The Rise Of The Corporate Censors: How America Is Drifting Toward The Chinese Model Of Media

The Rise Of The Corporate Censors: How America Is Drifting Toward The Chinese Model Of Media

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/20/2020 – 22:45

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the censorship of the Hunter Biden controversy by Facebook and Twitter.  The response of the Biden campaign and figures like Rep. Adam Schiff has been to dismiss the story as the likely product of Russian intelligence. Notably however they do not address the underlying emails.

As many of us have written, there is ample reason to suspect foreign intelligence and the FBI is reportedly investigating that possibility. However, that does not mean that the emails are not authentic. Hillary Clinton was hacked by Russia but the emails were still real. It is possible to investigate both those responsible for the laptop’s disclosure and what has been disclosed on the laptop. The censorship by these companies however has magnified concerns in the controversy, particularly with the disclosure of close connections between some company officials and the Biden campaign.

Chinese citizens watched President Xi Jinping deliver an important speech this week not far from Hong Kong. Well, not the whole speech: Xi apparently is ill, and every time he went into coughing spasms, China’s state media cut away so that he would be shown only in perfect health.

Xi’s coughs came to mind as Twitter and Facebook prevented Americans from being able to read the New York Post’s explosive allegations of influence-peddling by Hunter Biden through their sites. The articles cited material reportedly recovered from a laptop; it purportedly showed requests for Hunter Biden to use his influence on his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, as well as embarrassing photos of Hunter Biden.

Many of us have questioned the sketchy details of how the laptop reportedly was left by Hunter Biden with a nearly blind computer repairman and then revealed just weeks before the presidential election. There are ample reasons to question whether this material was the product of a foreign intelligence operation, which the FBI apparently is investigating.

Yet the funny thing about kompromat – a Russian term for compromising information — is that often it is true. Indeed, it is most damaging and most useful when it is true; otherwise, you deny the allegations and expose the lie. Hunter Biden has yet to deny these were his laptop, his emails, his images. If thousands of emails and images were fabricated, then serious crimes were committed. But if the emails and images are genuine, then the Bidens appear to have lied for years as a raw influence-peddling scheme worth millions stretched from China to Ukraine to Russia. Moreover, these countries likely have had the compromising information all along while the Bidens — and the media — were denying reports of illicit activities.

Either way, this was major news.

The response of Twitter and Facebook, however, was to shut it all down. Major media companies also imposed a virtual blackout on the allegations. It didn’t matter that thousands of emails were available for review or that the Bidens did not directly address the material. It was all declared to be fake news.

The tech companies’ actions are an outrageous example of open censorship and bias. It shows how private companies effectively can become state media working for one party. This, of course, was more serious than deleting coughs, but it was based on the same excuse of “protecting” the public from distractions or distortions. Indeed, it was the realization of political and academic calls that have been building for years.

Democratic leaders from Hillary Clinton to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) have long demanded such private censorship from social media companies, despite objections from some of us in the free speech community; Joe Biden himself demanded that those companies remove President Trump’s statements about voting fraud as fake news. Academics have lined up to support calls for censorship, too. Recently, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods called for Chinese-style internet censorship and declared that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.”

It turns out traditional notions of journalism and a free press are outdated, too, and China again appears to be the model for the future. Recently, Stanford communications Professor Emeritus Ted Glasser publicly denounced the notion of objectivity in journalism as too constraining for reporters seeking “social justice.” In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Glasser insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He said reporters must embrace the role of “activists” and that it is “hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.” Problem solved.

Such views make Twitter and Facebook’s censorship of the Post not simply justified but commendable — regardless of whether the alleged Biden material proves to be authentic. As Twitter buckled under criticism of its actions, it shifted its rationale from combating fake news to barring hacked or stolen information. (Putting aside that the information allegedly came from a laptop, not hacking, this rule would block the public from reviewing any story based on, say, whistleblowers revealing nonpublic information, from the Pentagon Papers to Watergate. Moreover, Twitter seemingly had no qualms about publishing thousands of stories based on the same type of information about the Trump family or campaign.) Twitter now says it will allow hacked information if not posted by the hacker.

Social media companies have long enjoyed protection, under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, from liability over what users post or share. The reason is that those companies are viewed as neutral platforms, a means for people to sign up to read the views or thoughts of other people. Under Section 230, a company such as Twitter was treated as merely providing the means, not the content. Yet for Twitter to tag tweets with warnings or block tweets altogether is akin to the telephone company cutting into a line to say it doesn’t like what two callers are discussing.

