Chris) caught up with Legacy Research co-founder and world-renowned cryptocurrency expert Teeka Tiwari about the obliteration of online privacy.
I was calling from my office in Lisbon, Portugal… where I spend some of the year. And Teeka was in Puerto Rico – his base since the start of 2018.
To be more precise, Teeka was sitting in his car outside his home with the air conditioning turned up full blast.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, power is still sporadic. Teeka told me he loses power every day – sometimes for up to 11 hours. So he's turned his car into a makeshift air-conditioned office.
But it's what Teeka told me about a new way we're being watched and monitored online that really grabbed my attention. It's all to do with a resolution Congress passed
In March, Congress tore up regulations banning your internet service provider (ISP) from hawking your web browsing history to third parties.
We all connect to the web via an ISP. These are mainly Big Cable companies such as AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast that own or lease the telecommunications lines that allow you to get online.
These companies used to need your permission to collect, use, and sell information about your online habits.
But thanks in no small part to the $101 million they've donated to members of Congress, they're now free to sell your personal data to the highest bidder – just as Google and Facebook do. As Teeka explained…
The rule change allows your ISP to look at all of your search history and sell it. Even when you're surfing the web "privately" – for instance, by using a web browser that doesn't harvest your data – your ISP is still collecting your personal data and selling it on to third parties.
It's why Teeka has an important addition to your "going dark" action plan
As we told you last Thursday, the first steps to shoring up your privacy online are to: (1) Delete Facebook; (2) De-Google your life; (3) Buy a "dumb" phone; and (4) use an encrypted messaging service.
To combat the ISP snoops, Teeka also recommends you do what he does to stay private online… and use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
VPNs allow you to communicate over a public network in a private way. Without getting too far into the weeds, they do this by encrypting your data... and by masking the internet address you're connecting from.
For extra security, Teeka recommends you pay for your VPN using a "privacy coin”
Privacy coins are cryptocurrencies that make your transactions untraceable. (We covered this in the August 23 Daily Cut.) Teeka…
With bitcoin, if somebody – say, the feds – does a forensic deep dive, they can figure out who's on each end of each transaction. The chances of that happening, unless you're a criminal, are very low because it's very expensive to do a forensic analysis. But it's still possible.
The first step to get your hands on privacy coins is to buy bitcoin or ether. If you've never done it before, check out this guide our crypto experts at Palm Beach Research Group put together. It shows you where to buy and store bitcoin.
After you buy bitcoin, you can trade it for Dash on the Kraken exchange or Monero on the Poloniex exchange.
Once you've bought your privacy coins, the next step is finding the right VPN...
One top-rated VPN that allows you to pay with Monero and Dash is Nord VPN. It'll cost you less than $3 a month. And it will keep your ISP – and any other online snoops – from linking you to your data.
NordVPN Advanced security. Internet freedom. Complete privacy.
Tomorrow, a deeper dive into the rise of the crypto economy with Teeka… including the only two questions you need to ask to know where the crypto market is headed over the long term.
As one of the greatest monopolies that ever existed, Google poses a unique threat to anyone concerned about health, food, supplements and their ability to obtain truthful information about these and other issues
NewsGuard and Microsoft Team Up To Destroy Independent Media Ahead Of 2020 Elections; Linked To Several Think Tanks, Government Officials, 1-30
The service NewsGuard, an establishment attempt to silence alternative media and independent media sites, has teamed up with Microsoft to help its effort to destroy free press. Meanwhile, the mysterious firm connected to intelligence agencies and former government officials on their advisory board has also just been linked to Saudi Arabia through Publicis Groupe, an investor in NewsGuard.
NewsGuard is now automatically included in Microsoft's Edge browser on iOS, Android and Microsoft phones. Microsoft's press release regarding the partnership states that NewsGuard "will empower voters by providing them with high-quality information about the integrity and transparency of online news sites."
Just one problem, who is providing transparency about the news rating agency?
When a user decides to search the Web, the extension tells the user whether or not a story is credible or not credible with 5 indicators and an information box judging the website.
Green icon - Sites that follow "basic standards of accuracy and accountability" based on nine criteria,which include full disclosure of possible conflicts of interest, financing, and "notable ideological or political positions held by those with significant financial interests in the site."
There is just one problem: the plugin is only blacklisting certain sites and does not actually have fact checkers looking into the story in question. So, in fact, the service is censoring alternative and independent media. But, let's be honest, that's exactly what its founders, creators, funders, and advisors want.
About that transparency - the list of advisors for NewsGuard includes Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security, Richard Stengel, former editor of Time magazine and Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy (Obama administration), (Ret.) General Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA, former Director of the National Security Agency and former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (George W. Bush administration), Don Baer, chairman of Burson, Cohn & Wolfe and former White House Communications Director (Clinton administration), Elise Jordan, political analyst, NBC, and former speechwriter for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Oh and then there are the journalists (traitors of free speech) like John Battelle, co-founding editor of Wired and founding chief executive of Industry Standard and Jessica Lessin, founder, and editor-in-chief of The Information.
If you aren't worried about a company with a former CIA director (who lied under oath to Congress misleading officials, according to the Senate report on the CIA's interrogation program) and a former secretary of Homeland Security official as its advisors, you may need a reality check. Please go see Dr. Benn Swann for a checkup stat!
Then there is Richard Stengel, a member of the Atlantic Council (neo-liberal think tank) and former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy under President Barack Obama who deserves a short blurb for his own involvement. Why? Because Stengel admitted his role in life at a previous discussion hosted last May by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). At the event Stengel described his past position at the State Department as a "chief propagandist" and further stated that he is "not against propaganda" and it was needed. H/T Disobedient Media.
"Every country does it and they have to do it to their own population and I don't necessarily think it's that awful," Stengel said.
Investors in NewsGuard - which raised a whopping $6M in funding - include the following people and corporations, according to Finsmes, a website for real-time VC and private equities and news. However, Finsmes appear to have left out a big investing group known as the Publicis Groupe. Publicis Groupe is the third largest global communications company in the world, with more than 80,000 employees in over 100 countries and an annual revenue of over €9.6 billion ($10.98 billion), according to its website.
Meanwhile, the current CEOs of NewsGuard are Steven Brill and Louis Gordon Crovitz, one of whom has a colorful history; the other is just a journalist. Crovitz is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he further notes in his bio, available on NewsGuard's website, that he has been an "editor or contributor to books published by the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation."
Yes, the infamous Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute, a neoconservative think tank.
