Facebook, Twitter, Western Media Attempt to Reassert Monopoly Over “Truth”

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By Ulson Gunnar

Source: New Eastern Outlook

In a surreal and stunning example of 21st century propaganda and censorship, Google has cobbled together a coalition it is calling “First Draft” to tackle what it calls “misinformation online.” 

First Draft’s “founding partners” include News Corporation’s (parent company of Fox News) Storyful and NATO think tank Atlantic Council’s “Bellingcat” blog, headed by formally unemployed social worker Eliot Higgins who now fashions himself as a weapons expert and geopolitical analyst despite no formal training, practical real-world experience or track record of honest, unbiased reporting. In fact, between News Corporation and Bellingcat alone, Google’s First Draft appears to be itself a paragon of, and nexus for “misinformation online.” 

Google’s Glaring Conflicts of Interest 

Google too, having for years now worked closely with the US State Department, faces its own conflicts of interest in “social newsgathering and verification.” In fact, Google has admittedly been involved in engineering intentional deceptions aimed specifically to skew public perception, including doctoring its maps and Google Earth in real-time amid conflicts in favor of US-backed militant groups and through the development of applications designed to psychologically target the Syrian government into capitulating before US-backed militant groups.

The UK Independent in its article, “Google planned to help Syrian rebels bring down Assad regime, leaked Hillary Clinton emails claim,” would report that:

An interactive tool created by Google was designed to encourage Syrian rebels and help bring down the Assad regime, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails have reportedly revealed.

By tracking and mapping defections within the Syrian leadership, it was reportedly designed to encourage more people to defect and ‘give confidence’ to the rebel opposition.

The article would continue:

The email detailing Google’s defection tracker purportedly came from Jared Cohen, a Clinton advisor until 2010 and now-President of Jigsaw, formerly known as Google Ideas, the company’s New York-based policy think tank.

In a July 2012 email to members of Clinton’s team, which the WikiLeaks release alleges was later forwarded to the Secretary of State herself, Cohen reportedly said: “My team is planning to launch a tool on Sunday that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from.”

Cohen would conclude:

“Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition.”

Can Google then be relied upon to sort out “misinformation online” if it itself is directly involved in manipulating public perception to achieve US foreign policy objectives? To impartial observers, the answer is clearly “no.”

First Draft would publish on its website a post titled, “Social networks unite with global newsrooms to take action against misinformation online,” adding further details behind the alleged rationale of the coalition. It would state:

Today, news breaks online. Today, the first images to emerge from a breaking news event have been captured by an eyewitness. Today, injustices that may never have been reported become global news stories because a bystander reached for their smartphone. Today, malicious hoaxes and fake news reports are published in increasingly convincing and sophisticated ways. 

We live in a time when trust and truth are issues that all newsrooms, and increasingly the social platforms themselves, are facing. In July, the Guardian’s Editor-in-Chief Katharine Viner wrote about the ways technology is disrupting the truth, explaining “in the news feed on your phone, all stories look the same – whether they come from a credible source or not.” Filtering out false information can be hard. Even if news organisations only share fact-checked and verified stories, everyone is a publisher and a potential source.

The members that constitute the First Draft coalition, however, have enjoyed an uncontested monopoly for decades in determining just what the “truth” actually is, as well as a monopoly over propagating things the global public now know for a fact were “untruths.” Again, we see another case of the proverbial fox guarding the hen house.

The Liars Who Lied About WMDs in Iraq Will Protect Us from Liars Online? 

Indeed, many of the organizations that constitute First Draft’s coalition played a pivotal role in perhaps the most destructive and costly lie of the 21st century (to date), that involving alleged “weapons of mass destruction” or “WMDs” in Iraq, serving as the pretext for the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

According to some estimates, up to a million perished in the initial invasion and subsequent occupation. More conservative estimates are still in the hundreds of thousands.

Undoubtedly, the invasion, justified by lies propagated across the entirety of US and European media, helped trigger a predictable chain of catastrophes that have left the Middle East to this day in conflict and ruination. These same US and European media organizations, the same ones now signing their names to First Draft, also helped justify the continued presence of US troops in Iraq for years after the invasion, up to and including today.

And the same names signed on to First Draft are also the same names who helped sell the disastrous intervention in Libya and who are now attempting to sell yet another direct Western military intervention in Syria.

And it is perhaps the lack of success these same names are having in selling this most recent potential intervention in Syria that has precipitated First Draft’s creation in the first place.

There is a burgeoning alternative media composed of individual independent journalists, analysts and commentators both biased and impartial, both professional and amateur, competing directly with and overcoming the West’s longstanding monopoly over international public perception. There is also the emergence of professional and competitive national media organizations across the developing world who are taking increasingly large shares of both the West’s media monopoly and its monopoly over the public’s trust.

