Ye and the grim rise of Very Online Racism

There was me thinking that Ye couldn’t sink any lower. Boy, was I wrong. In his appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ InfoWars show on Thursday, accompanied by racist dateless wonder Nick Fuentes, the artist formerly known as Kanye West plumbed new depths of bilious anti-Semitism, all while wearing a black mask-cum-balaclava.

His somewhat fashy head gear turned out to be appropriate, given what Ye would later come out with. He praised Hitler several times. ‘Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler’, he said. Hitler ‘seems like a cool guy’, West added, as he painted the greatest criminal of the 20th century as an underappreciated fashion icon and civil engineer.

West’s thin pretence for his Hitler loving – that he just ‘loves everyone’ – wore thin pretty quickly. ‘The Holocaust is not what happened’, he said, unprompted, at one point. At another, impersonating Benjamin Netanyahu, via the means of a toy fishing net (seriously), West rehearsed all of the most poisonous tropes: ‘We have the control of the history books, we have the control of the banks, and we have to go and kill people.’

Jones, recently bankrupted over his claims that the Sandy Hook shooting was faked, somehow became the voice of reason, simply by being the only one present capable of explicitly criticising Hitler. He kept trying to give Ye a ladder to climb down, to no avail. ‘I’m in the Twilight Zone right now’, said an exasperated Jones. This is the man who thinks chemicals in the water are turning frogs gay.

The surreal nature of it all didn’t make it any less sickening. In Ye, we see a fusion of many of the most poisonous forms of anti-Semitism, expressed in almost faux naif form, from black-nationalist blather about black people being the real Jews to all the old tropes about Jewish media and Jewish banks. The comments under each and every viral clip reveal how much purchase this ancient racism has among various online cliques.

At the same time, there is something very modern about Ye’s almost giddy outbursts. Indeed, in his bizarre new partnership with Fuentes, a 24-year-old livestreamer who shot to infamy after the 2017 far-right Charlottesville rally, and Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right-adjacent shit-stirrer who was kicked off Twitter before it was cool, West has aligned himself with what we might call Very Online Racism – the poisonous phenomenon of racism as a form of trolling.

When it first emerged, what marked out the alt-right, the loose association of cunts who latched on to Trump’s election and whose company Ye appears increasingly to be keeping, was the sense that it was almost more interested in getting a reaction than achieving goals or power. So marginal are these freaks in actual, offline society that outrage has become their currency, their business model, their entire reason for existing – the thirst for ‘liberal tears’ overwhelming almost everything else.

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Judging From These Verdicts, Stewart Rhodes’ Seditious Conspiracy Did Not Involve Attacking the Capitol

A federal jury this week convicted Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes of seditious conspiracy, concluding that he and Kelly Meggs, another member of the right-wing militia, plotted to keep Donald Trump in office “by force.” This is the first time that a jury has convicted participants in the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol of that crime, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The hundreds of Trump supporters who have been arrested in connection with the riot typically have faced misdemeanor charges such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, and unauthorized demonstrating.

Rhodes stands out from those other defendants because he was the leader of an armed organization that was allegedly determined to keep Joe Biden out of the White House by any means necessary. Yet Rhodes’ seditious conspiracy conviction is rather puzzling given the jury’s rejection of two other conspiracy charges against him. The jury acquitted Rhodes of conspiring to obstruct the congressional certification of Biden’s victory on January 6 and of conspiring to prevent members of Congress from discharging their official duties by completing that process.

The eruption of “Stop the Steal” violence on January 6 delayed the electoral vote count, thereby obstructing the peaceful transfer of power, which was the alleged object of the seditious conspiracy. The Oath Keepers’ actions that day, when several participated in the riot while others stood by at a nearby hotel where they had stashed weapons, were the most striking steps they took to advance that scheme. Yet the jury was not persuaded that Rhodes, the group’s ostensible leader, planned to disrupt the congressional ratification of the election results.

Rhodes was on the Capitol grounds during the riot but, unlike several of his codefendants, did not enter the building itself. One of the prosecutors, Jeffrey Nestler, likened Rhodes to “a general surveying his troops on the battlefield.” The jurors evidently did not accept that characterization. While they concluded that Rhodes did in fact obstruct an official proceeding, they found him not guilty of conspiring to do so.

By contrast, two Oath Keepers who did enter the Capitol, Meggs and Jessica Watkins, were convicted of conspiring to interrupt the electoral vote count. Meggs, Watkins, and Kenneth Harrelson, who also entered the building, were convicted of conspiring to interfere with legislators’ official work. Yet Harrelson, Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell, who trespassed on a Capitol balcony during the riot, were acquitted of participating in the seditious conspiracy, while Meggs was convicted of that charge along with Rhodes.

