Brilliant: Glenn Greenwald on the West’s evil new censorship

President Joe Biden is sending Ukraine $800 million in new firepower – including artillery, helicopters, ammunition and other hardware that will test the limits of how far aid can go without drawing the U.S. directly into the war.

Biden announced the new package Wednesday after an hourlong phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky. It includes heavy artillery systems and armored personnel carriers, signaling a more intense military commitment from what began as shipments of defensive materiel.

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9 Responses to Brilliant: Glenn Greenwald on the West’s evil new censorship

  1. C.L. says:

    If one wishes to be exposed to news, information or perspective that contravenes the prevailing US/NATO view on the war in Ukraine, a rigorous search is required. And there is no guarantee that search will succeed. That is because the state/corporate censorship regime that has been imposed in the West with regard to this war is stunningly aggressive, rapid and comprehensive.

    On a virtually daily basis, any off-key news agency, independent platform or individual citizen is liable to be banished from the internet. In early March, barely a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the twenty-seven nation European Union — citing “disinformation” and “public order and security” — officially banned the Russian state-news outlets RT and Sputnik from being heard anywhere in Europe. In what Reuters called “an unprecedented move,” all television and online platforms were barred by force of law from airing content from those two outlets. Even prior to that censorship order from the state, Facebook and Google were already banning those outlets, and Twitter immediately announced they would as well, in compliance with the new EU law.

    But what was “unprecedented” just six weeks ago has now become commonplace, even normalized. Any platform devoted to offering inconvenient-to-NATO news or alternative perspectives is guaranteed a very short lifespan. Less than two weeks after the EU’s decree, Google announced that it was voluntarily banning all Russian-affiliated media worldwide, meaning Americans and all other non-Europeans were now blocked from viewing those channels on YouTube if they wished to. As so often happens with Big Tech censorship, much of the pressure on Google to more aggressively censor content about the war in Ukraine came from its own workforce: “Workers across Google had been urging YouTube to take additional punitive measures against Russian channels.”

    So prolific and fast-moving is this censorship regime that it is virtually impossible to count how many platforms, agencies and individuals have been banished for the crime of expressing views deemed “pro-Russian.” On Tuesday, Twitter, with no explanation as usual, suddenly banned one of the most informative, reliable and careful dissident accounts, named “Russians With Attitude.” Created in late 2020 by two English-speaking Russians, the account exploded in popularity since the start of the war, from roughly 20,000 followers before the invasion to more than 125,000 followers at the time Twitter banned it. An accompanying podcast with the same name also exploded in popularity and, at least as of now, can still be heard on Patreon.

    What makes this outburst of Western censorship so notable — and what is at least partially driving it — is that there is a clear, demonstrable hunger in the West for news and information that is banished by Western news sources, ones which loyally and unquestioningly mimic claims from the U.S. government, NATO, and Ukrainian officials. As The Washington Post acknowledged when reporting Big Tech’s “unprecedented” banning of RT, Sputnik and other Russian sources of news: “In the first four days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, viewership of more than a dozen Russian state-backed propaganda channels on YouTube spiked to unusually high levels.”

    Note that this censorship regime is completely one-sided and, as usual, entirely aligned with U.S. foreign policy. Western news outlets and social media platforms have been flooded with pro-Ukrainian propaganda and outright lies from the start of the war. A New York Times article from early March put it very delicately in its headline: “Fact and Mythmaking Blend in Ukraine’s Information War.” Axios was similarly understated in recognizing this fact: “Ukraine misinformation is spreading — and not just from Russia.” Members of the U.S. Congress have gleefully spread fabrications that went viral to millions of people, with no action from censorship-happy Silicon Valley corporations. That is not a surprise: all participants in war use disinformation and propaganda to manipulate public opinion in their favor, and that certainly includes all direct and proxy-war belligerents in the war in Ukraine.