But it doesn't end there! In the early 1980s, Crovitz held a number of positions at Dow Jones and at The Wall Street Journal, eventually becoming executive vice president of Dow Jones and the publisher of The Wall Street Journal.
Ironically, Crovitz "Mr. I want to fix fake news" has consistently been accused of spreading misinformation into his Wall Street Journal columns, with groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation accusing him of "repeatedly getting his facts wrong" on NSA surveillance. And hilariously he falsely claimed that the Internet was invented entirely privately at Xerox PARC, which was exposed as "fantastically false claims" by the same people he cited for them.
The company is lobbying to have its rankings of news sites installed by default on computers in U.S. public libraries, schools, and universities as well as on smartphones and computers sold in the United States. And its partnership with Microsoft for its Edge browser just helped that effort rigorously.
Several articles represent NewsGuard as using "old-school journalism" to fight "fake news" through its reliance on nine criteria to determine whether a news site is credible or not.
However, as Breitbart pointed out (like them or not the information is credible), the news check extension is marking verifiable FAKE news stories as real news, a worrying prospect. Of course, it's worth noting that NewsGuard is probably (speculatory) in partnership with select news publications like The New York Times, LA Times, CNN, Washington Post, etc. (All the usual big players.)
Then there is the lack of mention by NewsGuard about the Washington Post's founder Jeff Bezos $600 million conflicts of interest with the CIA and Voice of America, the U.S. state-funded media outlet having been involved in propaganda admitted by its acting associate director, Ted Lipien, who said that the outlet produces "fluff journalism."
Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright has previously stated that VOA, Radio Free Europe, and many others "should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics." Fulbright's amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky, who argued that such "propaganda" should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. "from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity."
These are obvious red flags for anyone looking for a truly unbiased fact-checking service when such things are hidden and not publicly displayed ... that, or they just suck at researching, which would essentially mean they aren't qualified to determine what is real and fake news.
Digging even deeper into NewsGuard we may find answers as to why they are not fact checking every news story and just giving websites themselves a rating, because the company only has 21-30 employees according to Pitchbook.
If that's not enough, Publicis Groupe includes a vast number of P.R. firms whose sole purpose is to shape the news and influence the public on behalf of its corporate clients including the drug and tobacco industries. One of those firms connected to Publicis Groupe is Qorvis Group.
The Intercept describes how Qorvis tried to shape American public opinion in favor of Saudi Arabia's policy.
The Saudi Embassy's effort to shape media coverage is led by Qorvis, a consulting firm that has worked for the Saudi government since the months following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Qorvis' recent disclosures under the Foreign Agents Registration Act show that it created an entire website - operationrenewalofhope.com - to promote the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It also "researched potential grassroots supporters in select states" and provided an ongoing effort to reach out to reporters concerning the Yemen war.
For more information on NewsGuard, see the more in-depth NewsGuard backstory on MintPress News, about the firm's connections to Silicon Valley Giants and the government.
This, of course, follows attempts by another service, PropOrNot, to do much of the same, who I ruined when I was working at We Are Change exposing them to the core. So much so they responded to my now-suspended Twitter account An0nkn0wledge. H/T guys! As a reminder, on the last attempt PropOrNot was found to be backed by none other than the Foreign Policy Research Institute. And what is the Foreign Policy Research Institute? A think tank with the mission of indoctrinating the U.S. with its foreign policy agenda
So here we have two attempts to censor information, both appearing to come from think tanks and several government officials as advisors on "NewsGuard." Which, if we're being honest should have a name change to "Propaganda Guard" because they are guarding propaganda by telling everyone it's real news, like the examples stated above. You can't judge sites with a rating of green, orange, blue, gray and red. This isn't a terror advisory, Tom Ridge (I can only guess the idea came from Ridge). When Ridge was the former secretary of Homeland Security under George Bush, he came up with the coded terror alert system after 9/11. The system is elementary at best and doesn't really require any type of thinking to come up with, so who knows who came up with it. But it's extremely flawed.
Knowing that both "Propaganda Guard" (NewsGuard) and PropOrNot had government involvement should scare the shit out of you because both companies are about as unbiased as The Washington Post was towards Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Both have a stake in the future foreign policy of America; NewsGuard through its former government advisors, and PropOrNot through the more hilariously connected Foreign Policy Research Institute. Neither company has a right to shape the opinions of Americans or anyone else by giving news websites like Activist Post and many others any type of rating. That's up to the readers themselves to decide, not a shadowy firm with "trained analysts" who are creating a censorship blacklist of information or opinions they don't like - you know, like the ones that hinder corporations or the military industrial complex's forever war machine.
In fact, it will be interesting to see where this goes if this plugin is adopted by the mainstream as a default into applications. I foresee class action cease and desist lawsuits against "NewsGuard" for intentionally causing harm to businesses with just a checkmark. This is already pretty well proven with a recent Gallup study that stated 63 percent of news readers were less likely to share a website with a red rating, while a green rating increased the likelihood of sharing by 56 percent. Although the study was funded by NewsGuard themselves, so the results should be taken with a grain of salt. That study actually could be used to bite them in the ass later.
Did anyone think this through before saying, "oh yeah I want to help destroy the livelihoods of other people?"
All of this has an interesting timing, right before the 2020 primaries. Who's to say that this technology couldn't be used to sway the election far more than Russia, the UK or Israel ever could? Especially since the firm is seeking to have its tech implanted by default into every major technical device.
With all that stated, it's worth mentioning that 90% of U.S. media was owned by 6 different companies in 2012 including GE, NewsCorp, Disney, Viacom, TimeWarner, CBS. Which, as a fun fact, the CFR owns the media. As former Army Major Todd Pierce described, the CFR acts as "primary provocateurs" using "'psychological suggestiveness' to create a false narrative of danger from some foreign entity with the objective being to create paranoia within the U.S. population that it is under imminent threat of attack or takeover."
So with all that in mind, one finds it hard to believe that a CFR member and government cronies - some even connected to think tanks - want to "restore trust and accountability" in journalism.
This is far from the only effort to try and suppress the free flow of information online. In 2017 Activist Post reported that Full Fact foundation, backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and our favorite billionaire tycoon George Soros, were also planning to fight the efforts of "fake news" with their AI-powered "bull shit detector." Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was also planning to launch a crowd-funded news service called WikiTribune to help combat fake news.