Facebook and Twitter have now made the case against themselves for stripping social media companies of immunity. That would be a huge loss not only to these companies but to free speech as well. We would lose the greatest single advance in free speech via an unregulated internet.

At the same time, we are seeing a rejection of journalistic objectivity in favor of activism. The New York Times apologized for publishing a column by a conservative U.S. senator on using national guardsmen to quell rioting — yet it later published a column by a Chinese official called “Beijing’s enforcer” who is crushing protests in Hong Kong. The media spent years publishing every wacky theory of alleged Trump-Russia collusion; thousands of articles detailed allegations from the Steele dossier, which has been not only discredited but also shown to be based on material from a known Russian agent.

When the Steele dossier was revealed, many of us agreed on the need to investigate because, even if it was the work of foreign intelligence, the underlying kompromat could be true. Today, in contrast, the media is not only dismissing the need to investigate the Biden emails, but ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos didn’t ask Biden about the allegations during a two-hour town hall event on Thursday.

This leaves us with a Zen-like question: If social media giants prevent the sharing of a scandal and the media refuses to cover it, did a scandal ever occur? After all, an allegation is a scandal only if it is damaging. No coverage, no damage, no scandal. Just deleted coughs lost in the ether of a controlled media and internet.

Showtime At Apollo: Leon Black’s Ties With Epstein Reviewed By Private Equity Giant

Showtime At Apollo: Leon Black’s Ties With Epstein Reviewed By Private Equity Giant

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/20/2020 – 22:25

One week ago, we asked a simple question in response to a NYT report that billionaire Leon Black, one of the brightest financial minds of this generation who is surrounded 24/7 by experts and specialists – and more importantly, his own paid employees – in absolutely every area of finance, paid “suicided” child molester and longtime pal Jeffrey Epstein $50 million after the deceased financier got out of prison for pedophilia.

Why?

Because the provided answer was ridiculous: according to Bloomberg, “For decades billionaire Leon Black turned to Jeffrey Epstein for financial advice.” But why would a billionaire financier need Epstein, who was through and through clueless about any sophisticated areas of finance, need to pay Epstein tens of millions for advice?

Neither did the answer given by Black’s spokeswoman make any sense: Black received “personal trusts and estates planning advice as well as family office philanthropy and investment services” from Epstein between 2012 and 2017. Wait… Black couldn’t get all of that for free from the the world’s biggest private equity company which just so happens he co-founded? Instead, he just had to pay Jeffrey $50 million.

“It is true that I paid Mr Epstein millions of dollars annually for his work,” said Black in a letter responding to the Times report. “It also is worth noting that all of Mr Epstein’s advice was vetted by leading auditors, law firms and other professional advisors” Black added in the process throwing virtually everyone under the bus, and adding that he had ‘once’ picnicked on Epstein’s private island with his family, and that he visited the dead pedophile ‘from time to time’ at his Manhattan townhouse.

Black’s spokeswoman claims the two stopped communicating after a “fee dispute” in 2018, and that Black “deeply regrets having any involvement with him.”

“There has never been an allegation by anyone, including The New York Times, that Mr Black engaged in any wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct,” she added.

That may change very soon, though, because in what may soon become the first major domino to tumble as a result of last year’s Epstein suicide, the WSJ reported that a group of Apollo Global Management independent board members will review Chief Executive Leon Black’s relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

At a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday morning, Mr. Black requested that the board’s conflict-committee members, which include Michael E. Ducey, A.B. Krongard and Pauline Richards, hire a law firm to examine his business dealings with Mr. Epstein, the people said. The committee interviewed a number of firms and selected Dechert LLP Tuesday afternoon.

Black’s motive is clear: an publicity “effort” to put to rest renewed speculation into the nature of his ties to Epstein. And while that may work, a truly objective committee will ask numerous questions, starting with the one we suggested above: why did Black pay Epstein $50 million?  And not only that, but why the various layers of cover – the NYT cited an internal report by Deutsche Bank that showed payments from entities controlled by the private-equity magnate to ones controlled by Mr. Epstein.

We doubt there is a simple answer.

Although the answer may be forthcoming once we get discovery from the pending discovery into what really happened: Black is among those who have received subpoenas in a civil investigation in the U.S. Virgin Islands into Mr. Epstein’s businesses. He has said he intends to cooperate with the inquiry.