    Yet there is little to no censorship — either by Western states or by Silicon Valley monopolies — of pro-Ukrainian disinformation, propaganda and lies. The censorship goes only in one direction: to silence any voices deemed “pro-Russian,” regardless of whether they spread disinformation. The “Russians With Attitude” Twitter account became popular in part because they sometimes criticized Russia, in part because they were more careful with facts and viral claims that most U.S. corporate media outlets, and in part because there is such a paucity of outlets that are willing to offer any information that undercuts what the U.S. Government and NATO want you to believe about the war.

    Their crime, like the crime of so many other banished accounts, was not disinformation but skepticism about the US/NATO propaganda campaign. Put another way, it is not “disinformation” but rather viewpoint-error that is targeted for silencing. One can spread as many lies and as much disinformation as one wants provided that it is designed to advance the NATO agenda in Ukraine (just as one is free to spread disinformation provided that its purpose is to strengthen the Democratic Party, which wields its majoritarian power in Washington to demand greater censorship and commands the support of most of Silicon Valley). But what one cannot do is question the NATO/Ukrainian propaganda framework without running a very substantial risk of banishment.

    It is unsurprising that Silicon Valley monopolies exercise their censorship power in full alignment with the foreign policy interests of the U.S. Government. Many of the key tech monopolies — such as Google and Amazon — routinely seek and obtain highly lucrative contracts with the U.S. security state, including both the CIA and NSA. Their top executives enjoy very close relationships with top Democratic Party officials. And Congressional Democrats have repeatedly hauled tech executives before their various Committees to explicitly threaten them with legal and regulatory reprisals if they do not censor more in accordance with the policy goals and political interests of that party.

    But one question lingers: why is there so much urgency about silencing the small pockets of dissenting voices about the war in Ukraine? This war has united the establishment wings of both parties and virtually the entire corporate media with a lockstep consensus not seen since the days and weeks after the 9/11 attack. One can count on both hands the number of prominent political and media figures who have been willing to dissent even minimally from that bipartisan Washington consensus — dissent that instantly provokes vilification in the form of attacks on one’s patriotism and loyalties. Why is there such fear of allowing these isolated and demonized voices to be heard at all?

    The answer seems clear. The benefits from this war for multiple key Washington power centers cannot be overstated. The billions of dollars in aid and weapons being sent by the U.S. to Ukraine are flying so fast and with such seeming randomness that it is difficult to track. “Biden approves $350 million in military aid for Ukraine,” Reuters said on February 26; “Biden announces $800 million in military aid for Ukraine,” announced The New York Times on March 16; on March 30, NBC’s headline read: “Ukraine to receive additional $500 million in aid from U.S., Biden announces”; on Tuesday, Reuters announced: “U.S. to announce $750 million more in weapons for Ukraine, officials say.” By design, these gigantic numbers have long ago lost any meaning and provoke barely a peep of questioning let alone objection.

    It is not a mystery who is benefiting from this orgy of military spending. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that “the Pentagon will host leaders from the top eight U.S. weapons manufacturers on Wednesday to discuss the industry’s capacity to meet Ukraine’s weapons needs if the war with Russia lasts years.” Among those participating in this meeting about the need to increase weapons manufacturing to feed the proxy war in Ukraine is Raytheon, which is fortunate to have retired General Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary, a position to which he ascended from the Raytheon Board of Directors. It is virtually impossible to imagine an event more favorable to the weapons manufacturer industry than this war in Ukraine:

    Demand for weapons has shot up after Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24 spurred U.S. and allied weapons transfers to Ukraine. Resupplying as well as planning for a longer war is expected to be discussed at the meeting, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity. . .

    Resupplying as well as planning for a longer war is expected to be discussed at the meeting. . . . The White House said last week that it has provided more than $1.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion, including over 5,000 Javelins and more than 1,400 Stingers.