Send your mail to NewsGuard's Twitter feed and Facebook page, and flood them with your opinion about their efforts. If they ask who sent you, say George Orwell from his grave and make sure to tell them they aren't the Ministry Of Truth, this isn't 1984.
Putting the future of what we believe in anyone's hands, let alone artificial intelligence, seems reckless; but a system backed by Soros and Omidyar or think tanks and government officials seems like a dangerously stupid idea that can only lead to a path paved toward a road of Orwellian censorship the likes of which even George Orwell couldn't have imagined.
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.
Internet censorship Internet censorship is the control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet enacted by regulators, or on their own initiative. Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship for moral, religious, or business reasons, to conform to societal norms, due to intimidation, or out of fear of legal or other consequences.
The extent of Internet censorship varies on a country-to-country basis. While most democratic countries have moderate Internet censorship, other countries go as far as to limit the access of information such as news and suppress discussion among citizens. Internet censorship also occurs in response to or in anticipation of events such as elections, protests, and riots. An example is the increased censorship due to the events of the Arab Spring. Other areas of censorship include copyrights, defamation, harassment, and obscene material.
Support for and opposition to Internet censorship also varies. In a 2012 Internet Society survey 71% of respondents agreed that "censorship should exist in some form on the Internet". In the same survey 83% agreed that "access to the Internet should be considered a basic human right" and 86% agreed that "freedom of expression should be guaranteed on the Internet". According to GlobalWebIndex, over 400 million people use virtual private networks to circumvent censorship or for increased user privacy. - Wikipedia.
How Internet Censorship Works One of the early nicknames for the Internet was the "information superhighway" because it was supposed to provide the average person with fast access to a practically limitless amount of data. For many users, that's exactly what accessing the Internet is like. For others, it's as if the information superhighway has some major roadblocks in the form of Internet censorship.
The motivations for censorship range from well-intentioned desires to protect children from unsuitable content to authoritarian attempts to control a nation's access to information. No matter what the censors' reasons are, the end result is the same: They block access to the Web pages they identify as undesirable.
Internet censorship isn't just a parental or governmental tool. There are several software products on the consumer market that can limit or block access to specific Web sites. Most people know these programs as Web filters. Censorship opponents have another name for them: Censorware.
WE DON'T NEED NO THOUGHT CONTROL
In 2007, AT&T came under fire when music fans discovered that the company had edited out political comments in a Webcast performance by the band Pearl Jam. The band covered Pink Floyd's song "Another Brick in the Wall" and added lyrics criticizing United States President George W. Bush. AT&T cut the new lyrics out of the song before Webcasting it. After an outcry from fans, the company eventually admitted that it wasn't an isolated incident, though AT&T spokeswoman Tiffany Nels claimed that it was never AT&T's intent to remove political statements from Webcasts [source: MTV].
Big Businesses and Internet Censorship
Corporations that restrict employee Internet access usually do so for a few reasons. One of the most common reasons is to increase productivity. While employees can use the Internet for research or communication, they may also use it as a distraction. Some companies restrict Internet access severely in order to prevent employees from wasting time online.
Another corporate concern is harassment. Without restrictions, an employee could surf the Web for inappropriate content, such as pornography. If other employees see this material, they may feel that their work environment is a hostile one. Some companies resort to using Internet censorship in order to avoid lawsuits.
While several companies use Web filtering software similar to the products available for home use, many also rely on firewalls. With a firewall, a company can pick and choose which Web pages or even entire domains to block. This way, the company is more likely to avoid blocking sites that employees may need to access legitimately.
At many workplaces, when an employee attempts to access a restricted Web site, he or she will see a message that says the network administrator has identified the site as inappropriate. Usually the message includes the option to petition the network administrator if the user feels the site is wrongfully blocked. The network administrator can adjust which sites are restricted through firewall settings.
What about the corporations that provide Internet access, such as telecom and cable companies? They can play a crucial role in what content customers can access on the Internet. In the United States, there's an ongoing battle over a concept called NET NEUTRALITY. In a nutshell, net neutrality refers to a level playing ground where Internet service providers (ISPs) allow access to all content without favoring any particular company or Web site. Telecom and cable companies successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to dismiss net neutrality [source: ACLU].
Without net neutrality, ISPs can charge content providers a fee for bandwidth usage. Content providers that pay the fee will get more broadband access, meaning their Web sites will load faster than competitors who didn't pay the fee. For example, if Yahoo pays a fee to an ISP and Google didn't, the ISP's customers would discover that Yahoo's search engine loads much faster than Google's. Supporters of net neutrality argue that such preferential treatment amounts to censorship.
Keep reading to learn how some nations try to dictate the kind of content citizens access.
SEARCH ENGINE CENSORSHIP
Most search engines self-censor their search engine results pages (SERPs) in an effort to provide users with relevant search terms. This is necessary because some webmasters try to trick search engines into giving their Web pages high SERP ranks. If the search engines didn't weed out and censor these pages, every SERP would be filled with irrelevant results.
Recently, censorship opponents have criticized search engine companies like Yahoo and Google for helping restrictive countries maintain control of the Internet. The companies are in a delicate position -- although headquartered in the United States, they still need to obey local laws when operating in other countries.
Internet Censorship at the International Level
Many countries restrict access to content on the Internet on some level. Even the United States has laws that impact the kind of information you can access on the Internet in a school or public library. Some countries go much further than that -- and a few don't allow any access to the Internet at all.
The OpenNet Initiative (ONI), an organization dedicated to informing the public about Web filtering and surveillance policies around the world, classifies Web filtering into four categories:
Political: Content that includes views contrary to the respective country's policies. The political category also includes content related to human rights, religious movements and other social causes
Countries like the United States are fairly liberal, with policies that restrict only a few Web pages, but other countries are stricter. According to Reporters Without Borders, an organization dedicated to promoting free expression and the safety of journalists, the following countries have the strongest censorship policies:
Some countries go well beyond restricting access. The Myanmar government allegedly keeps Internet cafés under surveillance with computers that automatically take screenshots every few minutes.
China has an advanced filtering system known internationally as the Great Firewall of China. It can search new Web pages and restrict access in real time. It can also search blogs for subversive content and block Internet users from visiting them.
Cuba has banned private Internet access completely -- to get on the Internet, you have to go to a public access point.
There are several organizations dedicated to ending Internet censorship. Find out more about them on the next page.