And while we are confident the board members will be sympathetic toward Black – the same way that Twitter and Facebook are sympathetic to Hunter Biden – they may want to be careful: private-equity funds are structured in such a way that investors can only vote to pull their money under very specific circumstances, such as if a manager is convicted of a crime. But, as the WSJ notes, some of Apollo’s public-pension-fund investors have expressed concern that the issue may continue to produce negative headlines, the people familiar with the matter said.

In an Oct. 12 letter to Apollo’s investors that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Black said Mr. Epstein served as an adviser to him between 2012 and 2017 and that he was “completely unaware” of Mr. Epstein’s “reprehensible” conduct.

“I deeply regret having had any involvement with him,” Black wrote. This, we do not doubt at all.

Biden, Corruption, And Ukraine’s Election Interference Against Trump

Biden, Corruption, And Ukraine’s Election Interference Against Trump

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/20/2020 – 22:05

Authored by Thomas Farnan via TheNationalPulse.com,

In 2014, the Obama administration assigned Joe Biden to oversee Ukraine policy.  From that position he likely received a portion of the payola his son Hunter extracted from Burisma, one of the country’s largest energy companies, for firing an unfriendly prosecutor.

The political operation, though, was bigger than just a few million dollars funneled to the Biden family. In 2016 Ukraine interfered against Donald Trump in the American presidential election. It did so by launching a false Russian flag operation against the Trump campaign through Fusion GPS, CrowdStrike, and Alexandra Chalupa.

Ukraine later admitted the interference and apologized for it.

After a telephone conversation in which President Trump thanked Ukraine’s leader for investigating this corruption, the head of Obama’s Ukraine policy at the NSC (who had overseen the Chalupa part of the political dirty trick) filed a whistleblower complaint, leading to Trump’s impeachment.

The following is an excerpt from the short ebook, The Russia Lie, that details Ukraine’s election interference against Trump at the behest of the Obama administration.

* * *

Smack dab in the middle of this soupy mix of money, lobbying, and insanity is the country of Ukraine, which sits geographically between Europe and Russia. 

The cold-war view was that without Ukraine Russia is an Eastern power, but with Ukraine it challenges Western interests. 

Since the 1990s, Ukraine has bounced back and forth between alignment with Russia and the West. Like a child in a bitter divorce, it has become a proxy in the battle between two mismatched parents: the parochial, nationalistic, religious preferences of Putin’s Russia; and the globalism of the EU. 

In 2010, pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych was elected as president of Ukraine, in part due to the services of an American political consultant, Paul Manafort.  Politico has called Manafort’s relationship to Yanukovych “a political love connection.” 

Powerful forces in the West suspected that Vladimir Putin was putting anti-EU ideas into peoples’ heads – with Manafort’s help. 

Therein lies the chewy center of The Russia Lie: Western-intellectuals have a condescending view of the hoi polloi  who vote against their globalist projects, regarding the huddled masses as easily manipulated, Pygmalion-like, by smarter people. They assume Putin is playing Professor Henry Higgins to the flower girls who reject the EU, because that’s how they see the world.

In 2014, Yanukovych would make the mistake of not signing an association agreement with the European Union. John McCain flew to Kiev to rally support for the EU. McCain reported to the Atlantic Council about his trip. There followed a successful coup d’état, that replaced the pro-Russia government with a Western puppet. 

President Obama later told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that he had “brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine.” The word “brokered” suggests that the Obama administration successfully replaced a government half a world away at the behest of Washington’s smart people. 

Under Joe Biden’s oversight, the Obama administration started to work with Ukraine to create disinformation falsely linking Trump to Russia.

Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American operative, began doing opposition research for the DNC about Trump and Russia in late 2015. The Ukrainian embassy representing the government whose rule President Obama had “brokered” worked closely with Chalupa. 

Chalupa’s efforts were so successful in creating a phony Russian cloud around Trump that on October 24, 2016, reporter Michael Isikoff portrayed her work as pivotal in a premature victory lap for the Clinton campaign at Yahoo News.

On January 16, 2016, The Atlantic Council issued a dispatch under the banner headline: “US Intelligence Agencies to Investigate Russia’s Infiltration of European Political Parties.” The lede was concise: “American intelligence agencies are to conduct a major investigation into how the Kremlin is infiltrating political parties in Europe, it can be revealed.” 

There followed a series of pull quotes from an article that appeared in the The Telegraph, including that “James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence” was investigating whether right wing political movements in Europe were sourced in “Russian meddling.” 

The dispatch spoke of “A dossier” that revealed “Russian influence operations” in Europe. This was the first time trippy words like “Russian meddling” and “dossier” would appear together in the American lexicon. 