It is clear that First Draft has no intention of protecting the truth as none among its membership have done so until now individually, but rather in collectively protecting what the special interests behind these organizations want the global public to believe is the truth. First Draft is a desperate measure taken by Western special interests to reassert the West’s dominance over global public perception by leveraging the widely used social media platforms it controls, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as IT giant Google and its large range of services and applications.

In the end, all that First Draft is likely to accomplish is convincing the developing world of the necessity of creating domestic alternatives to Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as to continue expanding their own domestic media organizations to better represent their respective national interests upon the global stage and to dilute the dangerous and destructive media monopoly the West has enjoyed and abused for decades.

Until the members of First Draft can cite a lie told by their competitors that is as destructive and as costly as their own lies preceding and underpinning the invasion and occupation of Iraq or the more recent destruction of Libya, their efforts appear more as a means of further deflecting away from the truth, not defending it.

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6 Responses to Facebook, Twitter, Western Media Attempt to Reassert Monopoly Over “Truth”

  1. Heather Awen says:

    I actually think that when the smoke clears we will be better off long term with Trump having been president. Did people think the world was ending with McCarthyism and Cold War and the first Students Civil Rights movement, air dropping food into Berlin in the 50’s? Society had collapsed? Or Bay of Pigs, Malcolm X existing and Nation of Islam, Detroit in flames, Vietnam, DNC 68? It felt terrifying. Everything was crumbling. Kent state, Attica uprising, Watergate – For a decade or more things seemed very oppressive and like nothing could change. The 60s weren’t peace and drugs for most people.

    But what came out of this chaos and oppression? American Indian Movement feeding kids in Minneapolis and the Black Panthers also deeply involved in community work. (Why won’t people focus on THAT?), the Weathermen were very effective, consciousness raising, Black is Beautiful, feminism, rape and domestic violence are made public and shelters open run by grassroots women’s groups, cultural and religious exchanges happened, East met West, Back to the Land and environmental issues were brought out, the anti-nuclear movement got huge, communal living, sex without marriage, Stonewall, yippies.

    And yes it was coopted and sanitized BUT there were some actual changes on paper and the general of what’s “good”. People living together without marriage doesn’t freak people out. Single mothers either.

    Every once in which things have to get pushed far enough that people push back. So I am mostly curious about how things will unfold, not screaming the sky has fallen. It’s already fallen filled with chemtrails. We have no freedom from government spying. The alternative media is censored as three people own all the mainstream ones (I think it’s three now). Prisons are crazy. 5 to 10 for first time drug offense? 96% of people plea bargain? There’s mass poverty, the infrastructure isn’t maintained because honestly the rich are building their ultimate gated community and going to leave us to die with some hardcore surveillance, 50% of people have a chronic illness, there’s a manufactured mental illness epidemic, no funding for science unless MNC, GMOs, rape culture is in full swing, the US has always had tons of covert wars but now it’s more overt, refugees everywhere, children hungry, antidepressant caused school shootings, drugged children, Monsanto guy head of FDA, people having to get divorced to afford mandatory health care insurance – and this is from Obama!

    There’s still the same shit to work on today as there was a year ago but a year ago people weren’t freaking out. The odds are it’ll be taken out on each other more than anyone organizing much, just like the last big cultural revolution that Time Life Books sells as innocent nostalgia. But there will be change, change we didn’t get with Obama and Clinton.

    The MCS community is unbelievably innovative to stay alive. We have to be. This is when we may see human consciousness change. Ways we live. Because we have to.

    Too many things I thought were good in my life ended up being bad, so many horrible things I found meaning in. I think not being caught in Trump shock (he’s the natural conclusion for the US ; it’s that bad – but what has life taught me about bad things?) because evil is worse when it wears a smile, and still being in my unrecognized by any activists oppression and focusing on doing things that I can and believing others are as well even if we never ever know we all exist just makes me feel much more out of place lately. I wanted a Google free life and found Infomaniak which a million times better than anything I expected. I divested. Writing a book for the 1 in 1000 Americans who are Pagan in prison, that’s a good feeling. Doing nothing but fretting about what might happen feels awful – and your power goes away.

    When we have information we can make strategic goals and discuss effective tactics about whatever is on the horizon.

    But I’ve been seriously thrown for a loop by the incredible reactivity everywhere. It’s like everyone in a shock victim. Their freedom is gone, trapped in a Trump what if game. It’s hard to discuss what’s really going on right now. If we give the media the power over if we stay centered we will always be reactive, not creative/destructive. Not living, not free. Right now people still have the power to dance or plant a tree.