BEYOND THE NET
Sometimes the fight moves from the online world to the real one. In 2006, a group of men attacked United States citizen Peter Yuan Li in his Atlanta home. Li was an anti-censorship activist and a practitioner of Falun Gong, a spiritual following similar to Buddhism. Li maintained Web sites that criticized China's Communist party. His assailants bound him and demanded to know where he stored his information. They beat Li severely and stole two laptop computers, leaving other valuables untouched. Li believed the men were sent by the Chinese government to silence him [source: Forbes].
Opponents of Internet Censorship
In addition to the thousands of people who combat censorship through blogs every day, there are several organizations that raise awareness about Internet censorship. Some are formal organizations with prestigious memberships, while others are looser groups that aren't above advocating a guerilla approach to getting around strict policies.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is an adamant opponent of Internet censorship. The ACLU has filed numerous lawsuits in order to overturn censorship laws. In 2007, the ACLU convinced a federal court that the Children's Online Protection Act (COPA) was unconstitutional. COPA was a law that made it illegal to present material online that was deemed harmful to minors, even if it included information valuable to adults [source: ACLU].
The OpenNet Initiative is a group that strives to provide information to the world about the ways countries allow or deny citizens access to information. The initiative includes departments at the University of Toronto, the Harvard Law School, Oxford University and the University of Cambridge. On ONI's Web page you can find an interactive map that shows which countries censor the Internet.
Reporters Without Borders also concerns itself with Internet censorship, although the group's scope extends beyond Internet practices. The group maintains a list of "Internet enemies," countries that have the most severe Internet restrictions and policies in place [source: Reporters Without Borders].
The Censorware Project has been around since 1997. Its mission is to educate people about Web filtering software and practices. At its Web site, you can find investigative reports about all the major Web filter programs available on the market as well as essays and news reports about censorship. A similar site is Peacefire.org, which began as a site dedicated to protecting free speech on the Internet for young people.
Other groups offer advice on how to disable or circumvent censorware. Some advocate using proxy sites. A proxy site is a Web page that allows you to browse the Web without using your own Internet protocol (IP) address. You visit the proxy site, which includes a form into which you type the URL of the restricted sites you want to visit. The proxy site retrieves the information and displays it. Outsiders can only see that you've visited the proxy site, not the sites you've pulled up.
It may be decades before the Internet reaches its full potential as a conduit for ideas. Ironically, it isn't going to get there through technological breakthroughs, but through changes in national and corporate policies.
The CensorWare Project The Censorware Project was formed by a group of writers and net.activists in late 1997. Our goal is to bring to light information about censorware products which is, by their nature, hidden
Net Neutrality Primer The net neutrality debate is divided into two camps: Fighting against net neutrality are the telecom companies and cable providers, who provide Internet access to consumers. Opposing them are content providers like Google, Amazon, and non-profits like MoveOn.org and the National Religious Broadcasters. But what are they fighting about?
Net neutrality can be summed up by a familiar saying: If it's not broken, don't fix it. But how you define what's not broken determines in which camp you reside. The editors of the "National Review" explain that
After a Supreme Court ruling cleared the way, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided last year to deregulate the broadband market, giving telecommunications companies the (still theoretical) freedom to charge Internet companies different rates for different levels of network service...The advocates of the proposed regulation argue for the principle of "net neutrality" -- that is, they want the telecom companies to provide broadband access that treats all Internet content the same.
For the telecoms, regulating the free market would be fixing what's not broken. For the "net neutralist," it's the opposite.
Defeating net neutrality would give telecom companies the ability to charge content-providers (like Google, eBay and Amazon) to use their bandwidth and, in essence, have access to their subscribers. Not only would the content providers have access to the telecom subscribers, by paying they would have preferred access -- higher bandwidth and better delivery of their content. At the heart of this strategy is the telecoms' claim that they need revenue to make necessary updates to Internet infrastructure. Emerging technologies and media require improvements, they say, and the money has to come from somewhere.
Those in favor of regulation worry that telecoms will abuse their control and punish companies that won't pay up. Catherine Yang of "Business Week" explains that, "The network operators could block consumers from popular sites such as Google, Amazon, or Yahoo! in favor of their own. Or they could degrade delivery of Web pages whose providers don't pay extra. Google's home page, for instance, might load at a creep, while a search engine backed by the network company would zip along."
NYT: The Terrifying Power of Internet Censors By Kate Klonick Sept. 13, 2017
After the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last month where a man drove a car into a crowd, killing a counter-demonstrator, the American neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer published a long, hate-riddled post mocking the victim.
Outcry over the article led its domain registrar, GoDaddy, to end The Daily Stormer's service. The site then registered with Google, which also quickly canceled its hosting. But it wasn't until Cloudflare, a website security and performance service, dropped the site as a client that The Daily Stormer truly lost its ability to stay online.
Because of the precise nature of Cloudflare's business, and the scarcity of competitors, its role censoring internet speech is not just new, it's terrifying.
What makes Cloudflare an essential part of the internet is its ability to block malicious traffic from barraging clients' websites with requests that take them offline. Cloudflare is one of the few companies in the world that provide this kind of reliable protection. If you don't want your website to get taken down by extortionists, jokers, political opposition or hackers, you have to hire Cloudflare or one of its very few competitors.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of corporate players on the internet: companies that build infrastructure through which content flows, and companies that seek to curate content and create a community.
Internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast, domain name servers, web hosts and security services providers like Cloudflare are all the former -- or the "pipe.” They typically don't look at the content their clients and customers are putting up, they just give them the means to do it and let it flow. Social media platforms like Facebook are the latter. They encourage their users to create, share and engage with content -- so they look at content all the time and decide whether they want to allow hateful material like that of neo-Nazis to stay up.
While there have long been worries about internet service providers favoring access to some content over others, there has been less concern about companies further along the pipeline holding an internet on/off switch. In large part, this is because at other points in the pipeline, users have choice. Private companies can make their own rules, and consumers can choose among them. If GoDaddy won't register your domain, you can go to Bluehost or thousands of other companies.
But the fewer choices you have for the infrastructure you need to stay online, the more serious the consequences when companies refuse service. This is why Cloudflare's decision to drop The Daily Stormer is so significant. Denying security service to one Nazi website seems fine now, but what if Cloudflare started suspending service for a political candidate that its chief executive didn't like?
Across the globe governments are monitoring and censoring access to the web. And if we're not careful millions more people could find the internet fractured, fragmented and controlled by the state
Every state in the world has its own laws, cultural norms and accepted behaviours. As billions of people come online in the next decade, many will discover a newfound independence that will test these boundaries. Each state will attempt to regulate the internet, and shape it in its own image.
