We’re in the final countdown to British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision on the fate of Julian Assange, with the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the United States due to be approved or rejected by the end of the month. Joe Lauria has a new article out with Consortium News on the various pressures that Patel is being faced with from both sides of this history-making issue at this crucial time.
And I can’t stop thinking, as this situation comes to a boil, about how absurd it is that the US empire is working to set a precedent which essentially outlaws information-sharing that the US doesn’t like at the same time western news media are full of hand-wringing headlines about the dangerous threat of “disinformation”.
Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) has an article out titled “‘Disinformation’ Label Serves to Marginalize Crucial Ukraine Facts” about the way the mass media have been spinning that label to mean not merely the knowing distribution of false information but also of information that is true but inconvenient to imperial narrative-weaving.
“In defense of the US narrative, corporate media have increasingly taken to branding realities inconvenient to US information goals as ‘disinformation’ spread by Russia or its proxies,” writes FAIR’s Luca Goldmansour.
Online platforms have been ramping up their censorship protocols under the banner of fighting disinformation and misinformation, and those escalations always align with narrative control agendas of the US-centralized empire. Just the other day we learned that Twitter has a new policy which expands its censorship practices to fight “misinformation” about wars and other crises, and the Ukraine war (surprise surprise) will be the first such situation about which it will be enforcing these new censorship policies.
Then there’s the recent controversy over the Department of Homeland Security’s “Disinformation Governance Board,” a mysterious institution ostensibly designed to protect the American people from wrongthink coming from Russia and elsewhere. The board’s operations (whatever they were) have been “paused” pending a review which will be led by Michael Chertoff, a virulent swamp monster and torture advocate. Its operations will likely be resumed in one form or another, probably under the leadership of someone with a low profile who doesn’t sing show tunes about disinformation.
And this all comes out after US officials straight up told the press that the Biden administration has been deliberately sowing disinformation to the public using the mainstream press in order to win an infowar against the Kremlin. They’ve literally just been circulating completely baseless stories about Russia and Ukraine, but nobody seems to be calling for the social media accounts of Biden administration officials to be banned.
It is not yet clear whether Elon Musk’s increasingly precarious play for Twitter will result in the restoration of free speech in the “global public square.” Successful or not, Elon’s brave move has clarified beyond any doubt the Regime’s fundamental hostility to free speech and dissent. Judging from the critical reactions from journalists, NGOs and Democrat politicians, you’d think the man were attempting to invade Poland rather than remove censorship on a social media platform.
Of all the regime scribblers and scribes flooding the internet with glorified blog posts on the awfulness of Elon Musk’s Twitter bid, a piece by Renée DiResta published in the Atlantic stands out from the rest — not because of its force of argument, but because of the largely forgotten scandal behind its author.
Like the now disgraced and jobless Nina Jankowicz, DiResta is a career-girl of the Disinformation Industry — a constellation of NATO and US State Department-funded NGOs and civil society groups that censor inconvenient truths, facts and narratives under the guise of protecting the public from so-called “disinformation.” And like Nina Jankowicz, it turns out that DiResta’s name is closely associated with one of the most explosive and aggressively covered-up influence operations of the century.
The most blatant and shameless liars from the first term of the Bush/Cheney administration have, revealingly, enjoyed great success in media and journalism. That is because serial deceit is not a liability for a thriving career in corporate journalism but rather a vital asset — provided that the lies are in service of ruling class policies. Tawdry propagandists who helped drive post-9/11 America into a bottomless pit of lies and self-destruction have become the most highly-paid and beloved stars of liberal media. They include:
- Former Bush White House speechwriter David Frum of The Atlantic and CNN;
- Bush/Cheney CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden of CNN;
- Ubiquitous amoral neocon warmonger Bill Kristol of MSNBC and various #NeverTrump groups;
- Al-Qaeda/Saddam conspiracy theorist Jeffrey Goldberg, now editor-in-chief of The Atlantic;
- The various scumbags, con artists, predator-protectors and fraudsters of the Lincoln Project, drowning in #Resistance cash and frequent MSNBC appearances;
- Pro-war Florida GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough, now a multi-million host of MSNBC’s flagship morning show and anchor of its corporate brand; and,
- Rep. Liz Cheney, long-time vocal supporter of her father and now a literal “hero” to American media liberals.
But few Bush-era propagandists have thrived more, made more money, and developed a more devoted and swooning liberal fan base than the official Communications Director of the Bush/Cheney White House and 2004 Bush/Cheney-reelection campaign, Nicolle Wallace. Having catapulted from her work as Jeb Bush’s Press Secretary to the White House to senior adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign (working for her close friend, Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt, who recently performed one of the most public and sustained nervous breakdowns in the history of the internet), Wallace was always beloved by the DC press corps.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hired the co-author of the PATRIOT Act, arguably the harshest crackdown on civil liberties in modern American history, and an official under former President Bill Clinton to head the Disinformation Governance Board during its “pause.”
The DHS shut the board down Monday after just several weeks and its head, Nina Jankowicz, wrote a resignation letter Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. Jankowicz was scrutinized for pushing disinformation about Hunter Biden’s laptop and the now-discredited Steele Dossier, which Daniel Hoffman, a former CIA officer, said was possibly “part of a Russian espionage disinformation plot.” She also called Republicans who criticize critical race theory (CRT) “disinformers.” Videos of her singing as the “Mary Poppins of disinformation,” “fucking her way to the top” and satirical, sexualized renditions of Harry Potter themes have also raised eyebrows.
The department announced Wednesday former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and former U.S. Deputy Secretary General Jamie Gorelick under Clinton “will lead a thorough review and assessment” of the board that was “grossly and intentionally mischaracterized.”