One of the international men of mystery spying on European political parties was none other than the ubiquitous Christopher Steele. A March 5, 2018 piece in The New Yorker about Steele describes the connection:

Even before Steele became involved in the U.S. Presidential campaign, he was convinced that the Kremlin was interfering in Western elections. In April of 2016, not long before he took on the Fusion assignment, he finished a secret investigation, which he called Project Charlemagne, for a private client. It involved a survey of Russian interference in the politics of four members of the European Union—France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany—along with Turkey, a candidate for membership. The report chronicles persistent, aggressive political interference by the Kremlin: social-media warfare aimed at inflaming fear and prejudice, and “opaque financial support” given to favored politicians in the form of bank loans, gifts, and other kinds of support. The report…. suggests that Russian aid was likely given to lesser-known right-wing nationalists in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The Kremlin’s long-term aim, the report concludes, was to boost extremist groups and politicians at the expense of Europe’s liberal democracies. The more immediate goal was to “destroy” the E.U., in order to end the punishing economic sanctions that the E.U. and the U.S. had imposed on Russia after its 2014 political and military interference in Ukraine.

At roughly the same time Steele worked on Project Charlemagne, he hired Fusion GPS to do research on Paul Manafort. Glenn Simpson detailed this in his book: “Weeks before Trump tapped Manafort to run his campaign, Christopher Steele had hired Fusion for help investigating Manafort.” 

Steele was investigating Putin’s influence in European politics. Manafort had been helpful in electing the pro-Putin candidate in Ukraine, and he started to work for Trump. Steele hired Fusion GPS to investigate Manafort. Then Fusion GPS hired Steele to help them. Cozy, huh? 

With the Atlantic Council in 2016, all roads led to Ukraine. The Atlantic Council’s list of significant contributors includes Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk. 

The Ukrainian energy company that was paying millions to an entity that was funneling large amounts to Hunter Biden months after he was discharged from the US Navy for drug use, Burisma, also appears prominently on the Atlantic Council’s donor list. 

NY POST STORIES HAVE RECENTLY SHED MORE LIKE ON BIDEN AND UKRAINE

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Western puppet installed in Ukraine, visited the Atlantic Council’s Washington offices to make a speech weeks after the coup. 

Pinchuk was also a big donor (between $10 million and $20 million) to the Clinton Foundation. Back in ’15, the Wall Street Journal published an investigative piece, “Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends.” The piece was about how Ukraine was attempting to influence Clinton by making huge donations through Pinchuk. Foreign interference, anyone?

In a piece first published on January 11, 2017, headlined “Ukrainian Efforts to Sabotage Trump Backfire,” Politico reported that Ukraine tried to help Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election: “The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.” 

Ukraine has apologized and admitted its interference

In the end, Trump was falsely linked to Russia by three distinct items of DNC opposition research, all connected to the Western puppet government in Ukraine: (1) dirt on Paul Manafort; (2) the Steele dossier; and (3) the supposed hack of the DNC computers. 

In emails that Fusion GPS’s Nellie Ohr forwarded to her husband Bruce Ohr, Ukrainian officials informed the FBI of the “black ledger” registering off-the-book payments to Manafort. It turned out to be a complete fabrication, but it did serve the purpose of disrupting the Trump campaign within weeks of the election, causing the campaign chairman to resign. 

It is plausible to conclude the Steele dossier, like Nellie Ohr’s report about Manafort, was based on disinformation provided by Ukrainians that was passed to Steele by his Fusion GPS researchers. The only source Nellie Ohr has identified in testimony  is Ukrainian. An FBI spreadsheet has confirmed that the “Trump orgy” story was sourced to Alexandra Chalupa’s sister.

President Trump would eventually mention “CrowdStrike” (a company connected to Ukraine) and the number they did on the DNC servers to the next President of Ukraine, a comedian who was elected by Ukrainians in 2019 partly as a protest to Western meddling in their country. 

Trump was impeached for discussing the Obama administration’s corruption in Ukraine based on a “whistleblower complaint” from a bureaucrat who ran the Ukraine desk at the NSC and, as reported by Paul Sperry, “worked on Ukrainian policy issues for Biden in 2015 and 2016, when the vice president was President Obama’s ‘point man’ for Ukraine.” 

A less biased media would have identified the impeachment for what it was: A brazen attempt to bury Joe Biden’s Ukraine corruption. 