The majority of the world's internet users encounter some form of censorship – also known by the euphemism "filtering" – but what that actually looks like depends on a country's policies and its technological infrastructure. Not all or even most of that filtering is political censorship; progressive countries routinely block a modest number of sites, such as those featuring child pornography.
In some countries, there are several entry points for internet connectivity, and a handful of private telecommunications companies control them (with some regulation). In others, there is only one entry point, a nationalised internet service provider (ISP), through which all traffic flows. Filtering is relatively easy in the latter case, and more difficult in the former.
INTERNET CENSORSHIP IS ADVANCING UNDER TRUMP Wired by RONI JACOBSON 04.12.17
Last Thursday, Twitter sued the federal government. At issue was a demand from the Department of Homeland Security that Twitter reveal the user(s) behind an account critical of the Trump administration. The government withdrew its request the next day, and the issue seemingly drew to a close. But this is not the end.
The DHS request came on the heels of another Trump administration move that could be viewed as hostile to internet freedom. On April 2, President Trump signed a bill passed last month releasing internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon and AT&T from having to protect consumer data, in effect jeopardizing people's privacy and opening them up to surveillance. And FCC Chair Ajit Pai is planning to weaken net neutrality rules, which would allow ISPs to create fast lanes for preferred internet traffic while slowing other traffic sources.
"If we don't have net neutrality, the ISPs could slow people who are talking about, for example, going to a rally,” says Kate Forscey, associate counsel at Public Knowledge, a free speech organization. "It's not just about streaming Netflix--it's about fundamental engagement in a democratic environment.” Against this backdrop, the DHS's attempt to strong-arm Twitter looks less like a defeat and more like a testing of the waters.
These developments don't on their own spell internet censorship. Rather, they lay the groundwork for it: They create the conditions that allow a regime, whether it's headed by Trump or another administration down the line, to squelch dissent. It's part of a broader trend around the world, in which numerous governments are whittling away at internet freedoms.
"On a global level social media platforms have been facing growing censorship over the past year,” says Jessica White, an analyst at Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization. Twitter's lawsuit put an end to one attempt by the Trump administration to undermine free online expression, but it is unlikely to be the last. It is just the freshest in a long string of ploys by governments around the world to solidify their power over online communities.
Freedom House Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world. We analyze the challenges to freedom, advocate for greater political rights and civil liberties, and support frontline activists to defend human rights and promote democratic change.
Even as Americans remain committed to the ideals of democracy, a majority see democracy in the United States as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey jointly commissioned by Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
As one of the greatest monopolies that ever existed, Google poses a unique threat to anyone concerned about health, food, supplements and their ability to obtain truthful information about these and other issues
BooksOn the Censorship of Michael Hoffman's Books by Amazon ICH by The Saker September 14, 2018
A couple of months ago I did an interview with one of the foremost scholars of rabbinical Judaism, Michael Hoffman. The occasion was the release of his latest book "The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome”. At the time I did not expect to have to ask for a follow-up interview with him, but when I learned that Amazon had censored his books (please see Hoffman's own account of this here [ http://www.unz.com/article/revisionist-history-books-banned-by-amazon/ ]). Specifically, the ban is on three of his books. A complete ban (Kindle + printed book) on Judaism's Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, as well as The Great Holocaust Trial: Revised and Expanded, while his textbook, Judaism Discovered, has been removed from the Kindle. I felt that I had to talk to him again and he kindly agreed to reply to my questions. I submit to you the full text of our Q&A which I will follow-up with a short commentary.
9/119/11 Was an Israeli Job UNZ by LAURENT GUYÉNOT • SEPTEMBER 10, 2018
Thanks to courageous investigators, many anomalies in the official explanation of the events of 9/11 were posted on the Internet in the following months, providing evidence that this was a false flag operation, and that Osama bin Laden was innocent, as he repeatedly declared in the Afghan and Pakistani press and on Al Jazeera. The proofs of this appalling fraud have been accumulating ever since, and are now accessible to anyone willing to spend a few hours of research on the Web. (Although, while preparing this article, I noticed that Google is now making access to that research more difficult than it was five years ago, artificially prioritizing anti-conspiracy sites.)
For example, members of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth have demonstrated that it was impossible for plane crashes and jet fuel fires to trigger the collapse of the Twin Towers. Even Donald Trump understood this. In fact, speaking of "collapse" is perhaps misleading: the towers literally exploded, pulverizing concrete and projecting pieces of steel beams weighing several hundred tons hundreds of meters laterally at high speeds. The pyroclastic dust that immediately flooded through the streets, not unlike the dust from a volcano, indicates a high temperature mixture of hot gasses and relatively dense solid particles, an impossible phenomenon in a simple collapse. It is also impossible that WTC7, another skyscraper (47 stories), which had not been hit by a plane, collapsed into its own footprint at near free-fall speed, unless by "controlled demolition.”
Testimonies of firefighters recorded shortly after the events describe sequences of explosions just before the "collapse”, well below the plane impact. The presence of molten metal in the wreckage up to three weeks after the attack is inexplicable except by the presence of incompletely burned explosives. Firefighter Philip Ruvolo testified before Étienne Sauret's camera for his film Collateral Damages (2011): "You'd get down below and you'd see molten steel--molten steel running down the channelways, like you were in a foundry--like lava.”
Aviation professionals have also reported impossibilities in the behavior of the planes. The charted speeds of the two aircraft hitting the Twin Towers, 443 mph and 542 mph, exclude these aircraft being Boeing 767s, because these speeds are virtually impossible near ground level. In the unlikely event such speeds could be attained without the aircraft falling apart, flying them accurately into the towers was mission impossible, especially by the amateur pilots blamed for the hijacking. Hosni Mubarak, a former pilot, said he could never do it. (He is not the only head of state to have voiced his doubts: Chavez and Ahmadinejad are among them.) Recall that neither of the black boxes of the jetliners was ever found, an incomprehensible situation.
And of course, there are the obvious anomalies of Shanksville and Pentagon crash sites: no plane or credible plane debris can be seen on any of the numerous photos easily available.
Inside Job or Mossad Job?
Among the growing number of Americans who disbelieve the official version of the 9/11 attacks, two basic theories are in competition: I called them "inside job" and "Mossad job”. The first one is the dominant thesis within the so-called 9/11 Truth movement, and blames the American government, or a faction within the American Deep State. The second one claims that the masterminds were members of a powerful Israeli network deeply infiltrated in all spheres of power within the US, including media, government, military and secret services.
