Media, Censorship & Propaganda - Comment

ACTA defeatedJTRIG Tools to Warp the Net / Jan 2015

According to documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden, Western governments now have at their disposal software tools that allow them to warp the internet, skewing content, stats and public opinion towards a more "favourable" outcome.

Britain's GCHQ is one such developer of these tools through its Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG). The JTRIG tools include:

  • UNDERPASS: Change result of online polls
  • BADGER: Mass email program
  • WARPARTH: Mass SMS program
  • SILVERLORD: Disruption of video-based websites
  • MINIATURE HERO: Full monitoring of Skype
  • SPRING BISHOP: Face photo-search for Facebook
  • ANGRY PIRATE: Disables target's account on their computer
  • GATEWAY: Artificially modifies traffic flow to website
  • SLIPSTREAM: Distort page views on websites
  • GESTATOR: Amplify video viewings on sites like Youtube
  • CHANGELING: Ability to spoof any email address
  • IMPERIAL BARGE: Connect two target phones in a call

The free flow of information on the internet has always terrified governments because it is the greatest threat to their crimes, corruption and manipulation. Evil people hate transparency. But now they have the tools to greatly distort that free flow of information so that it can even act in their favour. This is Big Brother tactics getting more and more extreme and demonic. (For more info visit: The Intercept.)