Chertoff reportedly pushed disinformation about Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, claiming Russians were behind the emails found inside, according to the Free Beacon. Chertoff served as the secretary of the DHS from 2005-2009, investigated the 9/11 attacks and co-authored the PATRIOT Act, which gave the government authority to tap phones to surveil for terrorism and conduct searches without a warrant.
Gorelick worked for the Clinton administration and was a member of the 9/11 Commission. She was also reportedly rumored to be failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s top choice for attorney general, and has worked for a wide range of clients, including Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, BP after its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Duke University after three lacrosse players were falsely accused of rape.
The review of the Disinformation Governance Board will determine how the board can monitor disinformation while “protecting free speech, civil rights, civil liberties and privacy” and how it can increase “transparency” with the public. It will be conducted by the “bipartisan Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC).”
The Department of Homeland Security has ‘paused’ it’s newly created Disinformation Governance Board, after its head, Nina Jankowicz, was called out for being a Russiagate truther, and going full “libs of TikTok” with creepy Disney-themed songs in a fake British accent – lending to the nickname “Scary Poppins.”
According to the Washington Post, the 33-year-old Jankowicz “was thrust into the spotlight by the very forces she dedicated her career to combating,” and has been “subject to an unrelenting barrage of harassment and abuse.”
Yes, because the head of a brand new Orwellian department shouldn’t be questioned.
Now, just three weeks after its announcement, the Disinformation Governance Board is being “paused,” according to multiple employees at DHS, capping a back-and-forth week of decisions that changed during the course of reporting of this story. On Monday, DHS decided to shut down the board, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation. By Tuesday morning, Jankowicz had drafted a resignation letter in response to the board’s dissolution. -WaPo
On Tuesday night, DHS officials had an urgent call with Jankowicz where they gave her the choice to stay the course, even if the work was put on hold.
According to the report, “working groups within DHS focusing on ‘mis-, dis- and mal-information have been suspended.”
WaPo points to early tweets by journalist Jack Posobiec for launching what became an avalanche of attacks on the “Ministry of Truth.”
In a newly released video clip, Biden disinformation czar Nina Jankowicz demands that “trustworthy verified people” like her be given the power to edit other people’s tweets, making Twitter more like Wikipedia.
Asserting that she was “eligible for it because I’m verified,” Jankowicz then bemoaned the fact there are people on Twitter with different opinions to her who also have the blue tick but “shouldn’t be verified” because they’re “not trustworthy.”
“So verified people can essentially start to edit Twitter the same sort of way that Wikipedia is so they can add context to certain tweets,” said Jankowicz.
She then provided the example, which she claimed was non-political, of President Trump tweeting about voter fraud.
“Someone could add context from one of the 60 lawsuits that went through the court or something that an election official in one of the states said, perhaps your own Secretary of State and his news conferences, something like that,” said Jankowicz.
“Adding context so that people have a fuller picture rather than just an individual claim on a tweet,” she added.
When centralized authorities are responsible for sorting truth from lies, it creates a situation prone to abuse.
The Department of Homeland Security’s creation of a Disinformation Governance Board last week has a lot of people drawing comparisons to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
On CNN, Dana Bash pressed DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to address concerns that the board will restrict freedom of speech. Mayorkas said that the board will not monitor Americans.
The board does not have any operational authority or capability. What it will do is gather together best practices in addressing the threat of disinformation from foreign state adversaries, from the cartels, and disseminate those best practices to the operators that have been executing in addressing this threat for years.
If anyone can translate that from bureaucrat-speak to explain what specifically DHS does to “[address] the threat of disinformation,” I would appreciate it. Almost all of the initial reporting on the DGB lacked any specifics of what concrete powers the group will exercise to “counter,” “combat,” and “crackdown on” so-called disinformation.
The Biden administration’s new disinformation chief says that parents who are upset about critical race theory (CRT) making its way into public school classrooms are “disinformers” who “weaponize” the issue “for profit.”
[ZH: let’s not forget the US Attorney General’s son makes millions selling CRT materials]
Nina Jankowicz, who was appointed to lead the newly established Disinformation Governance Board at the Department of Homeland Security, dismissed the pushback against CRT indoctrination at an event in Ohio last October, when the debate over parents’ right to direct their children’s education had taken center stage in high-profile elections, including Virginia’s gubernatorial race.
“Critical race theory has become one of those hot-button issues that the Republicans and other disinformers, who are engaged in disinformation for profit, frankly, … have seized on,” she said in a video that has recently regained attention.
The most egregious and blatant official U.S. disinformation campaign in years took place three weeks before the 2020 presidential election. That was when dozens of former intelligence officials purported, in an open letter, to believe that authentic emails regarding Joe Biden’s activities in China and Ukraine, reported by The New York Post, were “Russian disinformation.” That quasi-official proclamation enabled liberal corporate media outlets to uncritically mock and then ignore those emails as Kremlin-created fakes, and it pressured Big Tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to censor the reporting at exactly the time Americans were preparing to decide who would be the next U.S. president.
The letter from these former intelligence officials was orchestrated by trained career liars — disinformation agents — such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Yet that letter was nonetheless crucial to discredit and ultimately suppress the New York Post‘s incriminating reporting on Biden. It provided a quasi-official imprimatur — something that could be depicted as an authoritative decree — that these authentic emails were, in fact, fraudulent.
After all, if all of these noble and heroic intelligence operatives who spent their lives studying Russian disinformation were insisting that the Biden emails had all of the “hallmarks” of Kremlin treachery, who possessed the credibility to dispute their expert assessment? This clip from the media leader in spreading this CIA pre-election lie — CNN — features their national security analyst James Clapper, and it illustrates how vital this pretense of officialdom was in their deceitful disinformation campaign.