This "Mossad job" thesis has been gaining ground since Alan Sabrosky, a professor at the U.S. Army War College and the U.S. Military Academy, published in July 2012 an article entitled "Demystifying 9/11: Israel and the Tactics of Mistake" [ https://www.veteranstodayarchives.com/2011/06/27/demystifying-911-israel-tactics-mistake/ ], where he voiced his conviction that September 11th was "a classic Mossad-orchestrated operation.”
We can notice from the outset that incriminating Israelis or Arabs are both "outside job" theories (in fact, they are mirror images of each other, which is understandable in light of what Gilad Atzmon explains about Jewish "projected guilt”). Before even looking at the evidence, "outside job" sounds more credible that "inside job”. There is something monstrous in the idea that a government can deceive and terrorize its own citizens by killing thousands of them, just for starting a series of wars that are not even in the nation's interest. By comparison, a foreign power attacking the U.S. under the false flag of a third power almost seems like fair play. Indeed suspicion of Israel's role should be natural to anyone aware of the reputation of the Mossad as: "Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act,” in the words of a report of the U.S. Army School for Advanced Military Studies quoted by the Washington Times, September 10th, 2001 -- the day before the attacks [ https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2001/sep/10/20010910-025319-6906r/ ].
This is an important point, because it raises the question of how and why the 9/11 Truth movement has been led to endorse massively the outrageous "inside job" thesis without even considering the more likely thesis of an attack by a foreign power acting under an Islamic false flag--and what foreign power but Israel would do that?
Of course, the two dissenting theses do not necessarily exclude each other; at least, no one incriminating Israel denies that corrupted elements from the American administration or deep state were involved. The "passionate attachment" between Israel and the U.S. has been going on for decades, and 9/11 is one of its monstruous offsprings.
I can think of no better symbol of that reality than the marriage of Ted and Barbara Olson. Ted Oslon, after having defended Bush in the disputed 2000 election, had been rewarded with the post of Solicitor General (he also defended Dick Cheney when he refused to submit to Congress Enron-related documents). Barbara was a famous CNN reporter, but before that, she was born Barbara Kay Bracher of Jewish parents, educated at Yeshiva University School of Law, and hired by the legal firm WilmerHale, of which Jamie Gorelick, a future member of the 9/11 Commission, was also a member, and whose clients include powerful Israeli firms like Amdocs, a digital communication company charged with spying for Israel in the United States. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z56FevNeL8c V Amdocs: Israeli Software Spying on Americans ]
On September 11, 2001, Barbara Olson alledgedly was on flight AA77, from which she made two telephone calls to her husband. Her calls were reported on CNN in the afternoon, and contributed to crystallize some details of the official story, such as the "box cutters" used as only weapons by the hijackers. Repeatedly invited on television shows after 9/11, Ted Olson frequently contradicted himself when questioned about the calls from his wife. In a 2006 report, the FBI identified only one call from Barbara Olson, and it was an unconnected call lasting 0 seconds. Like all other reported phone calls from desperate passengers (including the famous "Hi, Mom. This is Mark Bingham”), Barbara's call was simply impossible, because the technology required to make high-altitude phone calls was not developed until 2004.
9/11 was made possible by an alliance between secret worshippers of Israel and corrupted American elements. The question is: who, of the two, were the masterminds of this incredibly daring and complex operation, and for what "higher purpose”?
I have myself been a believer in the official theory for 7 years, and in the "inside job" theory for 2 years, before progressively moving on to the present argument from 2010. On the other hand, we can assume that those who lead the public into error on a long term are not just mistaken but lying. In any case, it is legitimate to investigate the background of opinion makers, and when they are caught lying or distorting the truth, we can speculate on their motivation. I will come back to this issue at the end of the article.
Researchers who believe Israel orchestrated 9/11 cite the behavior of a group of individuals who have come to be known as the "dancing Israelis" since their arrest, though their aim was to pass as "dancing Arabs.” Dressed in ostensibly "Middle Eastern" attire, they were seen by various witnesses standing on the roof of a van parked in Jersey City, cheering and taking photos of each other with the WTC in the background, at the very moment the first plane hit the North Tower. The suspects then moved their van to another parking spot in Jersey City, where other witnesses saw them deliver the same ostentatious celebrations.
One anonymous call to the police in Jersey City, reported the same day by NBC News, mentioned "a white van, 2 or 3 guys in there. They look like Palestinians and going around a building. [...] I see the guy by Newark Airport mixing some junk and he has those sheikh uniforms. [...] He's dressed like an Arab.” The police soon issued the following BOLO alert (be-on-the-look-out) for a "Vehicle possibly related to New York terrorist attack. White, 2000 Chevrolet van with New Jersey registration with 'Urban Moving Systems' sign on back seen at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ, at the time of first impact of jetliner into World Trade Center. Three individuals with van were seen celebrating after initial impact and subsequent explosion.”
By chance, the van was intercepted around 4 pm, with five young men inside: Sivan and Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner, and Omer Marmari. Before any question was asked, the driver, Sivan Kurzberg, burst out: "We are Israelis. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are your problem”.The Kurzberg brothers were formally identified as Mossad agents. All five officially worked for a moving company (a classic cover for espionage) named Urban Moving Systems, whose owner, Dominik Otto Suter, fled the country for Tel Aviv on September 14.
This event was first reported the day after the attacks by journalist Paulo Lima in the New Jersey newspaper The Bergen Record, based on "sources close to the investigation" who were convinced of the suspects' foreknowledge of the morning's attacks: "It looked like they knew what was going to happen when they were at Liberty State Park”.
The 579-page FBI report on the investigation that followed (partially declassified in 2005) reveals several important facts. First, once developed, the photos taken by the suspects while watching the North Tower on fire confirm their attitudes of celebration: "They smiled, they hugged each other and they appeared to 'high five' one another”. To explain their contentment, the suspects said they were simply happy that, thanks to these terrorist attacks, "the United States will take steps to stop terrorism in the world”. Yet at this point, before the second tower was hit, most Americans believed the crash was an accident.
The five Israelis were found connected to another company called Classic International Movers, which employed five other Israelis arrested for their contacts with the nineteen presumed suicide hijackers. In addition, one of the five suspects had called "an individual in South America with authentic ties to Islamic militants in the middle east”. Finally, the FBI report states that the "The vehicle was also searched by a trained bomb-sniffing dog which yielded a positive result for the presence of explosive traces”.