Three Oath Keeper defendants—Joshua JamesBrian Ulrich, and William Todd Wilson—had previously pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy. Two other members of the group, Jason Dolan and Graydon Young, pleaded guilty to other riot-related charges and testified during the trial of the five remaining defendants. “Dolan testified that he hoped to scare members of Congress and that he was part of a group that ‘would be willing to fight’ to keep [Trump] in office,” NBC News notes. “Young testified that he was ‘acting like a traitor’ on Jan. 6, 2021, and that he thought he was part of an event similar to the 1789 storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.”

Contrary to the picture painted by the prosecution, however, this week’s confusing combination of verdicts does not suggest that the Oath Keepers acted as a unified force under Rhodes’ command. Judging from the jury’s conclusions, Rhodes was not in on the plan to disrupt the electoral vote count, while Meggs, Watkins, and Harrelson were. Conversely, Rhodes and Meggs were bent on using force to keep Trump in power, while Watkins and Harrelson somehow were not. Caldwell likewise was not part of the seditious conspiracy, despite his role in coordinating and arming the “quick reaction force” (QRF) that remained at a Comfort Inn in Arlington, Virginia, during the riot.

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Former top intel chiefs silent after Musk Twitter disclosures

America’s top former intelligence officials were mostly mum Saturday after the release of internal Twitter documents detailing how The Post’s bombshell revelations were censored by the social media company.

Leon Panetta, a former CIA director and defense secretary, John Brennan a former CIA director, Mike Hayden, a former CIA director, and Jim Clapper, a former director of national intelligence — who all once said The Post’s reporting had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” — declined or did not respond to request for comment about whether the latest disclosures had changed their opinion.

The quartet made their allegations as part of an open letter denigrating The Post’s reporting as Russian misinformation which was signed by dozens of other longtime intelligence hands.

“Our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case,” the letter read. “If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”

Of the four, only Clapper has ever publicly addressed the letter, offering a vigorous defense to The Post in March.

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Major Web Browsers Drop Mysterious Authentication Company After Ties To US Military Contractor Exposed

This week several major web browsers quickly severed ties with a mysterious software company used to certify the security of websites, three weeks after the Washington Post exposed its connections to a US military contractor, the Post reports.

TrustCor Systems provided ‘certificates’ to browsers to Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge, which vouched for the legitimacy of said websites.

“Certificate Authorities have highly trusted roles in the internet ecosystem and it is unacceptable for a CA to be closely tied, through ownership and operation, to a company engaged in the distribution of malware,” said Mozilla’s Kathleen Wilson in an email to browser security experts. “Trustcor’s responses via their Vice President of CA operations further substantiates the factual basis for Mozilla’s concerns.”

According to TrustCor’s Panamanian (!?) registration records, the company has the same slate of officers, agents and officers as Arizona-based Packet Forensics, which has sold communication interception services to the U.S. government for over a decade.

One of those contracts listed the “place of performance” as Fort Meade, Md., the home of the National Security Agency and the Pentagon’s Cyber Command.

The case has put a new spotlight on the obscure systems of trust and checks that allow people to rely on the internet for most purposes. Browsers typically have more than a hundred authorities approved by default, including government-owned ones and small companies, to seamlessly attest that secure websites are what they purport to be. -WaPo

Also of concern, TrustCor’s small staff in Canada lists its place of operation at a UPS Store mail drop, according to company executive Rachel McPherson, who says she told their Canadian staffers to work remotely. She also acknowledged that the company has ‘infrastructure’ in Arizona as well.

McPherson says that ownership in TrustCor was transferred to employees despite the fact that some of the same holding companies had invested in both TrustCor and Packet Forensics.

Various technologists in the email discussion said they found TrustCor to be evasive when it came to basic facts such as legal domicile and ownership – which they said was not appropriate for a company responsible for root certificate authority that verifies a secure ‘https’ website is not an imposter.

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Scientist who worked at Wuhan lab says COVID was man-made virus

A scientist who worked at a controversial research lab in China has claimed that COVID was a man-made virus that leaked from the facility, according to a report.

Andrew Huff said COVID leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China two years ago and blamed authorities for the “biggest US intelligence failure since 9/11,” Britain’s The Sun reported Saturday.

The lab has been at the center of fierce debates about the origins of COVID, with both Chinese government officials and lab personnel denying that the virus leaked from the facility.

Huff, an epidemiologist said in his new book, The Truth About Wuhan, that the pandemic was the result of the US government’s funding of coronaviruses in China.

He said that China’s gain-of-function experiments, which were carried out with lax security, led to a lab leak at the Wuhan lab.