    I felt the same way after 9/11… I couldn’t understand anyone’s surprise….

  2. Heather Awen says:

    Dude, I found small Swiss, encrypted, no data to 3rd parties, 100% renewable energy, 100% CO2 emissions offset, totally Geneva based, everything Google has plus more, $2 a month for 5 emails (with alias for all), 1% income donated to Greenpeace, WWF, etc. Only Swiss government can get your information and only if they’ve got their laws saying so. Encrypted messaging too. Infomaniak – great customer service. Also does all your web hosting needs, podcasts, domains, and you can work in Linux etc. Infomaniak. Google is involved with eugenics now. Please check them out to keep your information and that of your allies safe! Also they don’t invest in weapons, GMO, nuclear, child labor etc. Please spread the word so we can DIVEST out of MNCs.

    • Thanks for the tip! Another relatively secure service I’d recommend which is also based in Switzerland is ProtonMail.

      • Heather Awen says:

        I was thinking about them but it’s beta testing now, isn’t it? Being so sick I need something easy. RiseUp requires two users verifying you’re not spam but it’s also rejected as spam by some places now automatically and with brain fog I do need help if I lose my password (or change it when exhausted and memory loss forgets to write it down, being sick sucks!!!) I’m quite pleased with the environmental focus and it being owned by two people and all based in Geneva. And Switzerland not allowed anyone to go through your information aside from the Swiss government if they have their laws telling them to. I’m not sending anything shocking or secret, but today who knows WHAT is done with the most common topics? Mostly I wanted to divest from the MNC email providers and go with something smaller that owns all its stuff, isn’t using Google really but with a different domain name, you know? The eco stuff and automatic encryption was a bonus.

        I want to know: How do you handle reading all the media you receive? It’s hard for me emotionally and intellectually to process and really think about what you do post (being sick and now having the prison book to write it’s hard for me to catch up with you – I have four blogs in a bookmarked folder and you’re one). You go through so much. How do you keep centered, loving and from killing yourself? I have so much depression about my own sicknesses and isolation and limitations. And I feel hopeless because there’s no real way for me to have any community and be all of me. I don’t trust online community. The in person part helps me sense who to trust.

        But without friends who know this stuff it’s frustrating. I’d like to work with someone on doing things but I worked with friends. People who cared about each other. Now I’m giving endlessly without the community support and I’m in a much worse situation.

        I’m asking people like you how do you emotionally stay well? I know you don’t write about yourself but maybe you could find articles on this since Trump and fascism in Europe is going to have a lot of us burn out. People always say community but is you’re in SHU or like me, how can we have community?

        Do you?

        Any resources to recommend?

        Chronic fatigue and pain and loneliness means I need support too. That I’m an oppressed person due to MCS doesn’t seem to register with people. Not even those with MCS.

        How are people keeping it together?

        • In regards to your questions, one way I feel we can stay grounded in a turbulent cultural environment is to adapt a mindset similar to a Taoist’s (or Philip K. Dick): don’t become too attached to one viewpoint or mode of reality; be open to multiple perspectives and possibilities and be accepting of change and chaos as a necessary catalyst for growth.
          Though I can’t claim to have experienced the types of struggles you’ve been through, what’s been helpful for myself is to find small communities online or off whose goals and values align with one’s own. Quantity of relationships is less important than quality and depth. Simply being in an environment where one can freely express one’s ideas and concerns is enough to assuage loneliness. And even if one can’t avoid physical isolation one can internally re-frame it as solitude, which is a less value-laden term, and know that alienation (in varying degrees) is a universal experience.

          • Heather Awen says:

            That’s what I miss, the flew friends I could hang out with. I feel more isolated now because of Trump hysteria telling white people there’s still racism and them running around calling everyone a racist in support of BLM in shock and reactivity. For those of us who knew there was racism and a lot more with an African-American president, it’s difficult to get any real activism done as people obsess on what MIGHT happen, doing nothing about what is happening. What has always been happening.

            Trump just removed the liberal trinkets that distracted people, I think. Nothing’s changed, people just now have to accept yes, this the US. I guess if you fell through to the dystopian future earlier than others and live a dystopian present (can’t use hospitals, if cops saw me in my mask or an exposure I face serious danger, having no human contact for four years, having an illness that makes me subversive and a target of MNCs that don’t want anyone to know or believe them and they have permanently silenced people who got too vocal but no one EVEN KNOWS your oppression), it’s very hard to remember others still think there’s time … to do what I don’t know. We’ve crossed the line decades ago.

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