After all this incriminating evidence comes the most puzzling passage of the report: its conclusion that "the FBI no longer has any investigative interests in the detainees and they should proceed with the appropriate immigration proceedings”. In fact, a letter addressed to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, dated September 25, 2001, proves that, less than two weeks after the events, the FBI federal headquarter had already decided to close the investigation, asking that "The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service should proceed with the appropriate immigration proceedings”
The five "dancing Israelis,” the only suspects arrested on the very day of the 9/11 attacks, were just the tip of an iceberg. In September 2001, the federal police were busy dismantling the largest Israeli spy network ever uncovered on American soil. In the summer preceding the attack, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) compiled a report which would be revealed to the public by the Washington Post on November 23rd, 2001, followed by a Carl Cameron's four-part documentary broadcast on Fox News from December 11th, 2001.
On March 14th, 2002, an article in French newspaper Le Monde signed by Sylvain Cypel also referred to the report, shortly before the French magazine Intelligence Online made it fully accessible on the Internet.It said that 140 Israeli spies, aged between 20 and 30, had been arrested since March 2001, while 60 more were arrested after September 11. Generally posing as art students, they visited at least "36 sensitive sites of the Department of Defense.” "A majority of those questioned have stated they served in military intelligence, electronic signal intercept, or explosive ordnance units. Some have been linked to high-ranking officials in the Israeli military. One was the son of a two-star general, one served as the bodyguard to the head of the Israeli Army, one served in a Patriot mission unit.” Another, Peer Segalovitz, officer in the 605 Battalion of the Golan Heights, "acknowledged he could blow up buildings, bridges, cars, and anything else that he needed to.
In reality, the Israeli agents were certainly not just monitoring the future "hijackers,” but financing and manipulating them, before disposing of them. We know that Israeli Hanan Serfaty, who rented two flats near Mohamed Atta, had handled at least $100,000 in three months. And we also learned from the New York Times on February 19, 2009, that Ali al-Jarrah, cousin of the alleged hijacker of Flight UA93 Ziad al-Jarrah, had spent twenty-five years spying for the Mossad as an undercover agent infiltrating the Palestinian resistance and Hezbollah.
Israeli agents apparently appreciate operating under the cover of artists. Shortly before September 11, a group of fourteen Jewish "artists" under the name of Gelatin installed themselves on the ninety-first floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center. There, as a work of "street art,” they removed a window and extended a wooden balcony. To understand what role this piece of scaffolding may have played, it must be remembered that the explosion supposedly resulting from the impact of the Boeing AA11 on the North Tower took place between the ninety-second and the ninety-eighth floors. With the only film of the impact on the North Tower being that of the Naudet brothers, who are under suspicion for numerous reasons, many researchers are convinced that no aircraft hit this tower, and that the explosion simulating the impact was provoked by pre-planted explosives inside the tower.
Floors ninety-three to one hundred of the North Tower were occupied by Marsh & McLennan, whose CEO was Jeffrey Greenberg, son of wealthy Zionist (and financier of George W. Bush) Maurice Greenberg, who also happens to be the owner of Kroll Inc., the firm in charge of security for the entire World Trade Center complex on 9/11. The Greenbergs were also the insurers of the Twin Towers and, on July 24, 2001, they took the precaution of having the contract reinsured by competitors. In November 2000, the board of directors of Marsh & McLennan was joined by (Lewis) Paul Bremer, the chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism, who, on September 11, 2001, two hours only after the pulverization of the North Tower, would appear on NBC to name bin Laden as prime suspect, perfectly calm as 400 of his employees are missing (295 will finally be declared dead). "It is the day that will change our lives,” he said. "It is the day when the war that the terrorists declared on the US [. . .] has been brought home to the US.” In 2003, Bremer would be appointed administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to level the Iraqi state to the ground and oversee the theft of almost a trillion dollars intended for its reconstruction.
With Goldberg and Bremer, we have reached the upper level of the conspiracy, comprising a number of influential Jewish personalities, working inside and outside the U.S. government -- super-sayanim [Sayanim (sing. Sayan; Hebrew: helpers, assistants) are Jews who live in and often hold the citizenship of lands outside of Israel], so to speak. The most representative of those outside government is Larry Silverstein, the real estate shark who, with his partner Frank Lowy, leased the Twin Towers from New York City in the spring of 2001. The head of the New York Port Authority, who granted Silverstein and Lowy the lease, was none other than Lewis Eisenberg, another member of the United Jewish Appeal Federation and former vice-president of AIPAC. It appeared that Silverstein had made a disastrous deal, because the Twin Towers had to be decontaminated for asbestos. The decontamination process had been indefinitely postponed since the 1980s because of its cost, estimated at nearly $1 billion in 1989. In 2001, the New York Port Authority had been all too happy to shift responsibility to Silverstein.
Immediately after acquiring the Twin Towers, Silverstein renegotiated the insurance contracts to cover terrorist attacks, doubling the coverage to $3.5 billion, and made sure he would retain the right to rebuild after such an event. After the attacks, he took his insurers to court in order to receive double compensation, claiming that the two planes were two separate attacks. After a long legal battle, he pocketed $4.5 billion.
Silverstein is a leading member of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, the biggest fundraiser for Israel (after the US government, which pays about $3 billion per year in aid to Israel).
Silverstein also maintained "close ties with Netanyahu,” according to Haaretz (November 21, 2001): "The two have been on friendly terms since Netanyahu's stint as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations. For years they kept in close touch. Every Sunday afternoon, New York time, Netanyahu would call Silverstein.” Besides being a powerful man, Larry is a lucky man: as he explained in this interview, every morning of the week, he had breakfast at the Windows on the World on top of the North Tower, but on September 11th, he had an appointment with his dermatologist.
Accomplices to the 9/11 false flag attack with strong Israeli connections should also be tracked at the other end of the trajectory of the planes reported to have crashed into the Twin Towers. Flights AA11 and UA175 took off from Logan Airport in Boston, which subcontracted their security to International Consultants on Targeted Security (ICTS), a firm based in Israel and headed by Menachem Atzmon, a treasurer of the Likud. So did Newark Airport where flight UA93 reportedly took off before crashing in Shanksville.