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DOJ Probed Tara Reade’s Twitter After She Issued Allegations About Joe Biden’s Sexual Harassment, Docs Show

The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a subpoena probing Twitter for information on Tara Reade’s accounts in 2020 months after she issued allegations about being sexually assaulted by President Joe Biden in 1993, documents obtained by the Daily Caller show.

The DOJ asked Twitter to testify before a grand jury on Dec. 16 of 2020 and provide “all subscriber information” from Reade’s accounts, according to emails and subpoena documents obtained by the Caller.

The subpoena shows that Twitter was asked to provide information on two of Reade’s Twitter accounts, including @ReadeAlexandra and @TaraMcCabe.

The requested information included the accounts’:

  1. Subscriber name;
  2. Address;
  3. Records of session times and durations, to include attempted/failed/unauthenticated logins;
  4. Length of service (including start date) and types of service utilized;
  5. Telephone or instrument number or other subscriber number or identity, including any temporarily assigned network address; and
  6. Means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card or bank account number)

The DOJ, Twitter and Perkins Coie, the law firm representing Twitter for the subpoena, did not respond to the Caller when asked to verify the authenticity of the subpoena.

Reade said she doesn’t “know why” her Twitter accounts were of interest to the FBI.

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Top epidemiologist slams federal health agencies for acting like ‘PR department’ for drugmakers

One of the nation’s top epidemiologists is blasting federal health agencies, saying science has proven they have been wrong about everything from vaccine efficacy to mask protections during the COVID-19 pandemic and have eroded their trust with the public by acting like a “PR department” for drug and vaccine makers.

Dr. Harvey A. Risch, professor emeritus at the Yale School of Public Health, told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show on Friday that agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration manipulated statistics to portray plausible theories as scientific fact through the coronavirus emergency.

“When you play fast and loose with statistics trying to be plausible, that’s not science,” he said.

The end result, Risch said, was that public health agencies’ proclamations have been proven wrong repeatedly, eroding essential trust with the American public.

“Where we ended up is that the government said, you know, ‘You won’t get the infection if you get vaccinated,'” he said. “That was untrue. ‘You won’t spread the infection if you get vaccinated.’ That was untrue. It said reasonably that you won’t get sick or die from the infection if you get vaccinated. That’s, as we are seeing, not true. The majority of people now dying from COVID are vaccinated.”

Risch said the latest hit to federal officials’ credibility came with a new peer-reviewed randomized study that found N-95 respirator masks — long portrayed as superior virus filters — provided no better protection from the COVID-19 virus than cloth surgical masks and that neither provided significant protection to patients or medical providers.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt also claimed that retiring National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, whose flip-flops on masking led to mass public confusion early in the pandemic, couldn’t name any studies showing mask effectiveness in his recent deposition in state-led litigation against alleged federal censorship.

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New Zealand admits it has direct access to Facebook takedown portal where it can flag content for censorship

New Zealand’s government has officially admitted that it has partner access to Facebook’s controversial content takedown portal.

This portal is designed specifically for government agencies to flag content to Facebook for censorship. According to The Intercept, which reported on the portal in October, government partners can also use the portal to “report disinformation directly” to Facebook.

And in a recent response to a New Zealand Official Information Act (OIA) request, which asked whether the government has partner access to Facebook’s takedown portal, the New Zealand government confirmed that the Department of Internal Affairs has access. While this was the only government department that was confirmed to have access to the portal, the OIA response also said “we cannot advise if any other government agency has access to the takedown portal.”

We obtained a copy of the OIA response for you here.

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The Guardian Could Help Assange By Retracting All The Lies It Published About Him

The Guardian has joined The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El País in signing a letter from the five papers which collaborated with WikiLeaks twelve years ago in the publication of the Chelsea Manning leaks to call for the Biden administration to drop all charges against Julian Assange. This sudden jolt of mainstream support comes as news breaks that Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been personally pushing the US government to bring the Assange case to a close.

The Guardian’s participation in this letter is particularly noteworthy, given the leading role that publication has played in manufacturing public support for his persecution in the first place.

If The Guardian really wants to help end the persecution of the heroic WikiLeaks founder, the best way to do that would be to retract those many smears, spin jobs and outright lies, and to formally apologize for publishing them.

This is after all the same Guardian which published the transparently ridiculous and completely invalidated 2018 report that Trump lackey Paul Manafort had met secretly with Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy, not once but multiple times.

Not one shred of evidence has ever been produced to substantiate this claim despite the embassy being one of the most heavily surveilled buildings on the planet at the time, and the Robert Mueller investigation, whose expansive scope would obviously have included such meetings, reported absolutely nothing to corroborate it. It was a bogus story which all accused parties have forcefully denied and no serious person believes is true, yet to this day it still sits on The Guardian’s website without retraction of any kind.

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