    This permanent power faction is far from the only one to be reaping benefits from the war in Ukraine and to have its fortunes depend upon prolonging the war as long as possible. The union of the U.S. security state, Democratic Party neocons, and their media allies has not been riding this high since the glory days of 2002. One of MSNBC’s most vocal DNC boosters, Chris Hayes, gushed that the war in Ukraine has revitalized faith and trust in the CIA and intelligence community more than any event in recent memory — deservedly so, he said: “The last few weeks have been like the Iraq War in reverse for US intelligence.” One can barely read a mainstream newspaper or watch a corporate news outlet without seeing the nation’s most bloodthirsty warmongering band of neocons — David Frum, Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney, Wesley Clark, Anne Applebaum, Adam Kinzinger — being celebrated as wise experts and heroic warriors for freedom.

    This war has been very good indeed for the permanent Washington political and media class. And although it was taboo for weeks to say so, it is now beyond clear that the only goal that the U.S. and its allies have when it comes to the war in Ukraine is to keep it dragging on for as long as possible. Not only are there no serious American diplomatic efforts to end the war, but the goal is to ensure that does not happen. They are now saying that explicitly, and it is not hard to understand why.

    The benefits from endless quagmire in Ukraine are as immense as they are obvious. The military budget skyrockets. Punishment is imposed on the arch-nemesis of the Democratic Party — Russia and Putin — while they are bogged down in a war from which Ukrainians suffer most. The citizenry unites behind their leaders and is distracted.

    ———–
    Substack.

  2. Franx says:

    The channels through which the arms deals are for purposes of equipping the Ukraine are not necessarily separate in every way from channels equipping Russia.

  3. Baba says:

    Russians with Attitude are back on Twitter. They got the message which was the point of the suspension.

  4. Baba says:

    Meanwhile, the Twitter account of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) continues its stirling work on behalf of the architects of the 2014 Maidan coup.

    ISW
    @TheStudyofWar
    ·
    52m
    #Mariupol Update:

    #Russian forces captured the #Ilyich metal plant in northern Mariupol on April 13, though some elements of defending #Ukrainian forces escaped to link up with Ukrainian forces in Azovstal despite Russian claims of a mass surrender.

    In an amazing coincidence ISW was founded by Kimberly Kagan, the wife of Victoria Nuland’s brother in law. Nuland was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in 2013 and as such had responsibility for Ukraine. Nuland’s husband is prominent NeverTrump neocon Robert Kagan.

    As Ed would declare, spooks.

  5. local oaf says:

    After six years of the Dems/MSM telling Americans that Trump is an agent of Putin, surely now they can prevent Trump from standing for the Presidency.
    What with Trump being an enemy sympathiser and Jan 6th and everything.

    Probably be safer to get him behind bars.

    How convenient there is a war with Putin just when the Dems need it.

  6. jupes says:

    We – the West – are the bad guys.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    If one wishes to be exposed to news, information or perspective that contravenes the prevailing US/NATO view on the war in Ukraine, a rigorous search is required.

    Same as for climate, covid data, vaccines, ivermectin or anything Breitbart publishes. The latter is fun. Put the exact Breitbart headline into Brave Search, DDG or Goolag and you will get zero Breitbart hits. You’ll get the headline from uncensored sites repeating it, but never will you get a Breitbart url in the top pages unless you force the engine to search only Breitbart. And even then DDG will return “no results”.

    What this means is that righties can find stuff because we have been self-trained for years at ferreting out information. Lefties though charmingly believe all this swill.

    As for the Ukraine propaganda that’s matched by the Russian propaganda, which can be just as darkly hilarious at times. Same principle – dig, cross-check, verify. Even then be sceptical of what either side is saying.

  8. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Oops, have to correct. It’s Tony Heller’s blog that DDG refuses to give results for even if you force it, not Breitbart. Seems to be blocked after he put up vaccine related stuff, since DDG went over to the dark side on such things some weeks ago.

    Breitbart still doesn’t come up on DDG unless you force it with “xxxx site:Breitbart[dot]com”.

  9. Shy Ted says:

    On the other hand the Pentagon have admitted they have been unable to verify ANY of their statements.

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