... Another chief of the cover-up was Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 presidential Commission established in November 2002. Zelikow is a self-styled specialist in the art of making "public myths" by “‘searing' or 'molding' events [that] take on 'transcendent' importance and, therefore, retain their power even as the experiencing generation passes from the scene" (Wikipedia). In December 1998, he co-signed an article for Foreign Affairs entitled "Catastrophic Terrorism,” in which he speculated on what would have happened if the 1993 WTC bombing (already attributed to bin Laden) had been done with a nuclear bomb: "An act of catastrophic terrorism that killed thousands or tens of thousands of people and/or disrupted the necessities of life for hundreds of thousands, or even millions, would be a watershed event in America's history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented for peacetime and undermine Americans' fundamental sense of security within their own borders in a manner akin to the 1949 Soviet atomic bomb test, or perhaps even worse. … Like Pearl Harbor, the event would divide our past and future into a before and after.
"The United States might respond with draconian measures scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects and use of deadly force.” This is the man who controlled the governmental investigation on the 9/11 terror attacks.
Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, who nominally led the commission, revealed in their book Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission (2006), that the commission "was set up to fail" from the beginning. Zelikow, they claim, had already written a synopsis and a conclusion for the final report before the first meeting. He controlled all the working groups, prevented them from communicating with each other, and gave them as sole mission to prove the official story; Team 1A, for example, was tasked to "tell the story of Al-Qaeda's most successful operation--the 9/11 attacks.”
A tight control of mainstream media is perhaps the most delicate aspect of the whole operation. I will not delve into that aspect, for we all know what to expect from the MSM. For a groundbreaking argument on the extent to which 9/11 was psy-op orchestrated by MSM, I recommend Ace Baker's 2012 documentary 9/11 The Great American Psy-Opera, chapters 6, 7 and 8.
If we move up to the very highest level of the conspiracy, we find ourselves in Tel Aviv. The preparation for 9/11 coincided with the coming to power of Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996, followed by Ehud Barak in July 1999, and Ariel Sharon in March 2001, who brought back Netanyahu as minister of Foreign Affairs in 2002 (with Netanyahu again becoming prime minister in 2009). It must be noted that both Netanyahu and Ehud Barak were temporarily out of the Israeli government in September 2001, just like Ben-Gurion at the time of Kennedy's assassination
As for Netanyahu, we are not surprised to hear him boast, on CNN in 2006, of having predicted in 1995 that, "if the West doesn't wake up to the suicidal nature of militant Islam, the next thing you will see is militant Islam bringing down the World Trade Center.” Netanyahu is exemplary of the ever closer "special relationship" between the US and Israel, which started with Truman and blossomed under Johnson.
Did Israel Kill the Kennedys? UNZ by LAURENT GUYÉNOT • JUNE 3, 2018
And both investigations are widely regarded as cover-ups. In both cases, the official conclusion is rife with contradictions. We are going to sum them up here. But we will do more: we will show that the key to solving both cases resides in the link between them. And we will solve them beyond a reasonable doubt.
At least 'South Park' stands up to China's censorship
Dictators. Always so humorous.
Take China's communist officialdom. You've probably heard about the "South Park" episode last week that the Chinese government didn't find amusing. And the fake apology from the comedy show's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
No? Well, then, you must live in China, where free speech isn't actually allowed, and where the episode in question -- "Band in China" -- has been expunged from the cyber airwaves. The plot of the show is, as usual, silly with a sting (and too complicated to summarize in this limited space).
Basically, characters familiar to "South Park" fans make fun of China's policy of censorship -- well, whaddya know -- and Hollywood's kowtowing to China by tweaking films to suit Communist Party sensibilities.
As if on cue, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey drew backlash from several Chinese entities for a tweet last Friday expressing sympathy for the protesters in Hong Kong. "Fight for freedom,” Morey wrote, as any red-blooded American might. "Stand with Hong Kong.”
You'd have thought he had said Chinese basketball players can't jump. Jeez.
But, of course, Americans support pro-democracy freedom fighters everywhere. China exports consumer goods. America exports freedom -- in speech, in religion and in military support. Except when she doesn't, as when President Trump reportedly told Chinese President-for-Life Xi Jinping that he'd remain silent on the Hong Kong protests as long as trade talks were ongoing.
This was in June, long before Trump also suggested that China investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Funny how authoritarians seem drawn to one another. Rather than discuss the spark that ignited the protests -- a proposal to extradite criminal suspects from Hong Kong to China -- the president of the United States essentially said "no" to free speech and "yes" to censorship.
In other words, last week's "South Park" episode hit all the right notes for freedom and democracy and all the wrong ones for China, which, apparently, has no sense of humor, especially regarding itself. Any criticism deemed anti-government spells doom to the truth-sayer, an operating principle that applies as well to businesses and corporations conducting business with China.
One would think that such a large, prosperous nation could withstand a tweet of no real consequence. But a dictatorship can't countenance the slightest dissent, lest chaos -- the wolf that sniffs at the doors of the self-anointed -- sense a hint of weakness or fear on the other side. As the Hong Kong protests have escalated to violence and vandalism, the wolf's tail is surely wagging, while Beijing's patience is tested.
Meanwhile, scheduled broadcasts of the NBA's preseason games in China have been scrapped by the state-run media, despite apologies, mea culpas and tender entreaties from various basketball officials, owners and, of course, poor Morey, who deleted his tweet. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta (a name that cannot be improved upon) tweeted that Morey "does NOT speak for" the team. The NBA called Morey's comments "regrettable.”
And NBA Commissioner Adam Silver cut to the chase while speaking to Japan's Kyodo News on Monday, saying: "There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear.” What happened to the guy who moved the All-Star Game out of North Carolina in response to that state's law restricting public bathroom use by transgender people? And who said, "In this day and age, you really do have to stand for something”?
Whatever that "something" used to be, today it is money over principle, censorship over free speech, and submission over character. Silver clarified his thoughts Tuesday, saying that the NBA supports players' and executives' rights to express themselves freely.
But "South Park,” the adolescent, profane, goofball cartoon show, got it right from the start. In their mock apology, Parker and Stone wrote: "Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy.”
In a normal world, all of this would have been a joke. Instead, we're reminded of the fragility of freedom. Dissenting from authority is in our DNA, and standing with others similarly inclined is paying forward the debt we owe those who paved our way. But our very best thing is our sense of humor, companion to which is an essential tolerance for irreverence. It is the rigidly reverent, whether ideological or religious, who must mind everyone's business and quash the dissenters.
We should remember this always as we pick our friends and enemies. If they can't handle a cheer for freedom -- or take a joke -- pick up your ball and go play somewhere else. And don't let them watch.