ACTA defeatedRussian Internet Censorship Given Legal Basis / 1st Aug 2014
Today, 1st August 2014, a new law has come into effect in Russia that means bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with Roskomnadzor, the mass media regulator, to check that what is written conforms with the same media regulations that control larger media outlets. Internet companies are also required to allow Russian authorities access to user information. This is the Putin government clamping down on the last remaining avenue of free speech, an avenue that has been vital for its political opponents. Russia seems to be returning to its old ways and perestroika is dead.
ACTA defeatedACTA Defeated in EU Parliament / 4th July 2012
The European Parliament today has defeated the Anti Counterfeit Trade Agreement by 478 votes to 39 (with 165 abstentions). The agreement had been signed by countries like the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Morocco, but this rejection of ACTA will effectively stop it dead (although no doubt it will be rebranded in the future and another attempt will be made.) This is a great victory for freedom of expression online as ACTA would have involved large-scale snooping into Internet users' behaviour, including their communications. You can always stamp out piracy at the expense of privacy, but who wants to live in a Big Brother world were everything is monitored so that the entertainment industry can rake in even more billions. People everywhere are growing tired of being treated as pawns in the big-corporation profit game.
BOOK: You Are Being Lied To / Russ Kick (Editor)
This is the disinformation guide to media distortion, historical whitewashes and cultural myths. In one volume, you get 68 essays by 60 leading authors including Howard Bloom, Noam Chomsky, Raian Eisler, Jim Marrs, Michael Parenti, James Ridgeway, Doublas Rushkoff, Gary Webb, Howard Zinn and Sydney Schanberg. A fantastic book of the most intelligent and best journalism and commentary written that exposes the illusions of consensus reality! This book will change your perception of society and the media forever.
Project Censored 2012 Report
Project Censored by Sonoma State University in California is a compiled list of the most important news items that never made it into the US mainstream media over the past year. The top 25 censored stories for 11/12 include:
1. More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat: For the second year in a row, more US soldiers committed suicide than died in combat. Experiencing war is extremely disturbing.
2. US Military Manipulates the Social Media: The US military is developing software that will allow it to secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.
3. Obama Authorizes International Assassination Campaign: The Obama administration has quietly put into place a de facto 'presidential international assassination program', carrying on where Bush left off. The US now even has "death lists".
4. Global Food Crisis Expands: It was in the news a couple of years ago, buy the global food crisis is actually worsening so that since 2010, around 44 million people have quietly corssed over the threshold into malnutrition.
…You can read all 25 censored news items here.
BOOK: The Media Monopoly / Ben. H. Bagdikian
When this book was first published in 87, there were over 50 news corporations in the United States. Now there are only 6! As media companies go through the the same buyouts and mergers witnessed in other industries, we now have a situation whereby all our news is coming from just a few official sources. This drastically reduces the freedom and accuracy of the press as it naturally panders to its owners and to its advertisers. This landmark book examines this process of media monopoly and its implications to democracy.
Project Censored 2011 Report
Project Censored by Sonoma State University in California is a compiled list of the most important news items that never made it into the US mainstream media over the past year. The top 25 censored stories for 10/11 include:
1. Global Plans to Replace the Dollar: Nations have reached their limit in subsidizing the US's military adventures. During meetings in June 2009 (at which the US was excluded), world leaders took the first formal step to replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency. If this goes through, the dollar will collapse and this would break America's military world dominance.
2. US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet: The US military is responsible for the most egregious and widespread pollution of the planet, yet the information and accompanying documentation goes almost entirely unreported.
3. Internet Privacy and Personal Access at Risk: Following in the steps of is predecessor, the Obama administration is expanding mass government surveilance of personal electronic communications. This coincides with legislation such as ACTA (which thankfully sunk in Europe).
4. ICE Operates Secret Detention and Courts: Agents of the US immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are holding thousands of US residents in unlisted and unmarked subfield offices and departing tens of thousands in secret court hearings. Executive director, James Pendergraph, has said: "If you don't have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he's illegal, we can make him disappear." ICE agents are also inflitrating normal society.
…You can read all 25 censored news items here.
BOOK: Manufacturing Consent / Noam Chomsky & Edward Herman
Described as one of the most important living intellectuals and vilified by mainstream media, industry and government, Chomsky has become the champion of alternative politics in America and the rest of the world. In Manufacturing Consent, Chomsky has teamed up with Herman to write a book around the propaganda theory of information flow in society. Basically it says that the media naturally and unconsciously promotes the views and values of its owners, which is invariably the capitalist model. Although this viewpoint is not new, they present it in compelling and watertight manner.
Project Censored 2010 Report
Project Censored by Sonoma State University in California is a compiled list of the most important news items that never made it into the US mainstream media over the past year. The top 25 censored stories for 09/10 include:
1. US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street: The finance industry literally controls the actions of government — controlling elections, buying influence and systematically weakening financial regulations.
2. US Schools More Segregated Than in the 1950s: Millions of segregated non-white students are locked into "dropout factory" high schools where huge percentages do not graduate — a situation worse than in the civil rights era.
3. Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates: Since the collapse of the Somalia government in 1991, the internationally community has been poaching fish and dumping toxic waste (including nuclear waste) in Somali waters, killing the ocean in that region and driving Somalians who rely on fishing into piracy.
…You can read all 25 censored news items here.
BOOK: Everything You Know Is Wrong / Russ Kick (Editor)
This is the Disinfomration Guide to secrets and lies and continues from where its companion volume, You Are Being Lied To, leaves off. In this book you will find hard, documented evidence on the most powerful institutions and controversial topics in the world. Not to be missed!
Project Censored 2008 Report
Project Censored by Sonoma State University in California is a compiled list of the most important news items that never made it into the US mainstream media over the past year. The top 25 censored stories for 07/08 include:
1. No Habeas Corpus for "Any Person": The Military Commissions Act, signed by Bush, means that the military can now bypass all normal legal procedures and detain individuals, even Americans, without trial or regard to human rights.
2. Bush Moves towards Martial Law: The John Warner Defense Aurthorization Act of 2007, signed by Bush, gives the green light for military troops to "suppress public disorder".
3. US Military Control of Africa's Resources: The White House announced the formation of the US African Command — a Pentagon command centre in Africa by September 2008
…You can read all 25 censored news items here.
New Bin Laden Video Fake (Sep 2007)
To many in the West, they may "all look the same" with their beards and bishts, but this latest video of "Osama Bin Laden" clearly isn't him. Not only is his beard darker, but his nose is wider and the shape of his face is different. The video has been faked to stir up fear of terrorism in the West, and to save Arab face in the East. To find who is really behind this we need to ask who gains most from upping terrorist fear levels?
BOOK: Amusing Ourselves to Death / Neil Postman
Postman very insightfully separates the medium from the message, showing how the medium of television itself is destructive to free-thinking because it take our capacity away from examining issues in depth. This in turn produces citizens that, although more aware, are conditioned to quickly move on to the next topic without doing anything about the issues raised. This well written book will certainly change the way in which you view your television, and hopefully persuade you to ditch it altogether!
The Alarming Erosion of Press Freedom (Nov 2006)
Reporters Without Borders (rsf.org) who publish an index for freedom of the press in each country around the world have recently compiled their 2006 data. You can see the graph of global press freedom indexes here. Alarmingly, it reveals that freedom of the press has eroded alarmingly in 2006, especially in the countries United States, France and Japan. The federal court's refusal to allow the media to keep its sources private is blamed for the US drop in freedom, which now places that country 53rd in press freedom world rankings. The top 4 countries which share the freest world press are Finland, Iceland, Ireland and the Netherlands. Bottom of the list, with the most restrictive press in the world, are countries such as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (bit of a misnomer then), China, Cuba, Iran and Soudi Arabia.
BOOK: Weapons of Mass Deception / Rampton & Stauber
How did America get to the stage whereby the vast majority of the people supported military action against a sovereign state that posed absolutely no threat to the West? How did 70% of Americans come to mistakenly believe that Iraq was responsible for Sept 11? Rampton and Stauber have written an excellent book on the White House's use of propaganda to twist the American public into supporting an illegal and immoral war. A very enlightening book for those interested in truth.
Project Censored is Sonoma State University's annual top 25 news stories that were most underreported (censored) by the US corporate media. Here are the top five for 2006:
1. Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government - the Bush government is actively passing laws that reduce its assess and accountability, and increasingly shows contempt for The Freedom of Information Act.
2. Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Death Toll - the US slaughtered 6000 Iraqi citizens in Fallujah and hid its activities by preventing media access.
3. Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage - We all know that there were election "irregularities" the first time Bush won the Presidency, but few realize that this was repeated in his second election "victory". In fact, the discrepancy between exit polls and the "counted" vote was so large (eight million votes!) that it is a statistical impossibility that this happened by chance.
4. Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In - Bush signed into law the Intelligence Authorization Act giving the government the FBI the right to acquire citizen's private records without any judicial review.
5. United States Uses Tsunami for Military Advantage - the US's Tsunami relief campaign (which was one of the weakest per GNP of any developed nation) was used as a means to bolster military alliances with regional powers, in an effort to control the area around China.
BOOK: Information War / Nancy Snow
What the Iraqi war taught the world is not the dangers of terrorism, but the dangers of a rogue regime in control of the world's only superpower, a control blatantly maintained by techniques of propaganda. Snow, an academic, has written a brilliant book on the Bush propaganda machine and how it has been in full throttle since 9/11, explaining why the American people (including students), as primary targets of that propaganda, are amongst the least informed on world events. Snow stresses the importance of full participation in democracy and our responsibility to find alternative media sources.
Admission of world's most influential decision maker:
"I don't watch the nightly newscasts on TV…. I don't read the editorial pages; I don't read the columnists…. I can scan a front page, and if there is a particular story of interest, I'll skim it…. What's in the newspapers worth worrying about? I glance at the headlines just to kind of [get] a flavor of what's moving…. I rarely read the stories." George W. Bush, Fox TV Oct 2003
The typical bollocks he talks because of his ignorance:
"The relations with, uh, Europe are important relations, and they've, uh… because, we do share values. And, they're universal values. They're not American values or, you know, European values, they're universal values. And those values… uh… being universal, ought to be applied everywhere." George W. Bush, Washington press conference to Europeans in June 05
And his use of Nazi methods to spread his propaganda:
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." George W. Bush, New York, May 05