In the final analysis, the 2016 election was not influenced by Russian disinformation no matter how the FBI continues to cover for the plotters by shrouding embarrassing revelations with phony Russian intrigue.  

No, it was Ukrainian disinformation (as Politico reported in 2017 and Ukraine has admitted) conducted under the tutelage of the Obama administration and its overseer for the country, Joe Biden.

*  *  *

Read the rest of the story in the short ebook, The Russia Lie, available for purchase here for $5.

Watch: Atlanta Police Use Drone To Arrest Murder Suspect

Watch: Atlanta Police Use Drone To Arrest Murder Suspect

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/20/2020 – 21:45

Detectives with the Atlanta Police Department’s (APD) homicide unit used a drone to arrest a man suspected in the shooting death of Thomas Jefferson Byrd, an actor who appeared in several flicks directed by Spike Lee. The video of the incident, filmed from the drone’s point of view, is dystopic and outlines law enforcement’s increasing use of drones. 

APD published the dramatic video footage on Facebook on Friday (Oct. 16). The law enforcement’s Facebook page wrote that homicide detectives used “Crime Stoppers tips and drone technology” to arrest Byrd.” 

Homicide detectives, following up on evidence and tips from citizens, identified a suspect in the shooting death of Thomas Jefferson Byrd, who was killed on Oct. 3.

On Oct. 14, 2020, warrants for the arrest of 30-year-old Antonio Demetrice Rhynes of Atlanta for Felony Murder were issued and investigators from the APD Fugitive Unit began working to arrest Rhynes. In the early morning of Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, the Fugitive Unit, in coordination with APD SWAT Officers, arrested Rhynes at Royal Oaks Apartments 3540 North Camp Creek Parkway. The suspect was taken to the Fulton County Jail. -Facebook 

Here’s the video of the incident, showing the drone entering the suspect’s apartment after the entrance door appeared to be forcibly opened. About 30 seconds after the drone surveils the apartment’s common area and kitchen, Byrd appears from a back bedroom with his hands in the air. 

“The Atlanta Police Department is proud of the diligent efforts of the Homicide Unit in identifying the suspect in this case and for the skilled and professional work done by the Fugitive and SWAT Units to take Rhynes into custody without incident,” APD continued to say in the Facebook post. “This arrest reflects highly on the men and women of the Atlanta Police Department and represents the highest standards of policing.”

Spike Lee recently announced the death of Byrd, writing on his Instagram:

“I’m So Sad To Announce The Tragic Murder Of Our Beloved Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd Last Night In Atlanta, Georgia … May We All Wish Condolences And Blessings To His Family. Rest In Peace Brother Byrd.”

While APD’s drone appears to be for surveillance purposes only, it’s only a matter of time before drones like these become weaponized.  

IMF Promotes A New ‘Bretton Woods Moment’ With Gender Equality

IMF Promotes A New ‘Bretton Woods Moment’ With Gender Equality

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/20/2020 – 21:25

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

The economic illiterates at the IMF are back at with another nonsensical idea…

A New Bretton Woods Moment

The IMF has a new goal: a ‘Sisterhood and Brotherhood of Humanity’ to save the world.

At the conclusion of the conference John Maynard Keynes captured the significance of international cooperation as hope for the world. “If we can continue…The brotherhood of man will have become more than a phrase”, he said.

The work of the IMF is testament to the values of cooperation and solidarity on which a sisterhood and brotherhood of humanity is built. 

Key Ideas of IMF Managing Director

  1. Today we face a new Bretton Woods “moment. ”We should move towards greater debt transparency and enhanced creditor coordination.

  2. And policies must be for people —my second imperative.

  3. Rising inequality and rapid technological change demand strong education and training systems—to increase opportunity and reduce disparities.

  4. Accelerating gender equality can be a global game-changer. For the most unequal countries, closing the gender gap could increase GDP by an average of 35 percent.

  5. We can no longer afford to ignore climate change—my third imperative.

  6. Our research shows that, with the right mix of green investment and higher carbon prices, we can steer toward zero emissions by 2050 and help create millions of new jobs.

Alternate Idea

The current strategies have done nothing but promote wage and income inequality. 

The middle class is shrinking and housing is less and less affordable despite interest rates manipulated lower.

These trends accelerated with Nixon ended convertibility of the dollar. 

We do not need another “Bretton Woods”. Nor do we need a useless “I favor mom, apple pie, global peace, and sisterhood equality” speech.

We need sound monetary ideas, free trade, the end of fiat currencies, and an end fraudulent fractional reserve lending.

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